Reviews for Brilliant Charming Bastard
Brilliant Charming Bastard is Stella’s novel about the power and sensuality of wise older women. First Wives Club meets The Witches of Eastwick in Brilliant Charming Bastard. When three women scientists discover they are dating the same lying dilettante, who is stealing their ideas as well as their hearts, the best revenge is getting rich. Brilliant Charming Bastard is hip romance for Boomers. Join author Stella Fosse on this sexy escapade through the San Francisco biotech scene.
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Review by Judith Stanton, author A Stallion to Die For
Classic revenge comedies include Sabrina to The First Wives Club to Kill Bill... well, that last one's not so funny. But almost every woman has her "somebody done somebody wrong song" and can identify. Brilliant Charming Bastard belongs in this emotionally satisfying tradition with a few new twists. First it enables, celebrates and avenges sexuality in older women when three women discover that they've been taken for a ride by the same brilliant charming man. Brendan Burns begins with a romantic onslaught of flattery, fine food and wine, and apparent adoration for each one. His clever deception includes promises of faithfulness to only one woman at a time and almost overweening respect for each one's intelligence and professional achievement -- Rose, the university biology professor, Maxine, a patent lawyer who's a partner in a top firm, and Joyce, a chemist in a pharmaceutical company. Turns out when Rose discovers that he's sending the same saccharine pompous emails to the other two women he was not only not a one-woman man but he was pumping each for information for an invention that would lead to using photosynthesis to power solar panels. To say anything more would be a spoiler, so let me talk about some of the other things I like about this brilliant charming revenge comedy. The plot is a wickedly funny rollercoaster ride, full of twists and turns and yet another surprise. And it's surprisingly easy to keep track of each woman's story in this book of multiple points of view. Salted in among the three feminist professionals and the cad they each fell for are also several admirable men, young and old, who love and support them at home and at work. The writing is stellar too—straightforward and efficient, but it especially shines when Stella Fosse takes on the scientific elements powering the newly formed partnership's solar panels.
You'll not only enjoy how smart the women's invention is, you will enjoy learning about some remarkable prospects coming down the pike for alternative green energy. Really. And you can't fault a book where characters deliver lines like: "Worry is the only thing that's improved by procrastination." Also, as a novelist myself, I'm a fan of super-short scenes -- half a page short or even shorter. Fosse deploys a number of these as she moves from one character's experiences to another. For me, they quietly make the story just speed along. But they also deliver a lot of punch. One thread throughout the book is when the scandal erupts and their unfolding story regularly hits the gossip column in the local tech rag Silicon News. Its revelations and speculations become juicier and juicier as the novel progresses. And here's another favorite short short scene: "When Rose stopped and stood back, she saw what a fool she had forced herself to be. When she stopped, it was a different neighborhood of self, a more spacious place. From that day on, Rose exercised every day. It was liberating to be freed from Brendan's couch, where she had spent many a weekend, sharing his torpor. It was liberating to have her own thoughts." I love the emotional efficiency here of Rose discovering "a different neighborhood of self," and I love it that it is "a more spacious place" for her. Even in the midst of scandal, conflict and setbacks, the reader is assured that the writer has control of her cast of characters and the outcome of their stories.
Becky Moore, Author of Mine By Design
Randi Devilkin, author of The Felix Fiasco
Maria Nieto, Professor and Author of the award winning novels, Pig Behind The Bear (2012) and The Water of Life Remains in the Dead (2015), and co-author of The Spectrum of Sex: The Science of Male, Female, and Intersex (2020)
In Brilliant Charming Bastard Stella Fosse has created a refreshing take on the tale of the “wronged woman.” And when the women showcased in Brilliant Charming Bastard are wronged, they respond as a single-minded tour de force. Fosse shows us that women standing strong together is not only possible, the outcome ensures no bastard stands a chance. Science stands tall in this tale where carbon-dioxide and oxygen serve as foreplay banter. If this was all Fosse offered it would be enough to lure the reader looking for an entertaining escape, but there is so much more to find in this treasure trove called a novel. Brilliant Charming Bastard is told against a backdrop where the desire to heal a crying planet suffering the effects of climate change burns with a passion that eclipses any sexual liaison. It’s easy to devour this witty, smart, and sexy feast, whether you are hungry or not.
Ruth O. Saxton, author of The Book of Old Ladies: Celebrating Women of a Certain Age
Set in the San Francisco bay area, this upbeat account of three women in their sixties who discover they are all enjoying the best sex of their lives with the same charming liar they met on a dating site leads to an unexpected and satisfying happy ending. Brilliant Charming Bastard introduces three accomplished women in their sixties who discover they are all enjoying hot and heavy sex with the same man. Their accounts provide the erotic center of the novel—rare in fiction about women their age—and they determine their revenge which results in a surprisingly happy ending that ties up all the loose ends.
— Ruth O. Saxton, author of The Book of Old Ladies: Celebrating Women of a Certain Age
Sally Bellerose, author of Fishwives
Female sexuality and aging are powerful forces as the brilliant charming bastard in Stella Fosse’s newest novel finds out. Three women, who are also scientists and boomers, discover they are dating the same man. Bad enough he is a thief of desire, he’s also stealing their intellectual property. There’s a sexy, smart, satisfying end. Humor, sexuality, science, and a post pandemic setting – yay