Literary Fiction

Woman of the Hour – Jane Lythell

21 May 2019
Woman of the Hour Book Cover Woman of the Hour
Jane Lythell
Head of Zeus
July 14, 2016

Meet Liz Lyon: respected TV producer, stressed-out executive, guilty single mother.

StoryWorld is the nation's favourite morning show, and producer Liz Lyon wants to keep it that way. Her job is to turn real-life stories into thrilling TV – and keep a lid on the scandals and backbiting that happen off-stage.

But then simmering tensions erupt at the station, trapping Liz in a game of one-upmanship where she doesn't know the rules. As the power struggle intensifies, can Liz keep her cool and keep her job? Does she even want to?

In this gripping novel of power, rivalry and betrayal, Jane Lythell draws on her experiences of working in the glamorous, pressurised world of live TV.


Woman of the Hour is a highly entertaining and revealing peek into the world of live television and the struggles to maintain a career, whilst also managing a home life with a typical teenage daughter. Liz Lyon is Head of Features at StoryWorld TV and a single mum to Flo, after her marriage to Ben ended in divorce. Liz’s life seems to be in constant turbulence, with challenges coming from many angles in work and at home. It is very easy to connect with Liz and her enduring character is really interesting and resilient.

The story is full of surreptitious skulking around, influencing the powers that may hold the opportunity to career advancement. It also paints a fascinating picture of the egotistical and duplicitous nature of celebrities and how they play the wholesome image for the camera while treating staff with disdain. It’s probably a really bad perception I have of the media industry, and maybe it’s only fuelled because there are already so many stories to read of underhanded dealings and back-stabbing incidents among apparent colleagues. Of course, other industries experience office politics but the allure towards fame and fortune seems to increase the narcissism. Some are genuine friends and some the pursuit of glamour and glitz is so overwhelming, friendships can be discarded very easily. The television industry is clinical and brutal – viewing results mean everything and you’re only ever judged on your last piece. Behind the scenes, office politics can be just as bloody, and a conceited and domineering boss brings a culture that is toxic.

Jane Lythell delivers a wonderful story that manages all these major issues with authenticity and direction. This is an easy read and the story flows effortlessly through the narrative and dialogue with plot twists and surprises that are emotionally charged. 

I read this book in preparation for Behind Her Back, which was a request from the author, Jane Lythell. I do appreciate variety in my reading but this genre isn’t one I step into very often, however, this was an enjoyable experience that will have me considering more of these books. I would recommend this book.

Peter Donnelly

Founder of The Reading Desk, supporting readers, authors, publishers and book industry. Top Reviewer on Amazon, Goodreads, and NetGalley

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