Monday, February 23, 2009

Review: What I Did for Love

Title: What I Did for Love
Author: Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published: January 2009
Contemporary Romance Challenge

What happens in Vegas doesn't always stay in Vegas. Sometimes it follows you home, moves in with you and drives you crazy! At least that's what happens when you are two very public personalities like Georgie York and Bramwell Shepard. The former stars of the wildly successful Skip and Scooter sitcom are now grown up and going through some very difficult times. Waking up to find themselves married and not remembering the wedding night is the least of their problems. They must convince their friends, fans and the paparazzi that they are wallowing in wedded bliss. Pretty hard to do when you can't stand your spouse. But they are actors so they play their parts only to become the characters they merely thought they were playing.

I haven't read all of SEP's books but the ones I have read I thoroughly enjoyed. While What I Did for Love is not my favorite SEP novel it still provided a fun reading experience with the quick, witty dialogue that SEP is known for.

Georgie York is America's sweetheart but now her heart is broken and bleeding all over the tabloids. Her knight in shining armor has ridden off with another damsel who wants to save the world and look good doing it. And Georgie is left trying to sort out her life - both her personal and her career. She wants to get away from the mediocre roles she's been playing and take on more challenging roles. But convincing her manager, who happens to be her father, that she can do this isn't easy. Then there's the not so little complication of her new husband Bram Shepard. Her one time costar is now the bad boy of Hollywood. Georgie can't depend on his help because he only looks out for himself.

Georgie has a heck of a lot to over come. When Georgie was five her mother died so her father raised her, setting his acting career aside so he could focus solely on Georgie's career. So Georgie has learned from a very early age to depend on her father's judgment and leave the decisions up to him. She's now 31 and in desperate need to break out on her own but she doesn't know how. Oddly enough Bram is the one who helps her.

Bramwell Shepard is the type of bad boy women the world over love. He's got the looks, the charisma and the reputation that makes him so irresistible. But his career hasn't been going well. It's been eight years since Skip and Scooter went off the air. In those eight years he's managed to make a name for himself not by the roles he plays but by the trouble he causes. He's known as a playboy who drinks too much and parties the night away.

Bram was a real ass except when he was being nice, against his better judgment. At times it seemed almost painful for him to let Georgie think he was doing something nice for her. He wanted to continue to project that bad boy imagine. It got to the point where he had to convince himself that he needed to continue looking out for number one. It was the reason he went along with the fake marriage, because of what he could get out of it. But then this is a romance so Bram couldn't stay a total ass forever.

Bram and Georgie spend most of their time either hiding from the paparazzi, or the paps as they're referred to in the book, or using the paps to promote their "marriage". The fact that they had this history dating back to when they were teens only adds to the tension. The time they spent on their sitcom was not full of happy memories. So now that they are adults they not only have to pretend to be in love they have this history to get past. Seeing them interact and get to know each other as adults was believable because it happened in increments. And it wasn't always a positive step forward in their relationship. These two characters were very fragile in their ability to trust anyone.

The friends, family members and supporting staff of Bram and Georgie are well written characters with some additional secondary story lines. I especially liked Bram's Goth housekeeper Chaz. She's more than just a housekeeper, she's Bram's protector and champion. Her opinion of Georgie starts out very low but as these two women are forced to spend time together they get to know each other's strengths and weaknesses. I really enjoyed seeing their relationship become more than just adversaries.

While I was reading WIDfL I couldn't help noticing the similarities between Georgie, her ex-husband Lance and Jade Gentry, the woman Lance left Georgie for. Georgie=Jennifer Aniston, Lance = Brad Pitt and Jade = Angelina Jolie. Lance is portrayed as a real jerk and while Jade wants to help the starving children everywhere she treats the hired help like crap. Georgie on the other hand was very likable, funny and genuine a nice person. Coincidence?

So while I wasn't blown away by the story I'm still glad I read it. It does give a lot of insight into the workings of the movie industry. How you're only as popular as your last film and what it's like to be under that microscope day in and day out. If you like reading about Hollywood and the life of the famous What I Did for Love gives an in depth portrayal of how stressful and rewarding the life of an actor can be.

Susan Elizabeth Phillips website has information on all her novels as well as a page full of quotes from her various novels. You can find all that and more here.

Rating: B+


  1. Hah! I see I'm not the only one that saw that Bad/Angelina/Aniston similarity in this story, lol! I did love Georgie. Actually, I liked this book and SEP's sense of humor. You're right Bram was a jerk and self-serving for most of the book, but for some reason I liked him too and couldn't wait to see him get his. OH, and like you, I loved Chaz. What a great character! I did enjoy this book.

  2. Nice review, Leslie. I'll have to keep an eye out for this one.

  3. There were times when it was like SEP was taking it right from the tabloids. LOL