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Karen Wicks
Twisted Silver Spoons
Karen Wicks, author
The silver spoon lodged in George's throat was choking the life out of him. The obsessive need for power and control of a global empire overshadows the Leibnitz family. Favored heir George struggles to reconcile the person he could become with the ruthless leader he is expected to be. A new world emerges when he meets the captivating M. On his journey, we find intrigue, betrayal, and mortal danger lurking behind the most unlikely doors. In Twisted Silver Spoons by Karen Wicks, we experience the inner and outer struggle of a protagonist who defies expectations to find his voice and become his own man.
“The silver spoon lodged in George’s throat was choking the life out of him,” Wicks writes in the prologue to her debut, a novel that finds the scion of a family of immeasurable wealth and power uncertain that he has it in him to take the reins of his inheritance, a business empire that demands ruthless leadership. In the mid 1980s, as he’s being groomed to run Leibnitz Enterprises, young George wishes to be something more than a “marionette bending to his father’s will,” especially since he suspects that his father of possibly intentionally triggering the death of his father, the family patriarch, in 1968. His family history shaped by scandal and tragedy, the indecisive George seems to find some direction when tasked with learning the ropes of the family business in Manhattan–and when he makes the acquaintance of Marianne, a singer and NYU doctoral student.

Wicks invests great empathy and compelling detail in her portrait of a princeling who bristles at donning a crown. George stammers, bristles at his father and cousin’s ideas of strength, cocks up his bar exam, and consults for long dialogue scenes with a therapist who is eager to emphasize the story’s themes: “Are you feeling trapped in some notion of who someone has said you should be and you’ve been found wanting?” The Leibnitz milieu of globe-straddling wealth is persuasive and alluring, even as George considers bucking it. Still, as Wicks teases out a succession of secrets and betrayals and private-jet excursions, she keeps her focus on George and Marianne’s hearts.

The relationships among the ensemble cast are interesting, with family members scheming, sometimes cruelly, for power. Revelations, confrontations, and fractious meetings and soirees power the novel’s compelling back half, as a true villain emerges, but the set-up chapters tend to showcase characters talking about the themes and relationships rather than dramatize them. Still, fans of the fiction of dynasties will find much here that’s lively, surprising, and ultimately hopeful.

Takeaway: A young man dares to find himself and fall in love in the face of his scheming wealthy family.

Great for fans of: Cristina Alger’s The Darlings, Susan Rieger’s The Heirs.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A-
Marketing copy: A