Wife for Hire, Macmillan (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), 2003.
Almost Perfect, Macmillan (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), 2004, Berkley Books (New York, NY), 2006.
False Advertising, Macmillan (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), 2007.
Australian writer Dianne Blacklock is the author of several novels of love and friendship set in her native country. Two of them, the debut novel Call Waiting and Almost Perfect, have also been published in the United States. Blacklock's 2002 Call Waiting is a "funny, fresh, and fast-paced novel," according to Booklist contributor Neal Wyatt. Featuring two long-time friends in Sydney, Australia, Meg and Ally, the novel finds them in their mid-thirties with their lives not exactly on the track they had earlier imagined for themselves. While married, Meg gets involved with another man, and Ally tries to find her own happiness beyond her job and listless lover. Soon the two tales interconnect, with the old friends finding new meaning in their friendship. Wyatt felt Call Waiting was the sort of book "that friends will recommend to each other." A Kirkus Reviews critic was less impressed with the effort, terming it "lackluster chicklit from Down Under," with "derivative dialogue, trite plot, [and] a big ho-hum." More positive, however, was the assessment of a Publishers Weekly reviewer who noted, "Lively, always believable dialogue and vivid descriptions of Sydney and the surrounding countryside give the pleasantly predictable plot some added oomph." Similarly, Sheri Melnick, writing on the Romantic Times Online, concluded, "Touching and witty, this first effort by Blacklock is sure to ensure her a place in the hearts of many readers." Angela McQuay, reviewing the same novel on the Best Reads Web site, termed Call Waiting "an amusing story of two women who've wandered down some wrong paths" as well as "a touching book about people searching for meaning and the place where they belong."
Blacklock's second novel, not published in the United States, was Wife for Hire, about Sam, a woman who has lost her husband and now makes a career out of being the perfect wife of others—for a price. Sam hires herself out to busy professionals, both men and women, who do not have the time or energy for such wifely duties as shopping or paying the bills. With a chip on her shoulder since her husband left her, Sam is not ready for Hal, who presents challenges, both professional and private, for her. Writing on Aussie Reviews.com, Sally Murphy found this second book "great reading."
Blacklock's third novel, Almost Perfect, looks at the ups and downs of the marital and sexual lives of Anna and Georgie. Married for seven years, Anna and her husband, Mac, have struggled with infertility, and the battle is wearing them out. Meanwhile Georgie, who owns a bookstore, is on the lookout for the right man and thinks, for a time, that she has found the perfect one in Liam. Booklist contributor Patty Engelmann found this an "affecting tale of love and coping with ambiguity [that] is realistic and thought-provoking."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, January 1, 2003, Neal Wyatt, review of Call Waiting, p. 843; August 1, 2006, Patty Engelmann, review of Almost Perfect, p. 38.
Kirkus Reviews, December 15, 2002, review of Call Waiting, p. 1783.
Publishers Weekly, January 27, 2003, review of Call Waiting, p. 232.
AussieReviews.com,http://www.aussiereviews.com/ Sally Murphy, (July 1, 2007), review of Wife for Hire.
Best Reviews,http://www.thebestreviews.com/ (March 10, 2003), Harriet Klausner, review of Call Waiting; (April 26, 2003), Angela McQuay, review of Call Waiting.
Romance Reader,http://www.theromancereader.com/ (July 1, 2007), review of Call Waiting.
Romantic Times,http://www.romantictimes.com/ (July 1, 2007), Sheri Melnick, review of Call Waiting, Leslie L. McKee, review of Almost Perfect.