Book Review: The Astrologer’s Daughter by Elyse Douglas

  • Review: The Astrologer’s Daughter
  • Series: —
  • Author: Elyse Douglas
  • No of Pages: Ebook, estimated 281 pages
  • Release Date: November 21, 2011

Buy Now @ Amazon  Genre – Contemporary Romance
Rating – PG
More details about the author

Synopsis:

Joanna Halloran, a best selling writer and astrologer, lives in a beach house overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. After a violent storm, she roams the beach, glances seaward and spots a man clinging to a piece of wreckage, being tossed helplessly. She dives in and pulls him safely onto the beach.

Robert Zachary Harrison is from a wealthy, political family. As he slowly recovers from a private plane crash, he and Joanna fall in love and spend passionate and sequestered weeks together. But because of family duty, Robert makes the painful decision to leave her and return to his fiancée and political life. He departs, not knowing Joanna is pregnant.

Twenty five years later, Senator Robert Harrison is running for President of the United States. In the midst of a contentious presidential campaign, Joanna’s daughter, who has a passion to expose secrets, seeks revenge on her father. She is also falling in love with her father’s adopted son.

As secrets emerge, Joanna and Robert meet again and confront the past and present. Robert confesses a secret that Joanna had never known. Now, on the world stage, they struggle to keep their families and careers from destruction.

My thoughts:

This isn’t my normal read. A sorta whirlwind romance, political type of book. I’m not really interested in politics but this story is about what someone will do because of their goals. In this case, Bob Harrison wants to be the President of the United States. His family and his fiance’s family have been groomed since birth for politics and Bob Harrison feels it’s not only a part of his life, but truly a part of him. He strives to be a different person than the other political idiots we have out there. He wants to make a difference without lying, cheating and stealing. But the main part to him is that he truly wants to be the President. It’s a life’s goal.

So! When Bob is faced with choosing to stay with the woman he is madly in love with or the political route, it’s a difficult decision and one he doesn’t make lightly but it also sets up the entire plot of the book.

There were a lot of politics in this story but that’s my only true downside. It’s intriguing and I enjoy intriguing stories. Plus it’s definitely not my normal genre and I love to venture out. Sometimes it pays off, sometimes not. This time I think my time was well spent. The characters are really interesting and I enjoyed reading about what they were going through and how one summer whirlwind romance affected so many people, both in good and very bad ways and how the choices surrounded those circumstances changed lives, forever.

Joanna and Bob Harrison are very interesting people. Both with flaws, both hurting and needing something they know they can’t have. It makes this story move. Bob Harrison’s political career is THE reason he makes the choices he does and if not for those choices, and his love of politics and wanting to be a better man, this story would go nowhere. So, although the politics didn’t necessarily interest me, they were needed. They are the main reason he made so many choices that I didn’t agree with, but totally understand. Those choices, and politics are an integral part of him and you can see throughout the book that not all of the choices he made did he agree with.

Joanna also made some interesting choices. And that brings me to another note. She is an Astrologer. For me this was huge fun! I love astrology and anything to do with it. For someone else, maybe not so much. But if you can read the tid bits about the astrology and just understand that it helps Joanna make all of her decisions, then it will not bring the book down for you. However in love with Astrology Joanna is, it’s her strength of character that I loved about her. It seems that she’s weak, that she doesn’t speak up for herself or that she doesn’t want people around her, but in reality she had to be strong to go through some devastating things in her life. And she goes through them with her head held high and looking at the transits in her horoscope!

I finished this book with a sigh. The ending was beautiful. The characters really reached out to me and in the end, even after all the politics, the book was really good.

That being said, I would definitely recommend this book. I know many, many people that would absolutely LOVE it. And they don’t have OCD so they probably wouldn’t even notice the outfits! Most of which are blue and white.

Some of my favorite quotes:

Do your best during the day. Do what your good conscience tells you to do at all times, so that you can sleep well at night; so that you can be proud of your life. Then no matter what comes, you’ll have your own inner integrity to keep you strong.

The art of living is more like wrestling than dancing, in that we stand watchful and rooted to meet whatever comes from unexpected directions.

If we search for answers where none exist
We run the risk
of searching the highs and lows of heaven
And of losing the heaven that sent us searching
If we sit with her for heavenly hours
worshiping the time
With pleasure and love
… and question the heart
There’ll be no learning this side of heaven

I’m lucky enough to not only do a book review for The Astrologer’s Daughter but to have an author interview with both Elyse and Doug.

If you could travel in a Time Machine would you go back to the past or into the future? 

