Independently Published (2018)
Reviewed by Carol Hoyer for Reader Views (06/19)
“Sycophants” by Linda Gould finds readers empathizing with Imogene Wittier, a small-town girl aspiring to be a famous Hollywood writer in a dead-end atmosphere. While putting her husband through law school, Imogene runs into her former college roommate Sara, who is back in town to establish a film production company.
Imogene jumps at the chance to work with Sara in what might be the most adventurous and problematic film ever. She becomes Sara’s confidante and assistant in an ambitious movie project about a youth revolution that threatens to engulf the nation’s capital. As the cast expands and the script evolves, the storyline flirts dangerously with reality. The filmmakers can’t predict whether the project will make their fortunes or shatter their lives.
I found the plot to be captivating with a full range of characters who show their true selves once they drop their public masks. The author piques readers interest when she chooses to have two dueling ministers staging a protest and trying to sabotage the filming to get their way. With excellent narratives from the characters, the author delivers detailed, sometimes tricky interpersonal relationships involving family and close friends.
Gould provides engaging insight into ruthless work relationships, with Sara’s office personnel, whom she trusts, stealing script ideas and presenting them as their own, not to mention some behind closed doors sexual affairs. As many of us can relate, it is a dog-eat-dog world, and some will do whatever is necessary to achieve their goal. I did have to laugh at the musical chairs theme about who would act as a receptionist while chaos runs amuck. Having worked in an environment where chaos reigns, it brought back vivid memories.
It was a turbulent time in America with the political undercurrents and anti-war feelings, and I felt the author touched on those feelings adequately in her writing. I found Gould’s portrayal of her characters with all their flaws to be realistic and many readers will relate to the characters.
Overall, I would recommend “Sycophants,” as Linda Gould provides a lot of action and many twists with political turmoil, drama and facing challenges while trying to maintain relationships.