Audrey McCall has everything a girl in the Roaring Twenties could want: A handsome man who adores her; a life of friends, glitz, and glamour; and rising stardom, oh, so close! If given the choice to keep only one, which would you choose?
Edward Stark, a successful lawyer, is a man obsessed when it comes to Audrey. He buys her expensive gifts, attends every one of her stage performances, surprises her with romantic dinners, picnics, and drives in the country, and he can’t imagine why she isn’t as taken with him as he is with her.
An air of indifference flows easily from Audrey, especially when she sneaks away to join the fun at the neighborhood speakeasy, where Edward wonders why she’s ducked inside “as if she were just another bona fide flapper.”
Although not perfectly suited for each other, their relationship strengthens as this novella moves along at a nice pace. The story draws the reader into a natural understanding that Edward and the stage spotlight can never co-exist, and that’s no secret to Audrey. She’s known it all along. Edward is so perfect — few woman could want more, yet the pull of stardom may be too much for Audrey to refuse, and keeping both is not an option.
The characters are fairly well-developed for a short story, but the backstory reflections were choppy and felt incomplete, i.e., “I’m glad,” he said. Kiss. Kiss. “Sing for me.” Frankly, I’m not sure the flashbacks were needed at all. It seemed almost a waste of time. Instead, I would have preferred the space be dedicated to strengthening the historical elements of the story.
This is a nice quick read and is a standalone book, although it is my understanding that it is a prelude to this author’s debut novel, Return To Me.
If you’re looking for a flash of history in a romance novella, this is an enjoyable read.
Editor's note: This article was originally published at Long and Short Reviews. It has been republished with permission. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.