BOOK CLUB: The Girl on the Page

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Author: John Purcell
ISBN: 9781460756973
RRP: $32.99
Publication Date: 24 September 2018
Publisher: Harper Collins
Copy: Courtesy of the Publisher

John Purcell is a book industry insider with two decades of experience under his belt from owning a secondhand bookshop to the Director of Books for Booktopia and a bestselling trilogy under a pseudonym.


Taking that industry knowledge and allowing it to, and I’m theorising here, inspire a fiction novel about writers, their work and he industry.

Amy Winston is a hot-shot young book editor who made it big by making an average thriller writer huge, but now she’s spiralling back down. Her latest assignment is to bring a literary great back into publication.

Amy arrives at the West London townhouse to collect a novel, and finds a literary couple with different ideas about the novel.

The Girl on the Page asks searching questions about integrity and ambition, greed and betrayal and ultimately delivers a story of the power of great literature.

I have seen some great reviews of this one and a lot of enthusiasm about the book, everyone seems to be loving it and I think I will really enjoy it. A selection of our members are also reading it and I can’t wait to hear what they think.

John Purcell can be found on Facebook, his Website and Twitter.

The Girl on the Page is available through Harper Collins, Angus and Robertson, Booktopia and where all good books are sold.

Thanks to Harper Collins 15 of our lucky Beauty and Lace Club Members will be reading The Girl on the Page so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments below. I can’t wait to read what they thought.

15 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: The Girl on the Page

  1. so thanks to Beauty and Lace and Harper Publishing i was able read The Girl on the Page and here is my review.

    Meet Amy. She is a talented editor involved in the world of book publishing. she became big in the publishing world when she helped an average author become a huge hit.
    a big drinker, straight talker, sex addict, avid reader and a successful editor who is suddenly finding life is not going as she had planned.
    Amy is given an assignment to collect a finished manuscript from Helen Owen. Helen has been an author for many years and needs to provide a finished manuscript to justify the big advance received from her publisher. Helen is married to Malcolm Taylor who has just been long listed for the manbooker prize.

    They are at odds with each other since Helen received the big advance and their once connected relationship is now disintegrating .

    Amy thinks that this might be a simple assignment to collect a manuscript to save her job but what actually occurs is a collision of misery and tragedy.

    This book was a great read. If you don’t like sex then don’t read it. notwithstanding the sex scenes its an appreciation of literature from two different generations and a glimpse into the cut throat/backstabbing world of publishing.

    I look forward to further books from this Author.

  2. This book was so different from what I have read lately!!
    It’s been a couple of days since I finished it and I am still unsure how to review it..
    The main character is Amy Winston. She is a successful editor with loads of cash to splash. She also is borderline alcoholic, a sex addict, and has no reservations in telling it how it is.
    Amy is given the task of helping out a very well known author, Helen Owen. Amy needs to collect a finished manuscript from Helen after she’s been given a seven-figure advance from her publisher.
    Helen is married to Malcolm, together they have one estranged son, Daniel.
    Malcolm is also a great writer and has just been shortlisted for the Man Booker prize. Helen and Malcolm’s relationship is put under strain following her advance, and it isn’t long before Amy is thrown into their world and faces the biggest challenge she has ever had to deal with.
    Amy’s character was something I struggled with throughout the story. She is quite full-on, with destructive behaviours, but by the end of the novel, I warmed to her.
    I totally wasn’t expecting what played out, the ending is quite tragic, and touches on some pretty serious topics, and it is a very thought-provoking novel.. There is a lot of sex throughout the story, it is rather saucy and sometimes thrown into quite random scenes, so if this isn’t your thing then maybe skip it.
    Thanks to Beauty & Lace and Harper Collins for the opportunity to read and review.

  3. The Girl on the Page by John Purcell is a character driven novel focused on the publishing industry. It gripped me from the very beginning and I didn’t want to put it down. I fell in love with Amy Winston – the bad girl of publishing, with a reputation for taking a good author and turning them into a bestseller. Amy says she loves “books, clothes, sex. And champagne. Four constants. And money. Five constants.” And those constants feature in the book.

    Amy reminded me of Lisbeth Salandar, although after I finished the book, I read the author say she was actually inspired by Amy Winehouse, and I can see that too. I still enjoyed picturing her as Lisbeth, another character I adored getting to know.

