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3.6 8
by Leslie Carroll

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Forty is fabulous for Tessa Craig. Heck, she has it all—a glamorous job as a political speechwriter, a Manhattan duplex, and a handsome boyfriend, Congressman David Weyburn, whose integrity, charisma, and good looks have made him his party's rising star. But her fabulosity fizzles when scandal strikes, and Tessa watches helplessly as her seemingly happy love


Forty is fabulous for Tessa Craig. Heck, she has it all—a glamorous job as a political speechwriter, a Manhattan duplex, and a handsome boyfriend, Congressman David Weyburn, whose integrity, charisma, and good looks have made him his party's rising star. But her fabulosity fizzles when scandal strikes, and Tessa watches helplessly as her seemingly happy love life and successful career collapse like a house of cards.

Tessa realizes it's time to embark on a new journey, one she should have made a long time ago. It's a trip that takes her to the Emerald Isle and back, leading her heart in unimagined directions. She makes new friends, unexpectedly adopts a new family (or do they adopt her?), and discovers unanticipated love with silver-tongued, green-eyed, aspiring pub owner, Jamie Doyle. And, most importantly, Tessa makes that uphill climb over the rainbow to find the ultimate pot of gold: Herself.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Forty-year-old Tessa Craig has been Congressman David Weyburn's speechwriter by day and lover by night for three years. So after David dumps her (he says he needs to be alone), she takes a short trip to Dublin and realizes she'd fallen in love with the "magical semi-fiction" of David's dashing public persona (that, as his speechwriter, she'd helped create). She also quickly finds another man: Jamie Doyle, a fisherman who alternately cracks one-liners and drops kernels of Yeatsian wisdom. Although Carroll (Spin Doctor) throws obstacles in the way, she leaves no doubt that Tessa and Jamie are fated—never mind that Tessa is a lapsed Jew and Jamie has a ferociously possessive and traditionally Catholic mother, Maureen. Jamie follows Tessa back to New York, and the story culminates in Tessa's run for David's congressional seat after he's sidelined by a heart attack. Politics proves punishing, especially after Maureen and Jamie's sister arrive on Tessa's Manhattan doorstep to reclaim Jamie and the New York Postpublishes steamy excerpts from Tessa's purloined diary. Though Carroll tends to let her scenes run on too long, her endearingly quirky cast and (mostly) snappy dialogue should keep readers rooting for Tessa up to the tears-of-joy ending. (Mar.)

Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Successful speechwriter freshly jilted by her politician lover has her life transformed by a soulful man she meets on an Irish vacation. As the most devoted player on Congressman David Weyburn's reelection team, Tessa Craig can be counted on for her discretion. She has come to accept her behind-the-scenes roles, both as David's head speechwriter and his secret girlfriend. But when a scandal regarding David's sexuality erupts, followed by a health scare, he breaks it off with Tessa romantically, while retaining her as an employee. Devastated, she books a trip to Dublin, hoping for some time to think. On day one, she meets Jamie Doyle, a fisherman and Star Trek fanatic who shows her the Emerald Isle. The two grow close, with a smitten Jamie opening his heart to her in ways the narcissistic David never could. Their affair hits a snag when David shows up to woo Tessa back, only to dump her again. When Tessa returns to New York, Jamie follows and crashes on her couch. Once nested, he shows no interest in moving to his own place. Instead, he finds a job and takes steps toward fulfilling his dream of owning a pub-and pretty soon Tessa falls for him. Their domestic bliss is compromised by the arrival of his mother, Maureen, and sister Brigid-a fledgling nun. Maureen is determined to bring her 40-year-old son back to Ireland, and away from his Jewish lady friend. Meanwhile, David suffers a heart attack, prompting Tessa to run for his political seat. Tessa juggles Jamie, his family and her political opponent as the story moves toward a warm and fuzzy election-night finale. Carroll (Spin Doctor, not reviewed, etc.) overreaches in her exploration of political and cultural hot-button issues, but theupbeat romance is right on.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.80(d)

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By Leslie Carroll

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2007 Leslie Carroll
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780060859954

Chapter One

"A snake can't strike more than half its length."

David's talking in his sleep again. "Honey . . . ? You're lying on my hair." If I try any harder to reach the crowing clock, I risk whiplash. "David . . . ? Hey! Sleeping Congressman at six o'clock!" I whisper.

David grumbles and shifts almost imperceptibly. "I'll'mm nevermm be a mmmorning person," he mumbles. He's in the here and now, now: all nightmares vanquished or vanished. His arm, draped protectively over my chest, pulls me toward him.

"Listen, I'd love to snuggle all day, but you're doing a meet and greet at the Metropolitan Health Club at eight. Freddy will be waiting outside your place at seven-thirty with the black car to take you there. So up and at 'em, chief!"

