I love reading about life in the White House- even if it is fiction, so Eighteen Acres by Nicolle Wallace was a title that I immediately flagged when I saw it in an issue of Booklist.
Eighteen Acres is centered around the presidency of Charlotte Kramer, the first female president. Told by Charlotte, as well as Melanie, one of her top advisers, and Dale a reporter who happens to be having an affair with Peter, The First Husband, this is an inside look at a very interesting White House.
Wallace is no stranger to political life. She has served as communications chief for George W. Bush’s White House and re-election campaign and was also as senior advisor for the McCain-Palin campaign in 2008. Because of the inside look she has had at White House life, I felt like I was reading a story with a fair amount of reality injected into it. And, unlike some other fictional White House stories, Wallace's own political leanings are not easily discerned in the story- something I also appreciated.
President Kramer's poll numbers are extremely low when Eighteen Acres begins. Re-election is a ways off, but as things stand, serving a second term seems unlikely. Her close advisor, Melanie, has devoted her life to politics, having been in the White House with three different presidents. Now, as Melanie looks ahead, she sees that she may be able to leave Washington and start her life fresh, finally being able to develop a personal life. And, Dale, an ambitious television reporter making her way in D.C., has fallen in love with Peter, the First Husband. Their affair is not a surprise as Peter and Charlotte's marriage has run its course, and is now a marriage of convenience.
As the plot continues to unfold, Charlotte's numbers take a surprising upward climb, and the idea of re-election no longer seems entirely unlikely. Peter and Dale's relationship becomes public knowledge, and Melanie must decide if she will put her career above her own personal life.
A bit of drama, a bit of suspense, and a very interesting look at the way life in the White House could be, this novel lived up to my expectations and then some.
Eighteen Acres is a great read - especially during this midterm election season.