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The Actor and the Housewife: A Novel Hardcover – June 9, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This successful sophomore turn at chick lit (after Austenland) from YA and graphic novelist Hale sets up a platonic relationship between a dashing movie star and a Mormon housewife. While in Los Angeles to ink a deal for a script she's written, pregnant Becky Jack holds her own against her big screen crush, Felix Callahan, known the world over for charming his way through romantic comedies. Witty banter draws them together, and though they debate what their fascination with one another could mean, an improbable friendship is born. Their alliance weathers the occasional break, Felix's disinterest in children and his indifference toward Becky's Mormon faith; spousal jealousy and the chasm separating their lifestyles also throw an occasional curveball. Hale keeps the prose crackling with humor and has a sure hand in creating nuanced, believable characters, so when otherwise unlikely plot turns creep up—Becky getting cast opposite Felix—they're, well, likely enough. Though Becky just wants to keep her best friend and her normal life, readers will hope she gets nothing less than a fairy tale ending. (June)
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About the Author

Shannon Hale is the author of Austenland, Rapunzel’s Revenge (a graphic novel), and five young adult novels, including the Newbery Honor–winning, New York Times bestselling Princess Academy. She is at work on a sixth young adult novel and her second graphic novel, Calamity Jack. S he lives with her husband and two children in Salt L ake City.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; 1 edition (June 9, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159691288X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596912885
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (123 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,354,220 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

New York Times best selling author Shannon Hale started writing books at age ten and never stopped, eventually earning an MFA in Creative Writing. After nineteen years of writing and dozens of rejections, she published The Goose Girl, the first in her award-winning Books of Bayern series. She has published fourteen books for young readers including the Newbery Honor winner Princess Academy and its two sequels, multiple award winner Book of a Thousand Days, superhero novel Dangerous, and the first three Ever After High novels. Her books for the adult crowd include Austenland (now a major motion picture starring Keri Russell) and Midnight in Austenland. Shannon and her husband Dean Hale have collaborated on several projects such as Eisner nominee Rapunzel's Revenge and early chapter book The Princess in Black. They spend non-writing hours corralling their four young children near Salt Lake City, Utah.

Customer Reviews

I am so recommending this to my book club!
Anne Mitchell
A good read should have the reader not wanting to reach its end rather than hoping for a swift exit.
Jill Marie
The dialogue seemed forced and like it was trying too hard to be funny.
C. Jepsen

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

64 of 68 people found the following review helpful By Michelle Lehnardt on May 13, 2009
Format: Hardcover
You might be tempted to dismiss Shannon Hale's new novel The Actor and the House Wife as mere fluff.


Yes, the premise details a woman who forms a relationship with her silver screen heartthrob but this novel also explores friendship, loyalty, family, love, faith and heartache. And the crowning achievement of this book, the elusive holy grail of writers-- is Shannon Hale's flawless portrayal of a good marriage. The movie star moments pale beside the beauty of a committed husband and wife dancing in the kitchen.

Famous people bewitch us; they intrigue us. And it's a common fantasy to believe the movie star, the brilliant inventor or the charismatic politician would enjoy spending time with a man like you or an ordinary girl like me. I would make him laugh, provide insight into common life and fill that empty corner of his soul. Can't you see that longing in Daniel Craig's eyes? He needs me.

For Becky Jack, it was Felix Callahan: a British Adonis who graced all her favorite films. When a chance meeting led to an instant rapport (totally believable, Daniel Craig would feel the same way about me), Becky felt like she was living the daydream of every woman in America.

But fantasy doesn't fit easily into a married mother-of-four's reality. Felix didn't enjoy tagging along to the ward potluck and Becky could hardly leave her family to mingle on the movie set. And the biggest question-- one that is revisited over and over as the story unfolds--is whether a happily married Mormon mother of four should maintain a friendship with a man at all.

Mormon women generally kiss their male friends goodbye on their wedding day. KC Brown was my closest buddy, my compatriot in zaniness until I fell in love with my beautiful husband.
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76 of 85 people found the following review helpful By Angela Thompson VINE VOICE on July 15, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I had an extreme reaction to this book. An extreme and unexpected reaction. The thing is I haven't reacted so strongly to a book for quite some time and it took me a bit by surprise. Oh, well, who are we kidding? It threw me for one hell of a loop and I had an extremely hard time shaking it off. Despite all this I'm going to try to continue my tradition of spoiler-free reviews and, as a result, won't be able to tell you the precise reasons why I reacted the way I did. I won't be able to go into excruciating detail explaining exactly how and when my emotions bounced back and forth. But let's be honest. That's probably for the best. So.

Becky Jack is a Mormon housewife living in Layton, Utah, pregnant with her fourth child. She has just sold a screenplay to a film agency in LA and is meeting them there to sign the contract, when in walks Felix Callahan--sexy British star of Becky's favorite romantic comedies. The two of them clash right from the start and, despite their visible disdain for one another (and the fact that Felix has long been Becky's movie star crush), they find themselves staying at the same hotel and eating dinner together that night. Becky returns to Utah sure it was some fluke, a fun story to tell the fam, and that she'll never see Felix again. Au contraire, Becky. Turns out Felix hasn't been able to get their abrasive encounter out of his head and the next time he has a layover in Salt Lake City, he turns up to see her and figure out what the deal is. From there these two unlikely characters become the very best of friends. Talk on the phone daily, stay up all night long talking, drop everything to jet off to New York at a moment's notice kind of BFFs.
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45 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Kate Coombs VINE VOICE on March 29, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I got this book because I like Shannon Hale's children's fantasy writing, but then, this novel is for grown-ups, so I'll have to switch my reviewer hats. Actor and Housewife is what might happen if the leads of When Harry Met Sally went on a double date with Romeo and Juliet. Only Sally/Juliet is Mormon. Keep in mind that even though the book starts off like a lighthearted romp, it is not ultimately a romantic comedy. It's not even chicklit. As the subtitle warns us, it's "A Novel"--so don't expect a happily-ever-after ending.

Frankly, the author has given herself a challenging task. On the one hand, she is working from the premise of wish fulfillment, as her housewife, Becky Jack, attracts the attention of a celebrity along the lines of George Clooney--while seven months pregnant, no less. On the other hand, we soon learn that Becky is not about to cheat on her husband.

Felix is intrigued by the attraction he feels to this unlikely woman, so he contacts her again, then introduces her to his wife, trying to figure out just what it is he's feeling. "Best friends!" Becky suggests brightly, remembering how much talking to Felix reminds her of her best banter buddy from high school. Though Becky makes a ready connection with Felix and gets a kick out of the incongruities of their relationship, she is very much in love with her wonderful hubby, Mike. Felix seems a little more willing to cheat on his gorgeous French actress wife, at least until Becky labels their relationship a friendship and convinces everyone to go along with it.

Becky also sells not one, but two screenplays in Hollywood without even having an agent. This is so unlikely that Hale has her characters point out just how unlikely it is, which is clever.
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