Laura and Charlie Rider own and run Prairie Wind Farm in rural Wisconsin, with Laura ruling and delegating, and Charlie obliging along. While she is planting and pruning, Laura Rider listens to Jenna Faroli of the famous Jenna Faroli Radio Show and dreams of writing a romance novel. She envisions Jenna simultaneously as a teacher, a confidante, and the heroine of her book. Charlie's chance encounter with Jenna on the side of the road is the turning point, and Laura sees it as a chance to understand what makes Jenna tick. Together, Charlie and Laura begin corresponding with Jenna via e-mails that are at first friendly, but become increasingly intimate. Jenna's interest is at first a surprise, but pretty soon they are all crossing lines they never thought they'd cross.
I ran through a gamut of feelings while reading Laura Rider's Masterpiece by Jane Hamilton. My initial thoughts were that the characters were just weird, plain and simple. There were too introspective, too I-believe-in-aliens-and-think-my-cats-have-human-like-lives. Delving deeper into the book, I became interested as to how their lives would turn out, as to how they would ever escape their self-made messes. Finally, I thought of how unlikeable the characters were. Usually, there is at least one that I sympathize with or root for; Laura Rider's Masterpiece had none. All were either manipulative and selfish, or aloof and out of touch with reality, or hypocritical and arrogant.
That said I did enjoy the book, and more so after the first twenty pages. At first it was almost too dreamy too be enjoyable, but it eventually moved along into an interesting look at the characters' motivations. Each was scheming to reach his or her objective, and I do not believe anyone actually did.