I am so glad you decided to visit Books Beyond The Story as I have a treat for you! Today I am reviewing Behind Her Back by Jane Lythell.
StoryWorld is the nation’s favourite morning show, and producer Liz Lyon wants to keep it that way. Her job is to turn real-life stories into thrilling TV – and keep a lid on the cauldron of conflicts and resentments that constantly simmers off-stage.
In this gripping novel of power, rivalry and betrayal, Jane Lythell draws on her experiences of working in the heated world of live TV. Liz Lyon must balance the monster egos at work with the demands of her teenage daughter – and the man she’s just started dating – at home. It’s all in a day’s work
Official blurb for Behind Her Back.
When I first started to read this book, I had no idea that it is actually the second instalment of the Storyworld series. I am usually not a fan of books in a series because I prefer stand-alone novels, however Behind Her Back is an exception. Lythell is a marvel at story-telling and I believe this book can be seen individually, in addition to a series. Lythell has a way of revealing bits and pieces of information without giving away the story or making it predictable. Even though I hadn’t read the first book in the StoryWorld series, Woman Of The Hour, I didn’t feel as if I missed out on the story.
Lythell puts you straight into the action but still leaves room to build tension in the story. I was so glued to the pages when I first picked up this book that it was too difficult to put down! I warn you, many cups of tea were made and then forgotten when I was reading this story.
The characters were wonderfully portrayed in the book, my favourite being Liz Lyon. No, she isn’t the woman who has it all- that’s why I like her; she’s human. She has some flaws but admits to them and is whimsically awkward at times. I found I could connect with Liz’s persona. And she doesn’t have it easy; yes, she is the producer of a famous TV show, however, with work problems and personal issues running alongside each other, it’s easy to sympathise with Liz.
With every good heroine, there is always a villain stirring things up. That someone is Lori Kerwell. I took an immediate dislike towards her and, although you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover, I knew she was bad news from the start. However- she is a fantastic villain! She constantly makes trouble and will do anything to get to the top, even if that means making enemies and stabbing people in the back. But, because of Lori, Liz must learn to be bold, take the bull by the horns, and stand up to those who cross her.
I thought the other female characters were brilliantly written too – Fizzy and Flo both kept the story’s momentum going by adding melodrama. Some characters I feel go too far but these two both added drama to the story yet still kept it realistic. From keeping a scandal out of the newspapers, to the everyday chore of raising a teenager, Lythell has created memorable and interesting characters that only add to the story, not distract. Even the secondary characters such as Molly, Harriet, Molly, Pat, and Lou (Lou is in my bad books!!) add flavour to the book which keeps the reader interested alongside the main storyline.
The male characters are also portrayed brilliantly in this story. In an industry dominated by men, and seeing another sexist or discriminatory news develop ever other week, it was interesting to see how Lythell described them. Of course, you got the odd stereo-type, but Lythell also makes you see them from Liz’s point of view. She has to keep the peace in addition to standing up for what’s right. I believe the male figures in this story, such as Julius, Ledley, and Douglas, provide a strong contrast of the types of figures in the industry – yet they all share something in common; their ego.
The setting in the novel is also interesting as the reader gets a sort of backstage pass into the industry. Although set in picturesque London, the atmosphere is anything but enjoyable; the tension can be cut with a knife and there are enough egos battling it out that the air is thick with stubbornness.
However, I was disappointed when I reached the last page because there wasn’t another chapter- as I said, Lythell keeps you hooked, but even more so at the end! I was selfish and wanted more, more, more! I cannot wait to read number #3 in the StoryWorld series and find out what’s next in store for Liz! I have been converted into reading series books because of Behind Her Back– I’ve been inspired to look more into book series instead of just stand-alone novels.
I would say that this book is the perfect journalism handbook. Not just because it gives you insight into the industry, but it also shows you from Liz’s point of view which is very rare. In some non-fiction handbooks, the hard times are disguised as challenges or are leading you down a false path. Fiction narratives allow us to open up the doors to limitless possibilities, one of which is the POV of Liz. This novel shows you the ups and downs and how to stand up for yourself. Anyone wanting to learn more about journalism or the media should read this book!
I would of course recommend this book to those who enjoyed Woman Of The Hour, however, those who are interested in this book should not be put off that this is in number #2 in the StoryWorld series. I absolutely adored it and haven’t even read the 1st instalment yet, although it is going right on my TBR pile!
If you enjoy the tension of crime fiction, or enjoy the odd romantic sub-plot, or even the melodramatic world of TV, I would recommend this book to you! Lythell is a wonderful storyteller and I guarantee you will be hooked right till the end!
To sum up, I would say this book is a thrilling insight into the media world with drama and scandal lurking around every corner…
CLICK HERE for Head of Zeus’s website and more information about Behind Her Back and Lythell’s other titles!
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Thank you Head of Zeus and Jane Lythell for my copy of Behind Her Back. I wrote an unbiased honest review of this book.
Happy reading! Lx