O'Rourke, Sally Smith
O'Rourke, Sally Smith
Married Michael O'Rourke (a writer; died, 2001). Education: Studied at Glendale Career College.
Writer and operating room nurse. City of Hope, Duarte, CA, operating room technician, 2005—.
The Maidenstone Lighthouse, Center Point (Thorndike, ME), 2008.
Christmas at Sea Pine Cottage, Kensington Books (New York, NY), 2008.
Sally Smith O'Rourke is a writer and an operating room nurse. Having studied at Glendale Career College, O'Rourke began working at Duarte, California's City of Hope hospital as an operating room technician in 2005. With assistance and inspiration from her late husband, Michael O'Rourke, who worked as a freelance medical writer, she began writing novels.
O'Rourke published her first novel, The Man Who Loved Jane Austen, in 2006. New York artist Eliza Knight finds a letter thought to be between Jane Austen and a real-life version of her leading male character in Pride and Prejudice. She quickly enlists the help of a researcher who is perhaps related to this man and both pursue uncovering the letter for their own purposes.
Sheri Melnick, reviewing the novel on the Romantic Times Online, called the account "mysterious yet romantic." Melnick also pointed out that "the presence of time-travel elements provides a twist to this unique read." Kathy Boswell, writing on the Best Reviews Web site, commented that "this book kept me entranced throughout," adding that the author's "rendition of who Mr. Darcy was totally had me hooked and had me anxious to see how she handled the telling of the entire story." Harriet Klausner, reviewing the novel on the same site as Boswell, concluded that readers "will appreciate this contemporary tale that looks closely at the life of Jane Austen while determining based on historical facts whether her Fitz truly lived." A reviewer writing on the Morsels of Peach Souffle Web site, found the time travel aspect "strange" but effective in making the story "interesting." The same reviewer, however, stated that "the romance that develops between Eliza and Darcy comes off a little contrived so it would fit neatly in this chick-lit." Booklist contributor Vanessa Bush observed that "O'Rourke alternates between the past and the present in this fascinating novel."
In 2008 O'Rourke published The Maidenstone Lighthouse. Susan Mark mourns the loss of her husband, Bobby, who vanished while flying across the Indian Ocean. Her business partner suggests she take some time off to heal and does so at her great aunt's house in Freedman's Cove, Rhode Island. There she learns about the ghost of one of her ancestors that frequents the house, and she gains a romantic interest in local painter Dan Freedman. When her business partner's plane also crashes, she realizes soon enough that it is no coincidence, without fully being able to gage her own safety.
Melnick, again writing on the Romantic Times Online, remarked that The Maidenstone Lighthouse is "well-crafted." Melnick commented that "coastal Rhode Island comes brilliantly alive" as the story culminates in "its gripping conclusion." A contributor to Publishers Weekly wrote: "Sweet, light, and as comforting as a mug of peppermint tea, O'Rourke's latest will please her fans." O'Rourke also published Christmas at Sea Pine Cottage in 2008.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, April 1, 2006, Vanessa Bush, review of The Man Who Loved Jane Austen, p. 20.
Publishers Weekly, July 30, 2007, review of The Maidenstone Lighthouse, p. 56.
Best Reviews Online,http://thebestreviews.com/ (April 11, 2006), Kathy Boswell, review of The Man Who Loved Jane Austen; (May 25, 2006), Harriet Klausner, review of The Man Who Loved Jane Austen.
City of Hope Web site,http://www.cityofhope.org/ (April 3, 2006), Shannon Flaherty, author profile.
Morsels of Peach Souffle Web site,http://peachsouffle.blogspot.com/ (July 31, 2008), review of The Man Who Loved Jane Austen.
Press Release Newswire Web site,http://www.prweb.com/ (May 6, 2006), author profile.
Romantic Times Online,http://www.romantictimes.com/ (July 31, 2008), Sheri Melnick, review of The Man Who Loved Jane Austen, and The Maidenstone Lighthouse.