Reviews for Yellow Eyes of Crocodiles

Booklist Reviews 2013 November #1
In Pancol's riveting novel, an enormous best-seller in France, Josephine Cortes abruptly realizes she needs to get a grip on her unraveling life when her husband leaves her to start a crocodile farm in Kenya with his mistress. Left to raise two daughters--one sweet and loving, the other haughty and disdainful of her frumpy mother--on the barely-there salary of a researcher who specializes in the twelfth century, Jo hesitantly ponders her life and purpose. Despite the shock of the disintegration of her 16-year marriage, she still falls back on her lifelong habit of being the whipping girl for everyone else, from her coldly perfectionist mother, Henriette, to her selfish, sophisticated sister, Iris. She even agrees to a wild scheme to pen a twelfth-century romance that will funnel the money to her shrunken coffers but carry Iris' name on the cover. The story really takes off when the novel becomes a surprise hit, which opens up entirely new complications for everyone involved. Delicious morsels involving every family member compel attention in a title that will appeal to fans of Marian Keyes and Olivia Goldsmith. Copyright 2013 Booklist Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2013 June #1
As a knife accidentally slices into her wrist, Joséphine realizes she would be glad to simply slip away from her life. At that moment, Joséphine understands that her husband, Antoine, will never find work. He'll carry on with his mistress, and she'll have to put food on the table. As a medieval historian, her financial prospects are slim. Out of the blue, her chic sister, Iris, offers her a Faustian bargain: Write a novel set in her beloved 12th century, but allow Iris to claim authorship. Joséphine will get the money, but Iris will get the fame--the spotlight has always been Iris' preferred residence. Once a promising film student, Iris staggered everyone 10 years ago by marrying Phillipe, a staid French attorney, settling into a posh lifestyle and abandoning her ambition. So Joséphine sets to work. She's complemented by a richly drawn cast of supporting characters, including the darkly handsome Luca, whom she befriends at the library, and her haughty teenage daughter, Hortense, who alternates between disdainfully humiliating her mother and shamelessly wooing her wealthy Aunt Iris. Meanwhile, Marcel, Iris and Joséphine's stepfather, cavorts with his beloved secretary. And below the equator, Antoine manages a crocodile farm in Kenya, where he spends his evenings gazing into their hypnotic yellow eyes, looking for the answer to his problems. An international best-seller, this is the first of Pancol's novels to be translated into English and the first in a trilogy following Joséphine's family. Aside from introducing a few contrived plot twists, Pancol deftly manages the constellation of characters in a cleareyed, warmly funny tale. Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2013 September #2

The English translation of Pancol's runaway French bestseller is a satisfying Cinderella story. Middle-aged Joséphine has hit bottom: she's thrown out her husband for cheating with a younger woman and now must support their daughters on a researcher's salary while the rest of her wealthy family take jabs at her choices. Her teenage daughter, Hortense, emerges as a confident and driven sexual powerhouse who treats her dowdy mother with angry contempt. But Joséphine's socialite sister, Iris, has connections in the publishing world and proposes a bargain: Joséphine will use her knowledge of the 12th century to write a novel; the money will go to her and the credit to Iris. Pancol is at her most interesting when she writes about Joséphine's financial worries and the anxiety that hangs over the family; the giddy relief when money comes her way is delicious. Other elements are more formulaic--the highlighted hair, the gorgeous new lover, the best friend with secret reserves of wealth and a great deal of influence. The too-literal translation often doesn't make sense of French idioms (one likens Joséphine's stepfather to an "old toad on a matchbox"). But nevermind the toads; the stars are aligned in Joséphine's favor, and readers will stay with her until the glass slipper is firmly back on her foot. (Jan.)

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