It is my great pleasure to be one of two blogs rounding off the Behind Her Back blog tour today. I’ll be sharing my thoughts on the book in just a moment after we’ve taken a look at what the book is about.
The Official Book Blurb
Liz Lyon is a television producer and busy single mum to a teenage daughter. She works at StoryWorld, the UK’s favourite morning show. As both confidante and team leader, she is the person tasked with controlling the conflicts and tantrums that flare up off-air. Having just started dating again, she’s also having to deal with a few conflicts and tantrums at home…
Following a blissfully peaceful two-week holiday in Italy, Liz has returned to find a new colleague has joined the station. Lori Kerwell has been brought in to increase the show’s profitability. But Liz is not sure that’s the only thing on Lori’s agenda.
As Lori builds her power base with the bosses, Liz finds herself wondering what’s really going on behind her back…
Now I will be open from the start – this is book two in the Storyworld series and I have not yet read the first. That said, I didn’t feel at a disadvantage starting here, other than knowing I’ve probably missed out on a very good read. Having read Behind Her Back I intend to remedy that as soon as I can as I really enjoyed this book and getting to know the character of Liz Lyon and the fictional world of morning television that she inhabits.
Liz is the Producer on a very successful morning television show, one that has been going through a period of change. The headline Anchor, Fizzy, is on maternity leave, due to return in just a few short weeks, but her replacement, Ledley, is getting very comfortable with his new role on the sofa. Throw in a new Marketing expert who seems hell bent on selling out the stations advertising space to low market, high revenue companies while simultaneously alienating practically everyone on the show, an ongoing fued with another of her colleagues, and a teenage daughter who is starting to give into hormonally charged mood swings and Liz’s life couldn’t be more complicated. Could it?
Well you’ll have to read the book to find out the answer to that one but let me assure you that what ensure is a mixture of light relief, budding romance and crossed swords with Liz caught in the middle of it all. I really liked the character of Liz, ever the peacekeeper, who is caught between her desire to keep the station and the show ticking over, and the need to protect herself from being caught up in the impending onslaught. She is a strong and witty character, but easily put upon and the demands of her job keep getting worse.
Liz is probably someone a lot of people will identify with – a single mother, trying to balance her career with doing the best for her daughter. She is strong without being domineering, but ultimately human and constantly second guessing herself. She is the exact opposite of Marketing expert Lori, who seems focused on only one thing and is willing to take down anyone who stands in her way, by fair means or foul. Liz is the kind of female role model that we need to see in fiction – realistic and charming, and successful without being a bitch, a trait that is all too often portrayed in successful women in modern literature. A very refreshing change.
As for the story – well I personally know nothing about what happens behind the scenes in a television show but everything about this seemed to ring true, probably due to Jane Lythell’s years of experience working on shows exactly like Storyworld. Each of the characters, especially the shows, anchors and the recurring guest presenters, read just like people you see on morning television today, the ego’s playing out perhaps stereotypically to a point, but certainly as you expect that the characters would behave, all ego and status crazy. The idea of the back-stabbing, the rumour mongering, in order to get ahead is something you read of every day in the media. Those ‘leaked’ stories and supposition that could make or break a career. The big secret in this case it the father of Fizzy’s child, an identity that Liz knows, but has sworn to keep to herself. This in itself is conflict enough, without Lori, who was employed directly by the station’s owner, seemingly out to get her.
Throw in a smattering of romance with a rival stations top presenter, and the camaraderie which Liz shares with her team and the stage is set for a cracking story. Told from Liz’s point of view, you can feel and sense her frustration as she tries to navigate the perilous waters she returns to after her holiday. There is a great sense of team and I loved the secondary characters that the author has created. They compliment Liz and the story. Ziggy’s story especially brings everything back to a more human level – takes us out of the ridiculous world of celebrity and brings home the facts of what real life is like for the people behind the camera’s.
This was a really enjoyable read for me, a nice break from all the murders and psychological thrillers I’ve been reading of late. Pacing was brilliant and the story and characters so engaging that I read the whole thing in one afternoon, without really realising I was doing it. I’m definitely looking forward to going back and seeing where is all started for Liz, but I do hope this isn’t the end of her story. I’d love to read more. This is the world of TV after all. There’s always one more scandal just around the corner.
My thanks to the author and publishers, Head of Zeus, for providing the advance copy of Behind Her Back and for inviting me to be a part of the blog tour. The book is available to purchase now from the following retailers.
About the Author
Jane Lythell lives in Brighton and is a sea-lover, star-gazer, film and football fan. After her years in television she moved to the British Film Institute as Deputy Director, did one year as Chief Executive of BAFTA (which was miserable) followed by seven years at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (which was interesting). She now writes full time.
Why not catch up with some of the other blogs that have taken part in the tour.