Monday, October 18, 2010

Review: Eighteen Acres

Author: Nicolle Wallace
Publisher/Format: Atria (2010), Hardcover, 336 pages
Characters: Charlotte, Melanie, Dale
Subject: Women in the White House
Setting: Washington DC
Genre: Fiction
Source: Review copy from publisher
Challenge: ARCs completed

 Last week I read a politico-thriller written by a Washington insider. As you saw in my review I found it not very exciting. So when I read the blurb for this one I thought "Chick-Lit...I'm just SO NOT ready for more Washington DC robo-politicians."   I was not overly inclined to want to read this one, even tho it is being published this week, and I could for once get a review posted on time. I'm so glad I made the effort.

This is the well-constructed story of three women: Charlotte- the President of the United States, her chief of staff, Melanie, and a big network White House reporter Dale.  It just so happens that Dale is secretly having an affair with the first husband, who conveniently is living in Connecticut where the first children are in boarding school. None of this is spoiler -it's put right out there in the first 20 or so pages.  It could easily have gone right into the trash can at this point as just another political soap-opera.  It's NOT.

Wallace does an excellent job of fleshing out these characters: their motivations, their emotions, and their aspirations.  The plot is also tightly drawn, centering around Charlotte--is she going to win re-election for a 2nd term when her popularity is plummeting?  Does she know about her husband's infidelity?  Does anyone besides the Secret Service know? What will happen if the affair becomes public knowledge?  And what is the nature of her relationship with her Secretary of Defense Roger Taylor?  They're always together, and Mrs. Taylor is beginning to resent his absences.

As the players jockey for power and presence, and the polls continue to reflect poor numbers, the war in Afghanistan rages on, and Charlotte and Roger make several trips to visit the troops. Dale lands a highly coveted trip with the presidential entourage, and Melanie is trying to decide if she wants to continue her life in the fast lane after 16 years in DC.

Past this I really don't want to go because it's a great read and I don't want to spoil it.  There are excellent plot twists and surprises, well-written dialogue and realistic DC scenes.  This is definitely not Chick-lit.  It's a well-written novel written by someone who obviously knows her way around the eighteen acres on which the Executive Branch sits in the middle of Washington D.C.

I look forward to more books by Nicole Wallace and thank Atria Books for sending the copy to review. It's on sale this week.


  1. I'm glad your second attempt at a Washington DC thriller paid off! This one sounds interesting with some terrific characters, not to mention a female president! Eighteen Acres sounds like a captivating and very current story.

    Thanks for an awesome review. I'm going to keep an eye out for this book.

    ~ Amy

  2. Sounds like a White House with some very strong women! I'm glad to hear you liked this, it's on my TBR list!

  3. Hoping for a female President one day, I just had to read this book. I thought it was well written. Recommend!


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