Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Whole Package. Review

Hi Aspired Writer! Thanks so much for letting me be a part of the community at your site. I’m delighted to be here to discuss my debut novel, The Whole Package.

When I started writing The Whole Package, I thought I was writing a funny novel about three women who open a restaurant staffed by scantily clad men. Eventually, I realized that the theme was much more serious: The Whole Package is about starting over.

Life doesn’t always go according to plan. How many of us have said, “Oh, I’m going to be married by thirty, a millionaire by forty and a world traveler by fifty?” Then, how many of us have gotten to be thirty, forty or fifty and been like, “Whaaaa? What happened to my plan?”

In The Whole Package, the women are about to turn forty and all hell breaks loose. Cheryl loses her job, Doris loses her husband and Jackie loses her fortune. They are left thinking, “Oh, crap. What just happened to my life?”

Have you been there? I have. I think we all have, in some way or another. And the trick is figuring out the best way to get back up and start over again.

As a writer, it’s been incredibly rewarding to have people read The Whole Package (it’s available in both eBook and as trade fiction, from Penguin-Berkley), recognize the theme and relate to it. I’ve heard from so many women who, like Jackie, Doris and Cheryl, have faced sudden surprises in their lives that derailed their plans and forced them to start over again.

Hearing from readers, I’ve noticed is that so many people seem to be fighting to make it through this shaky economy or relationships that aren’t exactly what we thought or friendships that don’t work out and ultimately, create a life that still works for us and our families. The challenge of starting over might be tough, but ultimately, it can guide us into becoming better and stronger people.

If you’re facing any of these issues or know someone who is, I hope that The Whole Package will inspire you to hang in there. To persevere. To laugh and learn through your struggles. Because ultimately, you never know what great things the future might hold - sometimes, it takes a shake up to make our lives something better than what we’d ever imagined. 

Title: The Whole Package
Author: Cynthia Ellingsen
Publisher: Penguin/Berkley
Length: 409 pages
Genres: Contemporary Women's Fiction (Comedy)

Available at:

Life has thrown childhood friends Jackie, Cheryl, and Doris a few curveballs. Widowed and broke, Jackie returns home after an extravagant life in Paris, Doris is reliant on anti-depressants, and Cheryl’s plans for a corporate take-over are replaced with walking papers. But after a drunken night sampling the delights at strip club for women, the ladies stumble upon a genius idea and decide to open up The Whole Package—the world’s first restaurant staffed exclusively by very attractive men. Armed with Jackie’s connections, Doris’ ambition, and Cheryl’s business sense the ladies set out to make their mark in the world.

French is a sexy language. Except, of course, if you are standing in line at a French café and the French you hear is a nasal, drawn out, “Fat American.“ Unnecessary, especially if you are simply trying to buy a chocolate croissant to dip into the first cappuccino of the day.

Jackie - and yes, it was Jackie and not Jacqueline even though she was closing in on forty instead of the throat of the snickering girl behind her – whirled around.

“Did you just call me fat?”

A French girl stared back at her. The girl had the audacity to cock her head. A yes.

Jackie was stunned. Okay, fine – and a little hurt. Such a judgment was the last thing she expected in this cheerful neighborhood cafe with its brightly painted walls, kitschy produce art and erratically placed wildflowers. Even the French sayings on the wall, written in such careful, scrolling script were meant to inspire good cheer, not snappy little insults.

 “Well, I am not fat!” Jackie said. And this was not in French, because after two years in the country she spoke French perfectly and proving it was no longer important. “I am sexy.

A mustached host had been writing out specials on a blackboard with squeaking chalk. At this, he paused and took a look. Jackie ran her palms over her curvy hips and considered giving a slight shimmy. The man gave a nod in agreement and went back to the specials.

The French girl sniffed. She was dressed all in black, a total cliché. She was holding a sniveling, trendy dog. Its shaky face was framed by a bejeweled collar and its droopy eyes stared, along with everyone else in the cinnamon scented café.

“Perhaps you should order something to eat,” Jackie said, pointedly eyeing the girl’s bony frame . “You’re probably just suffering from low blood sugar.”


Jackie’s jaw dropped. Drawing herself up to her full height of 5’3” (5’6” with her three inch pumps), Jackie said, “If you want to live off of cigarettes and red wine and ignore the delicacies your country has to offer, you go right ahead. But I would rather get chased out of Le Bon Marche by a firing squad than strut around in a body that looks like it was stolen from an eight-year-old boy.”

The French girl gasped.

“I am going to embrace my sensuality,” Jackie said. “I am going to improve upon it. And,” she stood a bit taller, “it is gonna happen with a chocolate croissant.”

"The friendship between the women is realistic, the characters funny, and the premise well-executed. Readers will giggle and grin from start to finish, and will surely be eager for Ellingsen's next novel."--PublishersWeekly.com

“The Whole Package is a delightfully frivolous romp. An excellent beach read, this light but enjoyable fare will have you chuckling (and likely blushing!) throughout...”--RT Reviews

About the Author:
Cynthia Ellingsen is a fiction writer and screenwriter. She lives in Lexington, KY with her husband.

My Review:  5 Stars 
Go girl was the first words that entered my mind when I read the expert from Author Cynthia Ellingsen in her new book The Whole Package.
It placed a smile on my face. I myself is forty plus with all the curves in the [cough] right places and can relate to it.
Losing everything and starting over is not a small thing, especially when you have worked hard to accomplish your dreams, and see them burst in a bubble.
This story reminds me that it is possible to start over even when live does not believe in you any more.
I could recommend this book to all who is searching for meaning after live as given you a curve ball and there is still hope and fight in you to continue.
Thanks Cynthia for giving me the opportunity to host you on my Blog and learn more about you. 

No comments:

Post a Comment