    So much happens in this book, and the characters are all richly portrayed (just none intrigued me as much as Amy). That said, at times I wondered how I would categorise the book – what was the genre? And the narration flipped from Amy’s first person to the third person, which could annoy some readers. Nevertheless, I loved reading every page of this book.

    If you like reading and the nature of publishing, you’ll enjoy this book! If you enjoy rich characters, and the interactions between them, you’ll enjoy this book! Actually, if you enjoy reading about books, clothes, sex, champagne and money, I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy this book!

    The book concludes with lists of books recommended by the ‘characters’ in the story. Brilliant! I laughed my way through my list, and was thrilled to see Amy’s recommendation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, making me think my view of her as Lisbeth Salander may not be completely off base.

    Thanks to Beauty and Lace and Harper Collins for a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

  4. Thank you for the opportunity to read “The Girl on the Page” by John Purcell. This is a book I would not normally read, and I probably would not have finished it, except that I was committed to review it.
    The author is an expert in the field of books and literature. He has written other books under a pseudonym., was Director of books at Booktopia, and had a second hand book store for many years. He has used this experience to craft this novel.
    The main character, Amy is a successful editor and ghost writer. She is also a addicted to alcohol, sex, impulse buying and money.
    Helen is a well respected author who has been given a huge cash advance for her unfinished book. She has spent the money and now does not want to publish her work. Amy has been told to edit the book.. Her husband, Malcolm has been nominated for the Miles Franklin award.
    The story is rather dark and also, for me, difficult to follow. I will quote Malcolm “there is uphill and downhill reading….. readers will do both in their reading lives. Most will tend to favour downhill reading. It is thrilling to race headlong through a book. Uphill reading is more taxing and requires a certain amount of humility. We need to understand we won’t always enjoy or even understand all we read………” I think I am a downhill reader and found this to complex for me.
    At the end of the book the author adds recommended reading from each of the main characters. These lists are very clever and amusing.

  5. Ive taken a few days after finishing this book to write my review as I had mixed emotions while reading and after. I needed to sort them out!

    Firstly, at the start and the first few chapters I was well, shocked! This is setting the tone of the book.

    Then I became bored. And put the book down. Then I thought I need to persevere with this and get a review done, I literally forced myself to read it.

    Then the action started and I couldn’t put it down! What a rollercoaster ride. I began to like this new Amy we were seeing, she was improving her life and didn’t know why she was or what changed to make her that way. But we could all see it.

    I also didn’t quite believe the way ( without spoiling it) what happened to Helen occurred, the result yes, that I can understand just not the method.

    Ultimately I believe this book was about choices of those following the few. I also think that a lot of readers will get lost with the many references to literature is it/isn’t it.

    But thank you for letting me review it, certainly different to my usual reading material.

  6. The Girl on The Page by John Purcell and published by @Harper Collins is a powerful, very readable story, which really does re-confirm why books can be your salvation and how compromising your ideals can come at great personal cost. I laughed and cried, was shocked and bemused, needless to say I thoroughly enjoyed it.

    On its surface the story is about Amy, a hot shot, heavy drinking young editor with a questionable approach to life and a keen appetite for casual sex. She is brought in by her publishing house M&R to try and get a ‘best seller’ out of aging literary great, Helen Owen, who has been advanced a hefty sum of money for her yet to be published new work. The trouble is Helen’s husband, the author and critic Malcolm Taylor, considers it to be a sell out of Helen’s intellectual integrity, and is staging his own quiet protest… And without Malcolm’s support Helen has started to doubt her own intentions.

    This story is very obviously written by a publishing industry insider. It uncovers blunt truths about different book genres, the ways books are written (ghost writers, re-writes, version controls etc), the battles between contemporary or ‘popular’ writers and ‘literary’ writers, the lure of writing a money making best seller, and the sacrifices that are made along the way.

    A thought provoking and clever book with very real and engaging characters. The Girl on The Page tells an entertaining but moving story whilst revealing interesting insights into the literary world, and probing what it is that constitutes intellectual and artistic integrity. Highly recommended.

  7. The Girl on The Page is the story of Amy, a editor whom edits only the best books. Amy is young, free and has an alcohol problem but doesn’t care in the slightest.

    Until she meets Helen and Malcolm, Amy is called in to make Helen’s next novel a hit instead Amy finds a couple that she comes to love and cherish which puts a spanner in the works with Amy’s feelings.

