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  • Envy
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This book was a most pleasant surprise. It is well-written with just the right infusion of tension to keep the reader turning its pages. While many of its twists and turns are predictable, not all are. There are enough surprises for even the most jaded of readers. It is a wonderful story-within-a-story of friendship, envy, betrayal, greed, revenge, love, and redemption.
Maris Matherly-Reed, an editor at prestigious Matherly Press, and scion of the head of this prestigious New York publishing house, Daniel Matherly, receives an unsolicited, anonymous manuscript entitled "Envy". Pulling it out of the slush pile, this manuscript consists only of a prologue, but one so riveting and beautifully written, that Maris is intrigued enough to want to speak to its unknown but supremely talented author. Leaving her husband, acclaimed author and fellow Matherly Press editor, Noah Reed, to mind the store, Maris decides to follow up on this mysterious, but intriguing, newcomer.
Having only an address for an Island off the Georgia coast, she goes there and encounters the crude and rude Parker Evans, the author of this potential literary gem. Marist makes allowances for his behavior, attributing it to what she assumes to be bitterness over his being confined to a wheelchair. As she gets to know Parker and discuss his book with him, more and more is revealed to her about his novel. It is a story of two friends who, in the late nineteen eighties, go on a boat for a celebratory jaunt with a young woman, only to have it end tragically. As Maris begins to find herself attracted to Parker, little does she know that she is about to go on a voyage of personal self-discovery.
Meanwhile back in New York, unbeknownst to both his wife and father-in-law, or so he thinks, Noah Reed is plotting and planning a takeover of Matherly Reed by a corporate giant. He is also not behaving as a faithful husband would. When Maris returns to New York, her old world appears to be falling apart. As the veil is torn from her eyes, she no longer sees her husband through rose colored glasses. She begins to wonder to whom she is really married, as Noah reveals more of himself than she cares to know.
When Maris reads additional chapters in Parker's book, she gets a strong sense that the book may be a work of non-fiction rather than fiction. She also suspects that there may be a connection between herself and Parker that she had not before realized. As the story of the three young people on the boat develops, it becomes painfully clear that the past and present are on a collision course. The only question is whether Maris will realize it before it is too late, and the past collides with the present.
This is an ingeniously plotted novel, and Parker Evans is a very interesting character. The other characters are also fairly well fleshed out for such a plot driven book. Only the character of Noah Reed seems to be a cookie cutter character. As the book, however, is primarily plot driven, it does not unduly detract from such an otherwise engrossing novel of suspense. Moreover, the literary contrivance of a story-within-a-story is very well done. The two parallel stories are both dramatic and interesting. Each serves to propel the book towards its climactic ending. All in all, it is very well done.
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on September 15, 2001
The characters are worth knowning (most of them) and the ones that are not make the story the terrific suspense that it becomes. Maris Matherly-Reed is a successful editor. Her father is the owner, as was his family before him, of the publishing house that Maris works for. Her husband is the No. 2 man in the publishing house having ingratiated himself with Maris' father and then having married Marris. Marris has only begun to suspect that her husband might not be all that he seems to be when she receives a prologue to a manuscript from a writer who identifies himself only as P.M.E.
Marris becomes intrigued with the prologue and sets off to find the author and as she becomes involved with the story of the book we find that "Envy" is a book within a book within another book. There is a relationship between the mysterious author and her husband Noah. The plot of both "books" is beautifully crafted and a must read from cover to cover.
