All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: Hollywood Dreams – Mae Archer

on July 26, 2014

Hollywood DreamsHollywood Dreams
Mae Archer
Momentum Books
2014, eBook
Copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley

Maree Reynard is a costume designer working on a soap opera in Hollywood. She was raised “in the business” as both her parents met on the set of another soap. Maree has known many people over the years and she’s had a few bad experiences. For this reason, she’s always made it a rule not to ever date actors.

When she meets Beau Tennant, she believes that she’s met and fallen for someone very real. Beau is a war veteran, in a wheelchair. Maree helps him out one day and the two of them go on several dates. Maree doesn’t see the disability, she just sees the vulnerable man behind it, a man who served his country and paid the price. They have fun together and she wants to spend more time with him…but then Beau vanishes, leaving behind only a note of apology.

What Maree doesn’t realise is that “Beau” doesn’t exist. Beau was really model turned actor Tom Calvert, who dreams of breaking away from the roles he’s been doing and making movies that matter. He was living as a ‘method actor’, becoming immersed in the character of Beau, who he is to play in an up and coming movie. At first, his friendship with Maree was just part of that – if he could pull off a date or two as a man in a wheelchair then he’s really living the life of someone paraplegic and negotiating all that they face. But he begins having feelings for Maree and he knows that what he’s doing to her is unfair. He can’t keep seeing her as Beau – he needs to get her to fall in love with Tom.

But Maree is heartbroken over the loss of Beau and she also has a firm policy not to ever date actors so Tom is going to have his work cut out for him. Especially as he has a pesky stalker who looks sure to become threatened by his serious interest in someone. It might not just be about getting Maree to fall in love with him – the stakes could be much higher than that.

I really liked the set up of this book. When we meet Tom, he’s already in the character of Beau, negotiating getting to a cafe in his wheelchair when he becomes stuck. He is living his life immersed in the role he has signed on for, that of a returned war veteran who is now in a wheelchair. He notices that most people tend to avoid him but only Maree, a young woman, comes to his aid. She’s pretty and friendly and there’s an instant attraction there. She gives him her card and tells him to call her and although Tom has second thoughts, he eventually does call her as part of his ‘research’ to see if he can pull off a date in his current situation.

As a good-looking and successful actor bent on shaping his career, Tom is a bit of a love them and leave them type. He’s not interested in settling down but in Maree, he also recognises the opportunity to date someone who has absolutely no idea who he is and can’t possibly want anything from him at all. This is further cemented when he awkwardly bumps into Maree when he is as himself and she not only doesn’t recognise him (as either Beau or Tom Calvert) but also gives him the brush off when he tests his disguise as Beau by attempting to talk to her. For someone who is instantly recognisable and has lots of young women clamouring to be with him, the chance to not only further his method acting and also go anonymous is an irresistable combination. The problems begin when he realises that he himself is falling for Maree but this cannot possibly ever work. For a start, “Beau” is just a character. Eventually the shoot would be over and he’d have to become Tom again. And once she finds out that she’s been betrayed, she’d never speak to him again.

Tom decides the only solution is to disappear as Beau and make Maree fall in love with Tom, the real Tom. But that’s going to be quite difficult when she obviously and openly doesn’t ever give actors a chance so he has to go very slowly, working hard at becoming her friend first. He always plans to tell her at some stage (which he has to do, given she’d figure it out when the movie of him playing a paraplegic named Beau is released!) but things keep getting in the way, leading to missed communication. When Maree does begin to fall for Tom, he’s even more panicked about what to do. He can’t take things to a certain level unless he’s confessed, otherwise everything is over. But the more she pushes, the more helpless he becomes and he just can’t seem to get the words out. Things keep happening to get in the way, including the stalker.

To be honest, the stalker story line did feel like a bit of overkill, I think the basic of story of Tom and Maree trying to negotiate through the awkward way in which they met (more so Tom as Maree doesn’t know for most of the book that they’re one and the same) was probably enough conflict. The suspense late in the book did feel a bit awkward and changed the tone and the stalker was rather easy to guess once they were introduced to the reader. However I think the core story was quite interesting and although I almost wanted to dislike Tom for being deceitful, he kept managing to bring it back and try and go about things with Maree the right way later on. He could have just been up front to her from the beginning but he was trying the method acting to stay in character for as long as possible and I understand that he didn’t want to jeopardise that or even the shooting of the movie, because the studio wanted the name of the lead actor kept under wraps as long as possible. I think he learned though that it was easy for things to get complicated and being up front is probably the best idea!

7/10

Book #150 of 2014

 

 

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