Doug:  Most certainly the future.
Elyse:  Most certainly the past.  I would like to experience the silence and stillness of NYC before electricity and cars were invented.
If you could invite any 5 people to dinner who would you choose?
Doug:  Benjamin Franklin, William Shakespeare, Dolly Madison, Abigail Adams and St. Teresa of Avila.
Elyse:  Emily Dickinson, Virginia Woolf, Mary Oliver, William Butler Yeats, and Richard Wilbur.
If you were stranded on a desert island what 3 things would you want with you?
Doug:  A lot of Balance Power bars, The Bhagavad-Gita and Emily Dickinson’s poems.
Elyse:  Assuming I had enough food and water, I’d go for the complete works of Shakespeare, a big, fat notebook, and enough pens to last a lifetime.
What is one book everyone should read?
Doug:  The Grapes of Wrathby John Steinbeck
Elyse:  The essay What I Believe by E.M. Forster.
If you could have any superpower what would you choose? 
Doug: Flight.
Elyse:  The ability to inculcate compassion.
What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
Doug:  Definitely vanilla.  It’s smooth, it’s simple, it’s easy to eat.
Elyse:  Doug has sung the praises of vanilla ice cream for so long that he’s made me a convert.  But of course, I top it with chocolate sauce, whipped cream, walnuts, and cookie pieces. If you could meet one person who has died who would you choose?
Doug:  Krishna
Elyse:  Jesus.  Why was he so powerful and influential?
What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?
Doug: A big ole New York City Bagel.
Elyse:  Peach pancakes with real maple syrup and lots of butter.

Night owl, or early bird?
Doug: I can hoot or tweet.  Hooting is more natural.
Elyse: Definitely a night owl.
Pet Peeves?
Doug:  Bad music pumped into TV news, restaurants, TV ads and retail stores.
Elyse:  Bad food prepared badly.  That includes most fast food.
Skittles or M&Ms?
Both:  Definitely M&Ms
Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.
Both:  The Astrologer’s Daughter has strong characters, is a fast enjoyable read and includes astrology, presidential politics, love and sex.
Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects?
Both:  Elyse Douglas will publish two Christmas books in September:  The Christmas Diary and Christmas Ever After.  Both stories are about strong women who need a little Christmas magic to uncover the secrets of their hearts.
What inspired you to want to become a writer? 
Doug:  The love of reading, listening to and telling stories.  One of the best story tellers I ever met was a janitor I worked with one summer when I was in college.  The other great story teller was my paternal grandfather, Pappy.  He was the grandson of Uncle Johnny Shell, who I wrote about in my blog “My 134-Year-Old Kentucky ‘Uncle’”.
Elyse:  As long as I can remember, I’ve kept journals and written poems.  Writing novels is a more recent adventure.
Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
Both:  Some very favorable unsolicited reviews, both for The Astrologer’s Daughter and our other novel, Wanting Rita.
If you could jump into a book, and live in that world, which would it be? 
Doug:  Any story that has an extravagant beach house, with lots of sand, sea and brazen sun in a broad blue sky.  Then whatever villain came my way I could take him/her down.
Elyse:  A world in which soul mates search for and discover each other… preferably in a beach location!
What is your dream cast for your book? 
Both:  Charlize Theron and Leonardo DiCaprio.
What was your favorite book when you were a child/teen? 
Elyse:  I absolutely loved Little Women and wanted to be like Jo.  Since I’ve been working with children as a speech-language pathologist, my favorite children’s book is The Pop-up Mice of Mr. Brice by Theo. LeSieg, illustrated by Roy McKie.  Every child I know wants to read it over and over and over again.
Doug: Lad a Dog.
Is there a song you could list as the theme song for your book or any of your characters?
Both:  Greg Maroney’s beautiful piano piece Mountain Snow.  It’s on our trailer for The Astrologer’s Daughter.
What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?
Both:  Learn how to take a rejection punch.
If you could choose only one time period and place to live, when and where would you live and why? 
Doug:  I would choose today.  Right where I am.  New York City.  It’s a wonderful time to be on the planet.
Elyse:  I agree.  We have creature comforts like running water and central heat, but we can also enjoy nature in the wild when we want.
If you could be one of the Greek Gods, which would it be and why? 
Doug:  Poseidon.  I love to swim and I’d love to carry around that big Trident.
Elyse:  Artemis.  It’s great to give off light without being too hot to touch or look at!
If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
Both:  Right where we are, in New York City.
What is your favorite Quote?
Doug:  “I must create a system or be enslaved by another man’s;
              I will not reason or compare: my business is to create.”
-William Blake
Elyse:  “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
When you were little, what did you want to be when you “grew up”? 
Doug: A commercial pilot.
Elyse: A missionary.
If a movie was made about your life, who would you want to play the lead role and why?  
Doug: Leonardo DiCaprio.  He looks good… better than me.
Elyse: Cate Blanchette.  We’re both Tauruses and I love her acting.
How did you know you should become an author?
Doug:  It seemed to grow out of me, like a big flowering plant.  For a more complete answer, you can read my blog, “Writers: Beware of Angels.”
Elyse:  It is a desire that has nagged me since I was eight years old.
Who are your favorite authors of all time?
Doug:  John Steinbeck and John D. Macdonald.
Elyse:  E.M. Forster and Virginia Woolf.

