Beyond the Boardroom
Beyond the Boardroom is the culmination of the year-long Elliotts continuity series, but don’t expect great fanfare here. Maybe that’s not such a bad thing. The book isn’t over-run by past couples (in fact, barely any show up), and the focus is definitely on the hero and heroine. So while it may be a bit anti-climactic, it’s not a bad read.
Rachel Adler has worked as Shane Elliott’s assistant for years, and she’s loved him almost that long. Day after day they work together at The Buzz, a celebrity gossip magazine, and day after day she can’t help fantasizing. Meanwhile, she also writes a secret column called Tess Tells All. It’s more or less about her working relationship with Shane, but she mails it to him from elsewhere in the city, and he has no idea that Rachel is Tess.
Shane loves Rachel as a co-worker, and finds her assistance invaluable, but he’s never seriously thought about dating her. He tends to go for attractive but forgettable starlets with names like Tawny. Matters change when Shane goes to Rachel’s apartment to tell her the big news: the magazine won Patrick Elliott’s year-long contest, and he will be the new CEO of Elliott publications. Shane is enchanted by Rachel’s homey apartment, and then he’s also enchanted by Rachel. They end up having terrific, five star fabulous sex. But in the light of day, it seems like a bad idea. How will they continue to have a normal working relationship? Will they ever be able to move past it? Shane is further surprised when everyone in the family seems to think it’s about time he got together with Rachel. Maybe his true love has been right under his nose.
The best thing about this book is Rachel. She’s funny, smart, and sympathetic. Her columns are cute, and her self-deprecating humor and musings about Shane simply make the book. She’s the type of heroine who’s easy to root for and even identify with, even if you’ve never been in love with a handsome CEO; she just has that everywoman quality about her.
I also particularly liked the writing itself. Child’s prose flows well, and the book is well-paced. It makes for an entertaining and engaging read, especially with Rachel’s wry comments.
While Shane is not exactly unlikable, I found him a bit more problematic. He’s on the down-side of 35, and not only has he never had a real relationship to speak of – he’s never really thought about having one. He’s reportedly somewhat scarred by his childhood, which really wasn’t all that bad. On the whole, he comes across as a bit immature.
I also thought the series was really begging for some kind of denouement, but there isn’t one to speak of. I wouldn’t really consider that a fault of the book, because the story stands on its own, and it does the job it sets out to do. But after following the entire saga, I really expected more of a payoff. That said, the book is still good, especially if, like me, you have already read the previous eleven. It’s certainly worth a quick evening’s read, even if it’s primarily on the strength of the heroine.