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on August 28, 2001
Maris Matherly-Reed is a New York book editor, the daughter of Daniel Matherly, owner of an established publishing house, and the wife of best-selling author Noah Reed. Much against company policy, Maris receives the prologue to a manuscript entitled ENVY, with no address or name on it, and immediately she is captivated by it. The prologue tells the story of two young men, and a woman out for a night of fun on a boat, only to have it end in tragedy as only one of them returns. Intrigued by this opener, Maris wants to get in touch with the author, but the submission is signed only by the initials P.M.E. Desperately trying to find any info at all about P.M.E, Maris begins a little investigating and eventually she does find the author, Parker Evans, a wheelchair bound recluse intent on keeping his identity, as well as his past, a secret. Venturing off to Georgia, Maris plans to meet with Parker, and work with him, chapter by chapter to complete his potential blockbuster, but this proves to be a difficult task as Parker is a bitter man harboring a dark secret, and his reason for writing the novel ENVY may not be what it appears on the surface. As Parker's story of ENVY unfolds, Maris starts to question the identity of the book's characters, and if in fact it is fiction. Wanting answers, Maris begins probing into a crime committed decades ago, and at the same time, an evil man is following her every move, and when the time is right, he will unleash his plan to destroy everything Maris has worked so hard for, even if it means killing those close to her. As the past and the present collide, what is fact, and what is fiction will blur, and the lives of Maris, and all those she loves will change, as they are faced with the ultimate deception. ENVY is a gripping suspense novel that grabs hold from the start and doesn't let go. The intricate plot unfolds at a fast pace, and Sandra Brown expertly weaves two stories together with twists and turns, and shocks at every bend. Well written, and perfectly executed, this tale of lies and deception will keep readers guessing all the way up to the shocking climax. As any reader of Ms. Brown's novels should know, when buying one of her books they are going to get an un-put-down-able, entertaining read, and ENVY is no exception, even though parts of the book get a bit silly, it will keep you turning the pages long into the night. No author has, as successfully, jumped from romance writing to the thriller arena, as Sandra Brown has, and I don't think anyone will. As with her previous novels, Sandra Brown has penned another blockbuster destined for the number one spot on all the charts! A MUST read! Nick Gonnella
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on August 30, 2001
"Envy" just backs up my theory that Sandra Brown is as good of a suspense writer as a romance writer. When I received the Advanced Readers Copy of this novel two months ago, I was captivated throughout reading it. It was extremely arduous to put down at times. The neat thing about "Envy" is that the book actually takes on two separate stories of these two men's lives. The plot: Maris Matherly Reed is one of the head executives at Matherly Reed Publishing Houses, which her father owns. One day she is going through a bunch of mail and discovers a manuscript of a prologue from a writer who just leaves his intitials, PME. She loves the way this man writes and she finds the plot quite interesting and intriguing. She tries to track down this mysterious man on an island off the coast of Georgia, but finds her self shunned away immediately. As Maris tries to communicate with this writer, her husband, slimeball Noah Reed, has his own little agenda. Not only is he sleeping with another woman, but he wants to take over Matherly Publishing, even if it meets killing Maris's own father. Noah comes to be a major character later on in the story when the reader finds out who Parker Evans really is and what is intention is for Maris to come to this island. This an amazing story of betrayl, friendship, and deception, with an exciting conclusion that makes the reader feel satisfied and shocked. Sandra Brown is one of the best!
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on December 23, 2013
A supposedly sophisticated New York editor, who supposedly loves a husband who is out to steal the company her father built, goes tearing off to some island in the deep south based on a few paragraphs sent to her by a man who refuses to see her. Oh, but she perseveres -- ending up staying several days at his island mansion while he divides his time between insulting her and assautling her, and she is just all shiveringly in love with him though denying those feelings to herself. NOWHERE in the world do people act like this or react like this. The premise is completely ridiculous and nearly every character in it is unrealistic and repulsive.

Really, by the time I was through a few chapters of the book I hoped all the characters in it would have a reason to shoot each other and make sure a sequel never happened. That was when I quit reading -- I encourage everyone else not to waste that much time. No more Sandra Brown for me! Among the worst things I've ever wasted time on. Why can't we give zero star ratings.
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on August 28, 2001
The story begins with Maris Matherly Reed using all her resources to track down a fledgling author whose one chapter submission to the publishing company she runs with her father, Daniel, and her slimy husband Noah Reed has attracted Marris' interest. Maris trails the author, P.M.E. (Parker MacKenzie Evans) to Ste. Anne Island, Georgia believing she has trapped Evans when in reality she has fallen into the clever trap he is setting. The story weaves several tales into one satisfying conclusion. As is always true in Sandra Brown's books the characters are likable and the text is intelligently and sensually written. I finished this book in one sitting- my measure of a truly enjoyable read.
