On the Same Page by N.D. Galland
Published by William Morrow, 304 pages, $16
The previous books authored by N.D. Galland have ranged from historical novels to a thriller, but the Martha’s Vineyard resident settles into the romantic comedy genre for her latest. Set in Galland’s hometown, On the Same Page centers on journalist Joanna Howes, who leaves a career in New York to care for her cranky Uncle Hank.
Finding herself financially strapped, Howes starts writing for both local newspapers: The Journal, which is more homey and caters to the island’s natives, and the Newes, which as the frisky name suggests is more upper class. She manages this journalistic infidelity by using different bylines and by hiding her relationship to her uncle, a growling member of the zoning board who wants to keep the island free of outsiders like Orion Smith. Called a Wash-Ashore since he’s not a dyed-in-the-island native, Smith is fighting for the right to use his helicopter there.
Howes, for all her complicity, comes across as deft and appealing. But the truth huddles dangerously close to the lies in her life. She also keeps her relationship to her uncle from Smith, who she grows excitingly closer to. Their flirtatious exchanges involve a wonderfully arch and witty repartee that recalls Shakespeare. But she’s running on dangerous terrain, being an “objective” reporter with connections to two men who are at odds with each other, while working for two rival papers. Ultimately, the way the two men evolve, revealing their hidden sides and stories, makes the suspense—and the resolution—gratifying.
From Page 276: “She did not want to go into the bakery. If an osprey had flown past offering to carry her away if she would just do him the courtesy of turning into his favorite fish, she would have gone with him. Anything was better than this imminent humiliation. At least, since they’d be in public, there would have to be a limit to his outrage.”