    The Girl on the Page is a great novel with insights into struggling authors and standards.

    I enjoyed it and found the ending to be very touching and a great ending. I will be keeping an eye out for John Purceli’s future work.

  8. Thank you for the opportunity to read this book.

    As previous reviewers have said, it’s a tricky one to review. It’s very different but I thought that this was a good thing.

    The characters were well written and believable. I loved Amy, what a character.

    All in all, I enjoyed this book and would look John Purcell books again.

  9. Thank you to Beauty and Lace and Harper Collins for allowing me to review “The Girl on the Page” by John Purcell.

    To be honest I was quite worried about reviewing this one as I did struggle to read it.

    Amy Winston is a talented, young, hot editor who drinks too much, comes across as a sex addict, not afraid to say how it is and is loaded with cash from a very successful career. She is also a co- author to the popular Jack Cade novels. She is given the challenge to make good authors into bestsellers.

    Her next job is to get Helen Owens to produce a promised manuscript to the Publishers who have given her a substantial advance payment. Helen does not want to publish her work and it is up to Amy to make this happen. It sure tests Amy at times but I also feel it wakes her up to what is really important in life.

    Helen is married to another long time successful author Malcolm Taylor. Malcolm has been listed for the Man Booker for his book “A Hundred Ways”. They have one estranged son, Daniel. Helen and Malcolm’s relationship is put under a lot of pressure after she received her advance and they really become quite estranged themselves.

    I found Amy’s character to be an interesting one and I liked reading her. I didn’t expect the ending of the book though. The last few pages have a nice touch to listing books and authors that would relate to each character of the book.

  10. Unfortunately I was not a real fan of this book which is sad as I was really looking forward to it!

    I’m a little confused about it as I really liked the character Amy and found it easy reading about her but when it came to Helen and Malcolm I felt it a little long winded and Daniel, well he just completly lost me and I do actually wonder if his character was even needed.

    To me it was almost as if the book was written by two people. It felt a little disjointed and just didn’t seem to flow right. It wasn’t the page turner I was expecting!

    I am glad others enjoyed it though!

    Thanks to Beauty and Lace and Harper Collins for the chance to read and review this book.

  11. Loved it. A heart-warming, quirky, darkly humorous and heart-breaking story that has stuck with me for weeks. John Purcell has that dry wittiness I’ve come to associate with the Brits so I was surprised to learn he is Australian (especially with the novel being based in London, the background was done in such a natural way I never guessed like I can with other authors that they are writing outside their location). I’ve already recommended The Girl on the Page to family and friends.

  12. Thanks for the chance to review this book HarperColins and Beauty and Lace- it sounded just like my kind of thing, and in parts it was, and it parts it lost me a bit. I rate it 3/5 a fun read if you do not mind some explicit sex that has absolutely nothing to do with love or relationships. Amy is such a bad girl, and the writing, and the obsession, the excess drinking and basically manipulation of men, was a character you wanted to know more about just to see what she would do next. And I do love a few naughty bits but the overt sex seemed to detract from what was a good read. I did get a bit lost after I put it down and then picked it up again. I kind of loved to hate Amy, but she was a real character and the story is good, I really liked the kinks and turns with Helen and Malcom, and the passions over writing, the challenges over publishing. I would recommend you try it for fun-Amy is outrageous!

  13. A great modern edgy book. Thank you to the publisher Harper Colins and Beauty and Lace. I enjoyed the book and the dip into the strange and tense world of publishing. Amy is a wild child, and I found her a bit embarrasing at the start but then I did get more used to her character. The other characters I liked more and could follow through the ups and downs of the publishing. I would give it a 4/5-its a hoot!

  14. The Girl on the Page is a page turning, fast paced, dark comedy packed with superb characters that struggle with relationships and ambition. It is humorous and thought provoking and compels you to read it until the very end. Highly recommend.

  15. Hello, and sorry for the delay doing this review-I struggled to get into this book-I had to have a few attempts.

    There are 3 main characters, a hard working, hard living editor, who makes very ordinary authors spectacular.
    There is also Helen and Malcolm, husband and wife writers, who have unusual personalities, and struggle to write at times.

    What follows is hard to believe and understand-an unusual book, but well worth the read!

    If you get the opportunity to read, just do it-you wont be sorry!

    Thanks for the opportunity to do the review

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