I’ve read a number of Louise Bay books and enjoyed them. This one kept popping up in my “recommended for you” lists but until now, I’ve always read the description and passed on it. Matt Easton is a young, hot actor who has let success go to his head. In his efforts to land a starring role in a franchise movie, he and his agents have toned down his bad boy image and tried to gloss over his playboy past. Thus we meet him in rural Maine, hiding out in a tiny town whilst filming on his latest movie goes on up the coast. Lana is a small town girl who was born and brought up in said tiny town. The book opens with her doing errands for a cast of lovable small town eccentric residents so we know just how adored she is. We’re also told that she went to college in Manhattan but left after being humiliated and has vowed never to go back preferring to stay where everyone knows her. The set up is complete and wouldn’t you know? Matt is renting a beach side cottage that Lana owns (and in fact lives next door to).
They jump into bed in seconds. This was the first time I stopped reading and almost DNF’ed. I just could not buy that Lana would immediately jump into bed with a stranger so quickly. After 24 hours or so, I went back with some trepidation and continued reading. The middle third of the book is better and I liked the way their relationship developed. The reveal that Matt was a famous actor did not take long and Lana continued being somewhat naive about him (which added to my frustration of how quickly she had jumped into bed with him). The last third was also a slog for me and towards the end, I just skim read as I was so close to finishing. Matt returns to LA, Lana goes out a few times to be with him, however there is a dispute between them about how Matt handles something spoilery and Lana takes off in a huff (the second time I almost DNF’ed). The justification for this dispute is incredibly thin and I just wanted to shake Lana. I felt absolutely no empathy for her imagined anger and very much felt that Ms. Bay needed a conflict to force the lovers apart so she could bring them back together.
I would be remiss not to give a shout-out to Lana’s BFF, Ruby. In the last third of the book she comes through for Lana and gives her some great advice. Although Ruby does not feature much in the book (she still lives in Manhattan), Lana does not seem to have any other friends her age in her home town, which added to the “poor lonely Lana” narrative.
I’ve enjoyed many other Louise Bay books, if you haven’t read any of hers, do not read this one, it is not indicative of her other books. I actually thought this must have been one of her first books before she had honed her craft, and before I wrote this review I looked up the published date to double check that. But it was in fact published in August 2017! Try The Ruthless Gentleman or The British Knight or the Park Avenue Prince or anything else in that series. Just don’t read this one!!