The Blooming of John Musgrave by Robert Burke

Neurotic author meets beguiling temptress. Chaos follows.

John Musgrave is content with his life - or so he thinks. A successful author of crime fiction, he lives a solitary life in the Dublin suburbs, churning out blockbusters and tending to his beloved garden. However, frustrated by the lack of critical acclaim for his work, he embarks on a project to produce a more literary tome.

An encounter at his latest book launch with the intriguing Anna Stilerova - a writer of racy erotica - stirs suppressed passions and throws his life into turmoil. And when his childhood friend Josephine begins a relationship with arch-critic David Lenihan, their friendship is threatened.

As salacious accounts of his newfound celebrity begin to appear in the tabloid press, his uneasy relationship with his curmudgeonly father deteriorates further. And at the promptings of his philandering brother Liam, he begins on his most daunting endeavour yet - the search for love.

As his persistence with his new literary direction leads to conflict with his publisher, and his love life - or lack of it - becomes more frustrating and complicated, where will it lead? All will be revealed as John documents it all in his never-to-be-seen diary...


  • Classification: Moderate
  • Work is: Extract only on Authonomy
  • First submitted July 8, 2009
  • Last updated July 8, 2009
The Blooming of John Musgrave
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  • On 1 bookshelf

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  • riantorr's avatar
    riantorr wrote 3 years, 5 months ago

    Chaos is always good for fiction,

    Rian Torr
    New London Masquerade

  • meddina's avatar
    meddina wrote 3 years, 5 months ago

    Great book that I found interesting from the first chapter onward. I like the characters andquickly fell into step with the pacing. It was your long pitch that drew me to the book originally, that makes me think it's well written as well.

  • Retired user
    Andrew Burans wrote 5 years, 4 months ago

    A finely crafted and well written story. You do a great job in exploring John's inner angst and self doubts. Your use of imagery is excellent and your character development is solid. Backed with pleasure.

    Andrew Burans
    The Reluctant Warrior: THe Beginning

  • Pecos's avatar
    Pecos wrote 5 years, 4 months ago

    Great idea for a novel with just the right pace. Happy to back!

  • Retired user
    Sheila Belshaw [Retired] wrote 5 years, 4 months ago


    I don't think I've ever read such a fascinating pitch. You couldn't possibly have taken this straight from life. Or could you? It almost had me green with envy . . .

    So many truths in this, and not always with tongue in cheek.

    Excellent writing. Great dialogue that jumps off the page, and prose that belongs in a best selling novel.

    Backed with the greatest of pleasure.

    Sheila Mary Taylor (Pinpoint)

  • A Knight's avatar
    A Knight wrote 5 years, 4 months ago

  • lisawb's avatar
    lisawb wrote 5 years, 5 months ago

    Engaging start, it comes across as authentic and John is a great character. The end of chapter 3 shows he has empathy for his Mum and a dry sense of humour from the way he perceives the conversation with his Dad and brother. As the book is about an author we can all relate to him a little, and we want him to find a companion. A light read which is enjoyable.



  • Aimee Fry's avatar
    Aimee Fry wrote 5 years, 5 months ago
    I'm sure the majority of Writer/Readers will love your opening line. It hooks anyone interested in this business immediately. I also really liked the line ' The thought of being cooped up in a room full of simpering, sycophantic backslappers for a whole evening fills me with the kind of dread usually reseved for dental appointments.' - Very funny! I suppose the only advice (in my opinion) would be to read through your chapters again and single out the words ...
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  • Famlavan's avatar
    Famlavan wrote 5 years, 5 months ago
    The Blooming of John Musgrove Author’s neurotic, who said that?? When did they say it??? (Plus all the rest). You have a great easy style to your writing, something you would recognise no matter what the storyline was. You develop John so well it is so easy to engage with him. And Anna what can be said (that’s as far as I’ve got at present). This is a very enjoyable book; this will be my saviour if I get all ...
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  • Mooderino's avatar
    Mooderino wrote 5 years, 5 months ago
    The writing is good and reads very well. I found some of the said bookisms (chortled, spluttered (twice), insisted etc.) a little distracting and some of the exposition stuck out (He's the foremost literary critic..., I know he's given you some negative reviews..., Since i am also published my Manley Spencer...). Although the dialogue is generally very good, those moments when characters explain things to each other felt unnatural. The story of an author doing author-things didn't immediately capture my ...
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  • RichardBard's avatar
    RichardBard wrote 5 years, 5 months ago

    This is a very engaging read with likeable characters and a good pace. Smooth flowing and light-hearted. I liked it. Richard Bard, BRAINRUSH

  • Retired user
    Cully [Retired] wrote 5 years, 5 months ago
    Anytime anyone "chuckles" or "chortles" or anything like that it can become distracting a bit. Maybe a personal opinion, but I'd have little to critique in there but for that word. But once you get into the dialogue, it's interesting. You're providing tension between the narrator and the critic, and it's good stuff. I wouldn't make him "shudder." Shuddering is when someone gets the heebee jeebies (sic), is cold, etc. Have Josephine do something other than "splutter." I like that ...
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  • SusieGulick's avatar
    SusieGulick wrote 5 years, 5 months ago

    Thanks for your story, Robert. Hope you'll read mine, He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not & my unedited version, Tell Me True Love Stories of He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not.
    Please back my TWO books.Thanks, Susie :)

  • jammer's avatar
    jammer wrote 5 years, 5 months ago

    A very confident voice here, that informed my reading and I got to the end of the first chapter without any major criticisms to make - well done.

  • lionel25's avatar
    lionel25 wrote 5 years, 5 months ago

    Robert, your first two chapters are professionally written. Nothing to nitpick there.

    Happy to back your work.

    Joffrey (The Silver Spoon Effect)

  • Retired user
    Burgio [Retired] wrote 5 years, 5 months ago

    This is a clever idea for a story: a crime novelist keeping a daily journal. John is likable right from the start. Readers can quickly identify with his worries. The fact that his father and brother are not supportive add a lot to the story. Your writing style is good for this. I was convinced a well known author was keeping this journal. Backed. Burgio (Grain of Salt).

  • MKEthridge's avatar
    MKEthridge wrote 5 years, 6 months ago

    I skipped to chapters 4-6 since I know many people start at the beginning. I love John's compulsions (having a few of my own)! Your writing is tight and and engaging. Happily backed!

  • Soap's avatar
    Soap wrote 5 years, 6 months ago

    I like your protagonist, and you have an easy style to read. Galloped through to Ch4 and will be back to read more.

  • Retired user
    Esrevinu [Retired] wrote 5 years, 6 months ago

    You have created an opening chapter that is both intriguing and cleaver
    I am impressed with your level of writing; you certainly have a gift for descriptive writing
    You are a great storyteller and I wish you all the best
    The Esrevinu Chronicles/Secrets of the Elephant Rocks

  • Retired user
    Francesco wrote 5 years, 6 months ago

    Intriguing premise carried on a silky smooth road of prose
    A look at mine would be appreciated.
    Frank, Sicilian Shadows