Congressman David Weyburn blinks open his sleep-encrusted lids and rolls over just far enough for me to switch off the alarm clock. How do some men sleep through that kind of noise? But heck, they sleep through arguments and filibusters on the floor of the House of Representatives, so I suppose nothing should surprise me. "What the hell time is it, Tess?"

"6:04. You could have grabbed some extra z's if you weren't perpetually freaked out about someone learning that you've been sleeping with your head speechwriter. For three years." Ilean over and kiss him gently on the mouth. Screw morning breath; we both had it. "Keeping separate apartments all this time is your idea, remember?"

David grunts his acknowledgment and swivels his feet onto the hardwood floor. "I've never been a morning person," he sighs.

"Take your shower here; it'll help wake you up."

He shakes his head. "I'll only have to do it again when I stop off at my place."

"Why?" I slide over and kneel on the mattress, kissing the back of his neck. "It's important to start the day off right, which, in my book, has very little to do with eating breakfast." I caress the planes of his chest and lean over him, the better to snake my hand down his body. "What do you say we hit the showers?" I murmur.

I feel David stiffen beneath my hand. "You're a very persuasive woman, Tessa Craig."

"Isn't that why you hired me?"

Following a highly satisfying sojourn in my bathroom, I kiss David good-bye with a "See you at 7:45; don't forget your bathing suit and a pair of flip-flops" and send him down to the street, where his driver's town car whisks him off to his own apartment, three-quarters of a mile away.

I sip a glass of iced coffee as I dress in a simple skirt and knit top—innocuous personal appearance uniform number 4a—and apply minimal makeup, since I'll be exercising in a swimming pool in just a couple of hours. Then I double-check the contents of my gym bag and take my coffee into my home office. Seating myself at the desk, I remove my daily journal and my favorite green pen from the center drawer. Pathetic how chewed the end of it is. I should be ashamed of myself. I glance at the print facing me on the opposite wall, a lithograph of Frank Lloyd Wright's Four Organic Commandments: Love is the virtue of the Heart; Sincerity is the virtue of the Mind; Decision is the virtue of the Will; Courage is the virtue of the Spirit.

Absentmindedly, I gaze at the quote for a few seconds before putting pen to paper.

August 1

I've never been angling for a ring—once you've been married, somehow it seems like less of a Big Deal—but I figured that after three years of dating, David would have at least been amenable to cohabitating. Our professional life got personal after we'd been working together for two years and by now, I suppose I should know him well enough to realize that getting a commitment out of him might be tough. After all, he's a politician.

But he's irresistible. He's got the whole package.

Media pundits have characterized Congressman David Weyburn as having the charm of a Clinton (Bill, obviously—though I'd say it's a lot more like Cary Grant's), the charisma of a Kennedy (Jack or Bobby—take your pick), and the looks of a Clooney (George, of course, not Rosemary). They don't make 'em any more telegenic. Not only that, David Weyburn has the ethics of . . . well, come to think of it, neither a politician nor a movie star spring to mind as a template for David's ethics. What I'm trying to say is that he's got 'em. And not only is this paragon my boyfriend; he's also my boss. Everybody knows the latter part of the equation. No one knows about the former except our mothers, a few good friends of mine, and a couple of close friends of David's—plus his campaign manager, Gus Trumbo, and his limo driver, Freddy—all of whom have been sworn to silence. A couple of my girlfriends hate the idea of me being David's "dirty little secret," particularly since neither one of us has anything to hide. They call me "The Beret." And as time goes on, I've become less amenable to pretending that David and I are merely colleagues. I'm not asking for a round of tongue hockey in the Capitol rotunda—believe me, I understand the concept of discretion—but conducting this relationship entirely on his terms has become harder and harder the more I've come to care about him. I want to be acknowledged as his woman, without worrying about his poll numbers among females from eighteen to eighty-four. Sometimes I feel like Dracula, all hidden away until after sunset; and even then, if we go to a restaurant it has to look like we're still talking shop. Frankly, I'd like to step out of the shadows and into the light.

The Metropolitan Health Club is an all-purpose pampering hub just a few blocks from my apartment. Seven airy stories of state-of-the-art gym equipment, general exercise, Spinning, and Pilates studios, plus an in-house child-care center offering a variety of programs for infants and toddlers, a rooftop sun deck, a café for snacks and smoothies, an award-winning restaurant helmed by a famous chef, and a full-service spa. Urban heaven.


Excerpted from Herself by Leslie Carroll Copyright © 2007 by Leslie Carroll. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Native New Yorker Leslie Carroll is also a professional actress, dramatist, and journalist. Her first two books, contemporary romantic comedies set in her hometown, won a series of rave reviews. She also writes historical and New York "tart noir" detective fiction. Leslie has worked more temp jobs than she cares to remember in the fields of politics, advertising, public relations, and — far too frequently — law. But it's all ripe for social satire and fodder for fiction!

