Monday, November 25, 2013

Blog Tour: Review Of WOMAN ON TOP By Deborah Schwartz

Author: Deborah Schwartz
Release Date: June 8, 2013
Publisher: Laudan Press
Edition: Paperback, 335 pages
Genre: chick lit, women's fiction, romance
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Add it on Goodreads
Buy it on Amazon 

"From the moment Jake died, I became the widow with her nose pressed against the window of life. […] The meaning of my life though was […] to be found […] within me. It is framed by choices to have the strength to keep going and to aim for the top."

Blurb -  Kate, after the heartbreaking loss of her husband, falls prey to a very wealthy Wall Street banker who tries to acquire her heart as he has successfully completed all of his other deals - pouncing on the vulnerable and taking control.

This is the captivating story of how Kate struggles with the heady lure of the enormous money, excitement, glamour, greed and power of life in New York and whether she can ultimately rescue herself. Will she allow her heart to be reclaimed by a good man?

While following her quest for a reaffirmation of life and love, including a surprising adventure, Kate’s story touches on the unexpected pleasures and decisions we face throughout our lives.  

My review - Deborah Schwartz started on top with a moving and poignant story of self-empowerment. I was riveted by the quality of her narrative: the main character's emotions are so raw and authentic, her voice and perspective so clear and defined, that I wonder where fiction ends in this novel and the author's intimate familiarity with real characters and events begins.

Kate is a strong and smart young woman. Her joy is infectious. But when at age thirty-five she loses her sweet and kind husband to cancer, she is physically and emotionally drained. She will spend the following five years trying to provide her two children with financial stability and the most normal life a single mother can possibly grant to her fatherless kids. When Kate allows herself to start the dating game again, she gets involved with a consummate business man with a steely and arrogant personality. 

With his wealth and power, Len fares in a world of domination, where marriages are contracts, wives are trophies, and relationships are ruled by the same deal-making mentality he applies to his business. Len's steely spine and empty soul clamorously clash with her first husband's amiable and saintly personality. Life with Jake was real and happy, made of love, trust, mutual respect and cooperation. Life with 'big-ego' Len is perfectly constructed, a bubble of high-society, big money, and weekends in Paris. Why would a genuine and compassionate, smart forty year old woman like Kate step in Len's shallow environment and let a domineering man destroy her self-confidence?

If you ask the therapist who helped her through the loss and grieving process, the reason why Kate chooses the wrong man and sticks around him despite the numerous red flags, is a way to sabotage any possibility of moving on past her beloved first husband. Len and Jake are worlds apart, they could never compare, physically and emotionally. The author's use of alternating time lines and flashbacks from Kate's former married life mark the stark contrast between the two men. With Len around, Jake's memory will always be safe and intact.

If you ask Kate, her answer will be simple: fear. Fear of being alone. Fear she will never be able to recapture the excitement of her love affair with Jake. She enjoys her reflection in Len's eyes: "The flattery from him was constant and filled with words like fun, smart, fabulous mother, sexy and sweet. It felt hard to resist that reflection, given that I had not seen, or at least had not been willing to acknowledge, such desire and flattery since Jake."

Schwartz appears to be a great observer of human behaviors and her ability to capture their essence in her story-telling with a writing that is emotional, luminous and altogether eloquent, shows great sensibility and psychological insight.  Kate's arc is an exciting journey, albeit a mercurial and, at times, heartbreaking one: reading how she finds in her vulnerable but optimistic nature the way to reconstruct herself was for me an uplifting and gratifying experience. 

***Review copy graciously offered by the author in return of an unbiased and honest opinion. Read my author interview here.

About the author - Born and raised in New York, Deborah Schwartz graduated from Tufts University and then obtained her Masters in History at Columbia University where she wrote a thesis on “Feminism in Eighteenth Century England.” She received her J.D. from Boston University School of Law. Today, Deborah’s passion is writing and she incorporated her achievement of having reached the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in 2011 into her debut novel. A New Yorker to the core, Deborah is most grateful to be the mother of her two grown children.  For more information, please visit her website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads .

Follow the tour
So Many Precious books Nov 7 Spotlight, Guest Post & Giveaway
From L.A. to LA Nov 8 Review
Paperback Writer Nov 8 Guest Post
Chick Lit Central Nov 11 One Week Feature
Deal Sharing Aunt Nov 12 Review
Teena In Toronto Nov 13 Review
Bookalicious Travel Addict Nov 13 Spotliight
Rainy Days & Mondays Nov 14 Review
Celtic Lady Nov 15 Review
Mom in Love with Fiction Nov 18 Review
Sweeps 4 Bloggers Nov 19 Review & Giveaway
Mina’s Bookshelf Nov 25 Review
Mina’s Bookshelf Nov 21 Interview
Most Happy Reader Nov 21 Review
Most Happy Reader Nov 22 Interview & Giveaway
Saving for Six Nov 25 Review
Every Free Chance Nov 25 Guest Post  & Giveaway
Romance & Inspiration Nov 26 Review
Joy Story Nov 27 Review


  1. The first paragraph of your review is gripping. I love where you wonder "where fiction ends in this novel and the author's intimate familiarity with real characters and events begins". Brilliant!

    1. Emotional authenticity is always gripping and the author seems to have injected a lot of it in her novel. Thank you for stopping by, Maryellen :)

  2. Thanks for taking part in the tour. I'm glad you found Woman On Top "emotional, luminous and altogether eloquent" What a great review you crafted!!