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Monday, February 23, 2009

What I Did for Love by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

What I Did For Love by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Publisher: Harper Collins
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full (401 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 Books
Review by: Xeranthemum

How did this happen? Georgie York, once the costar of America's favorite television sitcom, has been publicly abandoned by her famous husband, her film career has tanked, her father is driving her crazy, and her public image as a spunky heroine is taking a serious beating.

What should a down-on-her-luck actress do? Not go to Vegas . . . not run into her detestable former costar, dreamboat-from-hell Bramwell Shepard . . . and not get caught up in an ugly incident that leads to a calamitous elopement. Before she knows it, Georgie has a fake marriage, a fake husband, and maybe (or not) a fake sex life.
It's a paparazzi free-for-all, and Georgie's nonsupporting cast doesn't help. There's Bram's punk-nightmare housekeeper, Georgie's own pushy parent, a suck-up agent, an icy studio head with a private agenda, and her ex-husband's new wife, who can't get enough of doing good deeds and saving the world—the bitch. As for Georgie's leading man, Bram's giving the performance of his life, but he's never cared about anyone except himself, and it's not exactly clear why.

Two enemies find themselves working without a script in a town where the spotlight shines bright . . . and where the strongest emotions can wear startling disguises.

If you enjoy character driven romance stories about unrequited young love, second chances and the lunacy of adult hang-ups mixing up the whole enchilada, then What I Did for Love delivers it with fun, mayhem and passion.

Georgie York has a lot going for her, and much more yanking the rug from under her. She’s been living her life dealing with ancient history; when she wore her heart on her sleeve and had it torn right off. For many people that could be a crippling event, for others a character strengthening trauma and for others it could be a combination of the two. I’d say Georgie was a combination of the two. She’s grown and yet she hasn’t. I found this story to be about a woman who had it all, but never by her own merit. For all the glitz and glamour, I don’t think she grew up until she faced adversity –- on the most personal level. The reader gets to enjoy the roller coaster of Georgie’s wake up call to self-awareness, destiny and her push-pull realization of what adult love demands from a person. It was interesting to see what made Georgie tick –- and what ticked her off.

Bram ticks her off. Oh boy, does he ever! You know what they say don’t you? There’s a fine line between hate and love. What I Did for Love explores that in all its hilarious possibilities and frustrations. Bram is from Georgie’s past and that is where she wants him to stay...only fate, in the name of our author, Ms. Phillips, has a sense of humor when it comes to male/female relationships. The author put Bram through his paces where at one point you agree with Georgie, he’s a jerk. Then you realize there is more to Bram than the reader or the heroine suspects. It’s his character growth, the bad boy reformed scenario, which is truly the gem that completes the jeweled setting in this story.

The secondary characters--and there is quite the cast--incite, tantalize, browbeat, inspire and discombobulate Bram and Georgie as they slog through misperceptions about each other, revelations about the people they thought they knew and the realization that true love is a bumpy but real thing between them.

My only cringe comes from something very small and inconsequential--the constant use of the word "paps" for the paparazzi. It irritated me but by the same token, I guess it could be said that they ARE irritating especially when they’re in your face all the time. If the author’s intent was to showcase that, then she succeeded perfectly.

What I Did for Love is a story filled with messy human emotions which act like a trial by fire. If a couple’s love can grow and survive after all of that, then it can stand up to time. The writing is brisk, the dialogue insightful and witty and the happily-ever-after has the most adorable ending which ties up loose ends, brings warmth to your heart and leaves you with a goofy smile.