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3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
cortney6891 More than 1 year ago
I had a hard time getting into this book. I just couldn't bring myself to read past the second chapter.
charlottesweb93 More than 1 year ago
Herself is a fun little book about a woman who finally learns how to look after herself. She examines how her life has been going & what is missing from her life. And finds love along the way. The perfect book to read in the New Year when Resolutions start dying out. Herself will remind you how important it is to persevere & make the changes necessary to make you a better woman.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really disliked this book. I thought the author should have stuck to the main characters in the book instead of going off on a tangent about her political views. VERY disappointing. I won't read any more of her books again. Overview: Tess is dating her boss, a Congressman. When that relationship ends she ventures to Ireland to 'find herself' and meets a guy Jamie who changes her life and makes change her, for lack of a better word, obsessive ways. Now all of this is portrayed over 1/8 of the book with the rest just political bs. I'm sorry but we get enough of it in real life to have it pushed on us in a fiction novel. The end keeps you hanging about the other characters they introduce but never develop.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Leslie Carroll¿s latest novel, HERSELF is truly a modern fairy tale. The heroine, Tessa Goldsmith Craig, a feisty New Yorker, working as speech writer for young, handsome, well liked Congressman David Weyburn has to turn her life around after a disturbing upset. Enter, her girlfriends, who decide that a far away vacation will help her find herself and put her on the road to starting anew when she returns. On the spur of the moment they send her off to Ireland, where she hasn¿t recovered from jet lag before being subjected to total change of culture and environment. A night of solo pub-crawling brings her face to face with the rugged, good looking Jamie Doyle. It doesn¿t take long to learn that while their backgrounds and upbringing couldn¿t be more different, Jamie does make Tessa feel good about herself in light of what has happened to her. She had wanted to be alone to figure out the rest of her life. And, while she wasn¿t yet ready to start anew, Jamie¿s presence had a startling effect. Jamie¿s very traditional Irish family owns a bar called Blackpool¿s...and each sibling is assigned a job in birth order. The quiet oldest son Niall is the bartender, while gregarious, people-loving Jamie is the fisherman (where else to get the goods for those fish and chips?) another son drives tourists around Dublin in a hansom cab, and of course, there is a younger sister, in training to become a nun. American born Mum is the homemaker, tending her garden and creating eerily life-like baby dolls for sale. Da is the traditional Irish father -strict ruler of all. But he doesn¿t drink and he loves to run marathons, contrary to the way most people view the Irish patriarch. Introducing Tessa to his family is one of Jamie¿s first steps toward making her part of his life. Then they take great pride in showing her their Ireland -the one beyond Dublin¿s tourist sights. When her week¿s vacation ends, and Tessa boards her plane to go home, she is in for a great surprise... her life is destined to change in ways she had never imagined. After David dumped her, she had told her girlfriends she wanted a man who would tell her he ¿couldn¿t live without her¿. In Jamie Doyle, the lovelorn Tessa gets more than she wished for. As in all of her books, Ms. Carroll vividly describes New York and anywhere else her action takes place. Her characters speak in the dialects of the areas in which they were raised, creating very interesting dialogue and giving readers an insight into their personalities and lifestyles. Herself would be a great cross-country -transoceanic read -or the perfect book for a lazy week-end in the country. As the delightful tale unfolds, you find yourself truly rooting for its heroine and hero. Be careful what you wish for takes on a whole new meaning!
harstan More than 1 year ago
Speechwriter Tessa Craig is probably the most dedicated member of the reelect New York Congressman David Weyburn team because she enjoys being his discrete lover. However, during an aerobic exercise session at the Metropolitan Health Club, forty-three years old David collapses with Kelly Adonis the male instructor giving him CPR and saving his life. Rumors erupt that David is gay with Kelly as his male hunk lover. David¿s political manager decides he must stay sexually clean until the preference storm blows away so heeding that advice he severs his personal relationship with Tessa though he still wants her as his writer.--------------- Hurt by his choosing political expedience over her, Tessa decides to leave town with a trip to Dublin. There she meets kindhearted Star Trek aficionado fisherman Jamie Doyle. He soon falls in love with the American and shows her in many little ways how he feels so opposite of her David who never showed inner affection towards her. When her vacation ends, Tessa returns to the Big Apple but Jamie follows and crashes on her couch as he seeks employment and ultimately open a pub. However, as David keeps reappearing and vanishing David¿s mother arrives from Ireland to begin a campaign to rid her son of the Jew that holds his heart.--------------------- The moving of romance into the political world works quite nicely as heated issues like sexual preference and health make for a fine subplot. When the story line twists into Tessa running for her former boss¿ seat that stretches the believability of the audience as money, support, and preparations do not occur overnight for most people. Still the romance is top rate as Jamie constantly shows Tessa that he loves her even when his mom accompanied by his sister arrive to bring him home. Readers will enjoy this fine contemporary romance with its interesting political spin.------------------- Harriet Klausner