Can you see yourself in any of your characters?
Both:  Fortunately, our characters come and go furtively, covering up any footprints that could be followed and thus incriminate their creators.
What’s the craziest writing idea you’ve had?
Doug: A screenplay spoof about Moby Dick.  It sent it to my agent who read it and said… well, nothing.  She never mentioned it again.
Elyse:  I had an idea about a family that could float… they lived near the water… and ended up in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  There was supposed to be a metaphor there somewhere, but I never found it.
What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?
Doug:  From my Mother: “Be sure your sins will find you out.”
Elyse:  From my Mother:  “Stop thinking so much!”
Hidden talent?
Doug: I’m always digging.  I have many little holes all around me.
Elyse: I’m grateful for the talents I know about and have to use every day, like staying calm, thinking fast, and being persistent (Doug might say stubborn).
Favorite Food?
Doug:  Pasta with lots of garlic, cheese and parsley
Elyse:  Bread and butter.

Favorite Candy?
Doug:  York Mints.
Elyse:  Dark chocolate with salt.

How do you react to a bad review?
Both:  Learn from it or ignore it.
If you were a bird, which one would you be?
Elyse:  I’d be a robin.  I love the way they cock their heads and jump in the grass.  Plus, they have a song about them that I sing every spring.
Doug: I would be a cardinal.
If you were a super hero what would your kryptonite be? 
Doug:  A bottle of red Burgundy.
Elyse:  An iced latte.
If you could have a signed copy of any novel what would it be and why? 
Doug:  The Grapes of Wrath because it is beautiful and devastating.
Elyse:  Fortune’s Rocks because it’s such a satisfying love story.
You have won one million dollars what is the first thing that you would buy?
Both:  A trip around the world.
Which authors have influenced you most how?
Doug:  John Steinbeck and John D. MacDonald.  I’m constantly amazed by the power of their prose, imagination and choice of the perfect word for the moment.
Elyse:  Ann Tyler for her endearing characters.
What do you do in your free time? 
Both:  Write.  Take walks.
If someone wrote a book about your life, what would the title be?
Doug:  What the Hell Was that All about?
Elyse:  Why Didn’t I Realize this Sooner?

What’s your favorite season/weather?
Elyse: Spring
Doug: Autumn
Who or what inspired you to become an author? 
Doug:  Some unseen muse who keeps coming up with ideas that I want to explore.  If the book’s successful, I take credit.  If it’s not, I blame the muse.
Elyse:  As long as I can remember, I’ve kept journals and written poems.  Writing novels is a more recent adventure
How did you celebrate the sale of your first book? 
Both:  A nice bottle of champagne and a Broadway show.
What is your guilty pleasure?
Both:  Chocolate.  Elyse:  After every meal.
Finish the sentence- one book I wish I had written is.
Doug:  Cannery Row
Elyse:  Mrs. Dalloway

Favorite places to travel?
Montauk and the Caribbean
Favorite music?
Doug:  Bach and anything by Michel Legrand
Elyse:  I like just about anything I can dance to, as well as choral pieces like “Les Chansons des Roses” by Morton Lauridsen, Donizetti arias sung by Beverly Sills, and jazz piano by Keith Jarrett.
In your wildest dreams, which author would you love to co-author a book with?
Doug: Mel Brooks.

Elyse: William Shakespeare, of course.

Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from the author through Orangeberry Book Tours. I did not receive any payment in exchange for this review nor was I obligated to write a positive one.
spiderline

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5 comments

  1. Great interview Nova!!
    Super review too. Makes me want to read it too even if I don’t always pull romance off the shelf!!! I do love astrology. I recently read another with astrology that was VERY good, The Quintesstional Gemini. I reviewed on my blog. If you like astrology, it’s great. I love it and especially used in fiction.

    1. Thank you!

      I’ll have to check that one out! If you pick this one up let me know what you think!

      1. You definately gave it an awesome review that makes me want to read it. I hadn’t heard of much astrology romance till the one I read and glad to see another one come along that you say is worth a look.

      2. I know! You would think there would be more since it’s such an interesting subject!

  2. […] The Astrologer’s Daughter (Review) […]

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