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    What I Did For Love by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
  • Author:
  • Published: Jan 16th, 2009

sep_whatreview.jpgA review by Kati Dancy
Publisher: William Morrow
3 out of 5 stars

Georgie York is having a very bad day. Heck, she’s been having a string of bad days. You see, Georgie is a beloved child star, famous for her sweet nature, and her classic series, Skip and Scooter. She seems to have everything she’d ever want: a successful career, a handsome husband, and many good friends. But her handsome husband, Lance, has very publicly left her for a Hollywood’s latest do-gooder, gorgeous actress, Jade Gentry. (Does this story sound familiar to you? I couldn’t help thinking of the Brad-Angelina-Jennifer triangle). One day, Georgie is accosted by the press who are anxious to tell her that Jade is pregnant. Georgie is devastated and can’t hide her reaction. Watching from the sidelines is her dissipated co-star from Skip and Scooter days, Bramwell Shepard. Bram has a terrible image in Hollywood, and has a distinct lack of jobs to prove it. You see, he ruined his career by his diva behavior on the set of Skip and Scooter. He was occasionally drunk, often belligerent, and generally difficult to deal with. And in the end, the show was cancelled because of his bad behavior.

Georgie flees the scene to her friend Trevor’s house. There, she begs Trevor to consider marrying her for a year — just to help her get her credibility back. The bad news for her is that Trevor is gay, and has absolutely no intention of honoring that request. Unfortunately for Georgie, Trevor is also friends with Bram, who overhears the conversation and can’t resist poking fun at Georgie. Georgie flees the scene and ends up deciding to go with a few friends to Las Vegas for the weekend. As coincidence (as far as Georgie knows) would have it, Bram is in Vegas too. Unsurprisingly, they clash, but end up at the same party, and end up drinking too much. When they wake up in the morning, they are mutually dismayed to find that they have gotten married. Georgie realizes pretty much right off the bat that this could work to her advantage if she can convince Bram to stay married to her. Bram, who is trying desperately to get a movie off the ground, realizes that Georgie’s contacts can help him. Plus, she offers him $50,000 to stay married to her. Bram decides to take her up on her offer. Will they be able to overcome their long-standing feud and fall in love?

Generally Susan Elizabeth Phillips is a sure thing for me. Her books feature wonderfully dimensional characters that have a lot of heart. She’s also very talented at bringing the funny. Not bust a gut funny, but she’s incredibly adept at putting her characters in interesting and challenging situations, while never forcing them to lose their softer side. Unfortunately, this book seemed to be missing the funny. I found both Georgie and Bram to be selfish, single-minded people who were really only out or themselves. They both played some petty tricks on each other, and were generally pretty nasty to each other. When the author finally had them begin to soften, the damage was already done in my mind. The characters had both exposed a nastier, petty side that made them very difficult for me to like, let alone root for.

Susan Elizabeth Phillips remains an auto-buy for me, but for readers who’ve never enjoyed her work before, I’d recommend you start with It Had to Be You, or another of her older books and give this book a pass.

10 Responses to “What I Did For Love by Susan Elizabeth Phillips”

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  1. Marisa
    on Jan 16th, 2009
    @ 8:18 am

    Kati, thanks so much for the review. I appreciate how you feel about characters whose behavior passes the line of no return. It’s hard to empathize with them when that occurs.
    I find that sometimes, if I go back and re-read a book (for what ever reason) with characters I didn’t necessarily connect to the first time, I may like them better on a second pass. It all depends on where I am at the time. Granted, for me a keeper is always an IMMEDIATE keeper and on every re-read I still know why I loved it so much. But recently I’ve read several books that weren’t doing it for me and stopped reading them in the middle. I just picked up three of those picks and decided to finish them and loved them. Perhpas the story got better, but I tend to think it’s because I was in a different place and ready to read that particular book. So… why am I saying all this? Well since SEP is an auto buy for me I’m going to get “What I Did For Love” and give Georgie and Bram a try – I’ll let you know what I think.


  2. Gannon
    on Jan 16th, 2009
    @ 8:40 am

    As usual, Kati, your review is so good! I’m definitely going to read this SEP–she’s always an auto buy for me–but I’ll be interested to see if I have the same reaction as you.

    Marisa, I have also found books that I wasn’t crazy about the first time, but after a re-read, I really liked them. Don’t know why that is, but I’m always glad I gave them a second chance.


  3. Kati
    on Jan 16th, 2009
    @ 8:52 am

    Thanks Marisa & Gannon! I wish you both the best of luck with this new SEP. I was disappointed not to like it more. But I’m pretty confident I’ll go back to loving her next book. She’s pretty much a sure thing for me.


  4. Andrea
    on Jan 16th, 2009
    @ 9:30 am

    Perhaps I’m the only person who has never read an SEP. If I ever find the time to read one, I’ll be sure to take your advice to heart, Kati, and start with a different one. Great review!

    Marisa, I totally know what you mean. There are times when I’m not in the right mood or frame of mind to read a particular book. I’ve since learned to take a break from it and try it again later, as well. ;)


  5. PJ
    on Jan 16th, 2009
    @ 9:52 am

    Another superbly written review, Kati. SEP is an autobuy for me so I’ll give this book a chance but I’ll probably look for it at the library or the UBS.

    I usually don’t return to a book I didn’t like or couldn’t finish. There are too many other books waiting to be read. ;-) The only times I’ve given a book a second chance were those where people whose opinions I trust raved about the book in question.


  6. Marisa
    on Jan 16th, 2009
    @ 10:10 am

    I usually don’t return to a book I didn’t like or couldn’t finish. There are too many other books waiting to be read. ;-) The only times I’ve given a book a second chance were those where people whose opinions I trust raved about the book in question.

    I totally get what you mean PJ. But recently I’ve had such a great experience with books that I returned to – and I was surprised and happy about that. I have also had the experience of reading a book that was sort of meh (as Kati would say) – but when I went to review the book and re-read large parts of it, fell in love with it. So I’m beginning to suspect that many times the way I feel about a particular book depends on what kind of mood I’m in. It’s something I’ve been seriously thinking about.


  7. azteclady
    on Jan 16th, 2009
    @ 12:09 pm

    I have been in PJ’s shoes several times, but there are those books that I wanted, oh so much! to like and couldn’t get into… that I keep them and try them again later. More often than not, I’m less critical (read: my expectations have shifted lower) during that second (or third) try, and so I am able to enjoy the good parts much more.


  8. Donna
    on Jan 16th, 2009
    @ 1:11 pm

    SEP is always a sure buy to me and I was looking forward to this one…I am on the list at the library for it and I am #1 when it comes to me I will let you know what I think…. My fav of her was Fancy Pants, I met her when she was at the Schaumburg Library for a Romance Fest and she hated the cover told her that was what made me pick up the book….

    Donna


  9. Buffie
    on Jan 16th, 2009
    @ 1:52 pm

    No, Andrea, you are not the only one who has not read SEP. We are so much a like, it is scary at times ;)


  10. KarLynP
    on Jan 16th, 2009
    @ 6:21 pm

    Oh the dilema. I have no doubt your review nailed it, but I can’t possibly go without reading it. I swear I would still buy and read it even if it got a 1-star rating by everyone. I love this author, so if my choices are to a) have read it and hated it OR b) to never have read it at all, I have to read it! Oh my.