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on September 29, 2001
"Envy" is definitely a can't-put-down suspense thriller that contains a story within a story. The main character, Parker Evans, is writing a book that Maris Matherly-Reed is editing. The book that Parker is writing is the second story within "Envy." The reader is just as interested in the characters in Parker's novel, as in the romance that develops between Maris and Parker. In the hands of a less capable writer, this could have wound up as a muddled mess. However, Brown is able to keep the stories neatly paralelled, even as the two plots begin to converge, and the past that Parker's novel chronicles begins to catch up and engulf the present that he and Maris share.
"Envy" has a few flaws. Besides being able to predict the ending, the villain in "Envy" is unduly evil, bordering on cartoonish. While I won't give away his identity and risk revealing a key plot point for those who haven't read the novel, some of the villain's actions were unnecessarily cruel and without justification. Maris's role in "Envy" is equally unclear. When Parker lures her to a remote island in Georgia to edit his novel, it is apparent that he has ulterior motives and that Maris is part of some larger scheme of his. While it can be understood the scheme might fall by the wayside when Parker falls in love with Maris, Brown doesn't really follow up on it, and has Parker briefly explain himself in a couple of sentences at the end of the book. With all the suspense that the paralell stories had been building up to, the ending was kind of flat. However, "Envy" is Brown's best book in the last three years and it will definitely keep you hooked until the end, where it mildly disappoints.
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on April 19, 2006
This is the longest book I ever read in one day! When I read the book cover I didn't think the book sounded very good. The only reason I bought it was because the written reviews raved about it and most gave it 5 stars so I thought, what the heck. WOW! Was this a great book! I've read so many Sandra Brown books that I can usually see the plot twists coming - this one had a couple twists that surprised me! Definitely one of Sandra's best!
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VINE VOICEon December 19, 2005
Independent book publisher Maris Matherly-Reed is bored and wants to get back into editing. When she checks a pile of unsolicited books, she comes across the prologue of a story that piques her interest. Trouble is, the author left no return address - only the initial P.M.E. - which makes him hard to locate. The novel within the novel is also called "Envy" and is the story of two best friends who take a tragic trip on a boat in Key West with a girlfriend. Three go out and only one comes back.

The author turns out to be Parker Evans, a reclusive disabled mystery author who goes by the pen name of McKenzie Roon. He chooses Maris as the sole receiver of his prologue, hoping to get her to his Georgia island home as part of a plot of revenge. Despite the smarmy way that he treats her, she finds herself attracted to him, despite being married to Noah Reed, a sexy one novel wonder, turned co-publisher courtesy of their marriage.

Maris soon discovers that Noah is not all that he pretends to be, and he is in the middle of a torrid affair with a trampy book reviewer known for her sexcapades. He also has big plans to sell the publishing firm out from under Maris and her father Daniel. She also finds that Parker's novel is somewhat autobiographical, and wonders how it relates to her.

Cleverly choosing to reveal the back story via the "novel" that Parker is writing, Brown weaves the intricate story along at a quick pace. Not an easy feat considering the length of the novel (nearly 500 pages). Her characters fly off the page and keep you glued to the very last sentence. I cannot believe that I finished it in a single rainy day. It is an excellent tale of envy, greed, passion, vengeance, and finally, redemption.
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on October 10, 2001
Sandra Brown is one of the first romance authors I ever read, and she is also one of the finest.
ENVY is what every aspiring romantic suspense writer should strive to achieve. Sandra Brown combines her obvious mastery of the English language with clever, make-me-sigh prose. Her character development is superb. The romance is not eye-rolling and the plot is crisp and page-turning. There are few best-selling authors who come close to her expertise in the writing craft.
ENVY kept me up until 3:00 AM on a Saturday night. At 10:30, I planned to put it down. Ha! How rare it is that I read a book that gives me such pleasure, more from plot than from romance -- though the romance was plenty satisfying. It should be no surprise that the lure was the work of Sandra Brown.
I won't waste words on a brief synopsis. If you want that, just read the other reviews. Just don't pay any attention to those that call it "predictable" or say the villain is "cruel" without "justification." Don't confuse predictable with a storyline so intriguing, it lulls you along. That you are thinking ahead is the intent. Furthermore, a villain with too much "justification" is not a villain. The profile of a killer is anything but "justified." A killer is inadequate psychologically, and that's exactly what you get in ENVY. Like I said; clever.
Congratulations to Sandra Brown. She deserves nothing but high praise for this manuscript.
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