Desert Isle Keeper
Okay, I have to eat a little crow. When I first read the synopsis of HeartThrob and saw the bright pink cover, I really thought it looked like a mainstream, Jackie Collins-type novel, even though I knew the writing would be better than that. I was wrong, and I should have known better. I’ve read Suzanne Brockmann, and Jackie Collins is no Suzanne Brockmann.
Jericho Beaumont is a recovering alcoholic. The former hotshot actor entered rehab five years ago and has had a tenuous grip on sobriety ever since. Now he’s making a comeback and desperately wants a part in producer Kate O’Laughlin’s movie. He signs a contract that allows almost jail-like conditions including constant supervision. After a disaster with the “supervisor,” Kate ends up on guard duty. The already tense relationship between the two explodes.
These are two very tormented people. A childhood with an abusive, alcoholic father makes Jericho doubt himself. He refuses to let his emotions out, good or bad, which makes his struggle with alcohol even harder.
Kate has to put up with the image she thinks people have of her – a beautiful bimbo with the size of her boobs in inverse proportion to the size of her brain. She hides the fact that she wrote the screenplay and has put up walls around herself because of incidents dating back to her adolescence. While Kate wasn’t a very warm person initially, she turned out to be much better than I thought. One scene that was revealing for both characters was the night Kate accidentally drank LSD-laced tea and Jericho got her through it, resisting the sexual temptation she offered.
The secondary characters of youthful Jamaal Hawkes and Susie McCoy, co-stars in the movie, are interesting in their own right. Susie, at 15, is trying to become an adult, make her own decisions and break away from her controlling father. Jamaal has to come to terms with his feelings for Susie and his difficult role as a slave in the movie. I loved the scenes where Jamaal was working with Jericho and really started to understand the feelings and motivation of his character. Jamaal and Susie’s story was a little like Romeo and Juliet, facing parental opposition.
While this book is dark in some ways, it doesn’t become too much. Thankfully, rather than creating a bunch of Hollywood stereotypes, Brockmann has created people you can sympathize with. They have real problems and struggles that kept me reading through the night. When Jericho finally understands what Kate has been after him about, that he has to show, acknowledge and talk about his feelings – and he can’t just turn them off and on like he does in front of a camera, I nearly lost it. This book is definitely worth staying up to read.