I’m a bit skeptical of Hollywood romance stories, but this one turned out to be a great read.
Nina, as the star of the book and in Hollywood, was painted very realistically. She was in turn selfish and vain and deep and warm, with both aspects of her character written believably and surprisingly not mutually exclusive. Her painful past led her to find refuge in the shallow world of celebrities. Everything there is safe because it doesn’t include any emotional attachment; people are your friends only as long as you pay them or they need you to give them a boost in their career. There was no danger for her to get attached to someone and then lose them.
But she can’t escape emotional attachment when she meets stuntman Dominic Kelly. Sure, they have a business arrangement that says he’ll train her for the most coveted role at the moment, nothing more, nothing less. Unfortunately for Nina, this entails a whole lot more. But it’s also more for Dominic who’s not used to women staying until morning. But Nina, to hide from the paps, practically moves into his house. And them spending all their time together gets them to lower their defenses.
The pressures of stardom – and also the benefits of it – were shown very realistically, I thought. It was a wonderful image of what actors and actresses have to go through for their careers. The constant scrutiny, the ridiculous demands, the media – it all forces them to shut themselves from the world even more. But I also loved the scenes on the beaches because the author managed to paint the landscape very vividly, too.
My only objection was to how often Nina liked to repeat that she is selfish and vain. I realize this was part of her trying to convince herself that she didn’t need anything else but the public’s adoration and attention, but the frequency of her claims somehow clashed with the rest of her characterization.
I loved the slow progression of their relationship; how their feelings for each other blossomed quietly and unnoticed until it was too late. That final ‘complication’ was the ultimate test of their characters. And they passed with flying colors.
Not a fairy tale is a heart-warming story that shows the other side of Hollywood stars and paints them as people like us. It will make you want to read the other novels in the series.
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.