What I Did for Love
I assumed that Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ newest would be an A or A- read for me, or at worst, a B+. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out that way. While in the end there were a number of things I liked about the book, I’ll be honest: If not reading it for review, I would have put it down repeatedly, perhaps for several weeks at a time.
Georgie York and Bram Shepard first met eight years earlier when they were the stars of the Skip and Scooter show. Georgie loved the character Bram played on the show, but eventually came to hate the man when the cameras turned off. Bram was a self-centered, destructive man, who ruined the hit show and his career before their characters could marry and have children.
Despite being wildly rich and having a wonderful group of friends, Georgie is struggling with her life. After starring in two failed films, with a third bomb about to be released, her career is a mess. Her love life is even worse. Her husband left her for a do-gooder gorgeous movie star who is now pregnant with his child (and, yes, the similarities to Brangelina are definitely there), despite the fact that he refused to have with Georgie the children she longed for. Trailed by the paparazzi, Georgie is sick of being the much-pitied victim by her fans and the media.
A series of strange events in Las Vegas lead to Georgie and Bram getting married. Instead of getting an instant divorce, Georgie decides this is her opportunity to become something other than an object of pity. She offers Bram a great deal of money to stay married to her for a year and play the faithful husband.
Susan Elizabeth Phillips has written some of my favorite heroes. This time, it’s Georgie who is at the center of the book. We know much more about her than we do about Bram, and this was a problem for me. Much of what we know about Bram we learn through Georgie’s eyes which is almost totally the image she’s retained from his younger self. We really don’t know what Bram is like now, or what his motivations are, for a long time. It’s apparent that he has his own reasons for agreeing to the fake marriage, but they remain a mystery for a large portion of the book.
I didn’t have problems with the fact that both characters were using each other for sex for a good part of the book. I also didn’t mind all of the sniping and arguing Georgie did with Bram – she has real reasons for being angry with him. But, I would have liked more of a real romance a bit sooner. That being said, I loved the ending and felt it fit perfectly for the people the two had become.
Susan Elizabeth Phillips has created some of my favorite secondary characters and romances of all time. I particularly enjoyed the character of Chaz, Bram’s housekeeper and cook, and her interactions with Georgie’s personal assistant.
I’m sure some readers will absolutely love this book, while others will hate it. I find myself more in the middle. There are parts of it – including the ending – that I truly liked. But despite those good sections, I just can’t heartily recommend the book. I think I’m going to go back and listen to Match Me If You Can and remember some of the things I love about Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ past books.