Eighteen Acres by Nicole Wallace
Published by Atria Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster
Review copy provided by the publicist
Eighteen Acres is the story of three very important women: Charlotte Kramer, the forty-fifth President of the United States, Melanie Kingston, Charlotte’s best friend and chief of staff, and Dale Smith, a White House reporter having an affair with President Kramer’s husband.
I purposely didn’t reveal many details about Eighteen Acres in that extremely short “summary” because there is a lot happening in this novel. There’s political turmoil, friendships in distress, women struggling with juggling career and family, affairs, and more. And all of this in the unlikely setting of the first woman President of the United States!
Admittedly, I did not love this novel. It has a lot of promise (first woman President? YES PLEASE!) but for me, it didn’t quite deliver. I think my issue with the book is how light it is in tone. I knew it was billed as “chick lit” but honestly, being President is serious business and I assumed the novel would handle it as such. Yes, there were some poignant and serious moments, but overall there just wasn’t enough depth for my tastes.
There was a reason I kept reading this story, though, and that reason is the characters. While I found them to be a bit shallow for the subject matter, the three women were written well. I did feel that I got a complete understanding of where each of them were coming from, and the issues and personal struggles they were facing as the book went on. I was particularly impressed with the character of Dale, one wouldn’t expect to like a person sleeping with the president’s husband, but I really did like her. She was intriguing and I truly felt that I understood her motivations – she ended up falling in love with this man, regardless of who he was, that’s all there was to it. And she was very genuine.
I think that Eighteen Acres will appeal more to readers looking for a light read about women dealing with personal issues. I was expecting the book to be a bit deeper than it was, and although it disappointed me a bit, it’s not a bad novel by any means. The characters are well-written and the story moves along at a decent pace. Don’t expect much in the way of politics from this book, though – it’s more about these three women as individuals than it is about their careers or what it means to be a woman President.