Review of WHAT I DID FOR LOVE by Susan Elizabeth Phillips (see her website)
William Morrow, January 2009
Georgie York is desperate. Dumped by her husband for another woman, featured in her third successive flop of a movie, and chased by papparazi, she decides her best plan is to marry a friend who happens to be gay. But that plan goes sour when her friend no-shows for a lunch date and sexy Bram Shepard shows up in his place. Bram is sexy all right, but he's also the man who played her co-star and love interest in Georgie's super-successful child-star days...the man who ruined the show and has done nothing but self-destruct since.
When Bram follows her to Las Vegas, they're the victims of drugged drinks...and wake up married. It's a disaster, from Georgie's perspective, but she calls on Scooter, the upbeat character she played, and finds the silver lining. If the tabloids can be persuaded she's fallen for Bram, they'll leave off picturing her as the anguished and abandoned woman.
Bram, it turns out, has some plans of his own and these require that he polish up his badly tarnished reputation. Hooking up with the woman whose life he basically destroyed is a positive step. Then again, there's the sexual attraction that was there even when the two hated one another.
I'm afraid, author Susan Elizabeth Phillips (see more BooksForABuck.com reviews of novels by Phillips) seems to be going through the motions on this one. Phillips's talent for character development comes through with the hard-nosed and damaged Chaz, but Georgie and Bram don't really flesh out or grow through the book. Georgie insists on seeing the worst in Bram no matter how often he proves that he's a different person, while Bram doesn't seem to have any particular reason for his anger with Georgie. Phillips's strong writing held my attention and kept me reading, but even that couldn't make up for the fundamental lack of real conflict and the need to manufacture a substitute.
I'm a huge fan of Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Phillips has a habit of taking unusual characters, people who we don't like and are sure we will continue not to like, only to transform them...and us. This time, she gives us a perky and rich celebrity who's self-absorbed and stays that way, and a reformed bad-boy who is, well, reformed.
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