Dreaming of You
Supermodel Lilly Lujan’s vacation isn’t going as well as she’d expected. First of all, she’s staying at her manager Gerard’s estate, which means being at his whim and having to deal with annoying male model Antoine; second, she’s been having second thoughts about her career and the modeling contract that will take her to Paris for three years, away from friends and family. And third, those darn tabloids keep publishing tawdry stories about her.
As she struggles to deal with it all, Lilly meets Enrique Pacias, the gardener at the estate. He is instantly taken with her, but is very aware of who this woman is, so he offers her the only thing he can, comfort. He’s well aware of his social standing (bottom of the barrel) in Lilly’s glamour-glitz world, and although the attraction is mutual, he will not risk his job – or his family’s financial well-being – by entering into a doomed fling with one of his employer’s houseguests.
Aided by Enrique’s younger brother Isaias, a persistent Lilly manages to get herself a slot as a volunteer in Enrique’s other project, a community garden where she is slowly accepted by the other workers, once the novelty of her presence wears off. Always conscious of the class differences between them, Enrique nevertheless begins to let his guard down where Lilly is concerned. She wants him, he wants her; maybe she’s right and nothing else matters.
Of course, it’s not as simple as that. There is the matter of Lilly’s trip to Paris, and once her manager Gerard and the annoying Antoine figure out why Lilly asks to stay another month in Gerard’s house, they make sure Enrique knows all about the modeling contract. A hurt Enrique despairs, but he listens to Lilly as she says that it’s been a long time since she’s wanted to quit modeling anyway, and that she’s not going to Paris. Enrique is torn between accepting Lilly and risking being blamed later for losing her career, and living the dreams he’s always wanted.
Enrique is a kind, honorable hero. He holds the concept of responsibility very highly and feels he must do his duty for his family, especially since his father died. He sees Lilly as some kind of distant muse when he first meets her, and is quite conscious of the class differences between them, although he never loses his pride in what he does.
Lilly has hit thirty in a job where one ages in dog years, as her own manager tells her. She’s tired of being examined like cattle whenever she’s being considered for a job and wants more substance in her life, although she’s not sure exactly what she wants to do. Meeting Enrique gives her a glimpse into the lives of people who put their hard-earned sweat to work for the needy, and as he conquers her heart, she begins thinking of putting the publicity she garners to better use.
Although both Gerard and Antoine were irritating and smarmy, Enrique’s brother Isaias was a kick to get to know, and his relationship with the older, more serious Enrique was a delight to read, as were the brainstorming sessions Lilly has with her girlfriends and with Isaias. Although I liked the secondary characters enough, the length of the book (the number above represents the English and Spanish texts together) presents the biggest problem: it didn’t allow for them to be more fleshed out, nor for a well-paced resolution. One moment Lilly and Enrique make love, and the next their plans for the future have materialized.
All in all, I will be looking for Look of Love, the previous book that introduces Lilly, and for Ms. Sandoval’s future books.