Isabelle (her friends call her Izzy) was so elated when she got a job as an assistant editor for a big publishing company. It was like a dream come true. Several years later, when she’s overworked, underappreciated and still living with her parents at twenty-five, without even getting a promotion, she is starting to wonder if she should change careers. After having her own attempts at writing a book politely criticised by one of her more senior colleagues, that’s another dream she’s shelved, and now, despite her generally optimistic attitude, she is starting to consider giving up the whole publishing business.
After a conference in LA, Izzy hears her boss Marta complain loudly about one of their most difficult clients, infamous wild child Beau Towers, who got a massive advance on his celebrity memoir and then hasn’t delivered so much as a page for over a year. Izzy impulsively offers to stay behind an extra day, drive to Santa Barbara and confront Towers personally, on the company’s behalf. She’s hoping that this extra effort might make her more likely to get a promotion, and if nothing else, it’s another day in sunny California, rather than in wintery New York.
When she arrives at the gorgeous mansion where Towers is apparently hiding away, she is met by the man’s assistant. Towers himself doesn’t even want to see her. How is she going to give him an optimistic and motivating pep talk if he won’t even come out of his room? After Michaela, Towers’ assistant trips and sprains her ankle as she’s walking Izzy to her car, Izzy has no choice but to stay behind at the house to help ice and bandage the injured limb, and gets to see first how angry and terrifying Beau Towers can be to strangers, but also how friendly and gentle he is to his friends. Once he realises Michaela is hurt (he calls her Kettle), he completely changes from an angry grump to someone considerate and caring. He reluctantly agrees to let Izzy stay for dinner and listens to one of her pep talks, only to mock her mercilessly, causing Izzy to flee to the luxurious second-floor bedroom set aside for her. Having drunk too much wine with dinner, Izzy has no choice but to stay the night, and in the morning, Beau apologises for his rude behaviour and persuades her to stay for a few more days.
The few days keep being extended, to one month and then another, and while it’s clear that Towers has a volatile temper and can be rather grouchy, Izzy quickly realises that he’s actually determined to write his memoir without any assistance from ghostwriters or the like, he just has no idea where or how to start. As the son of a famous supermodel and an award-winning screenwriter/director, Towers has lived a life of privilege and luxury. He clearly has no idea how much Izzy has to work just to make ends meet and how lucky he is to be able to isolate himself from the world in a ginormous mansion, without ever having to worry that his money is going to run out. However, he’s also very lonely, having only interacted with Michaela for the past year, and as Izzy gets to know him, she discovers how conflicted he is about his dead father and the way both his dad and he treated his mother in the past. The main reasons for his failure to deliver any book pages isn’t laziness, it’s guilt and shame.
Even when Beau starts listening to Izzy’s pep talks (she also discovers that he’s been reading her weekly e-mails, despite them getting more and more informal as she became convinced they ended up in his spam folder) and they start working together to get him to write, it takes him several tries and quite a few temper tantrums before he’s ready to really be open, honest and emotional in his writing. Beau’s efforts at writing his memoir also motivates Izzy to consider her own writing again, and after being persuaded by Beau that her editor colleague clearly meant to sabotage her efforts with his harsh critique, she reassesses what she wrote and starts accepting that her own writing may have merit.
Spending literally months together in a big house, working together daily in the gorgeous library, and having dinner together every night obviously make the two grow closer. Izzy fights her growing attraction to Beau, however, convinced she’s only imagining the increasing moments of sizzling chemistry. She’s also determined to stay professional. Besides, Beau is a rich recluse living in California and Izzy’s life and job are still waiting for her back in New York. Once she gets Beau to complete the book, she’ll never see him again. Right?
Full review on my blog.