Summary of book:
This is the story of Kathleen Rosenburg (Katee Rose) and Cal Kirby, who were previously involved in a scandal that resulted in the destruction of her career. Now, Katee has left her pop star image behind and is living an ordinary life as Kathleen Rosenberg. However, Cal reappears in her life with an opportunity to star in a Broadway show he’s directing written by her best friend specifically for her.
As the story unfolds, Kathleen is torn between her desire to pursue her dreams of performing and her apprehension about working with Cal again. Both characters blame each other for their past, creating a tense and ego-driven atmosphere during rehearsals. Despite their reservations, Kathleen and Cal find themselves drawn to each other once again, unable to deny the chemistry between them.
The story’s central question revolves around whether it’s a good idea for Kathleen to rekindle her relationship with Cal, considering their history of being burned by their past choices. This theme explores the complexities of second chances, forgiveness, and the risks involved in pursuing one’s passions.
The story blends elements of romance, drama, and the entertainment industry, delving into the challenges and pressures faced by celebrities. It also explores themes of personal growth, self-discovery, and the pursuit of happiness.
I take handwritten notes for my Netgalley reviews, but this book literally has two lines in my notebook. I was so into Sussman’s book that I stopped thinking in terms of a review and just fell into this story. I stayed up until I was finished because I loved these characters so much and the story had so many of my favorite tropes and plot points. I enjoyed the Then/Now structure which gives what happened then tension to the story. Enemies to Lovers and Second Chance romance tropes are done so well here. The anger Kathleen has for a system that punishes her for her choices is so relatable and her anger at Cal for not stepping up for her drives the story in a way that is relatable and believable.
Loved the fleshed-out main characters and unlike so many other stories found the secondary characters multi-dimensional and realistic. Harriet’s wrestling with the baggage of her friend and the man who holds her musical’s success in his hands was well done and totally human.
Tropes and Triggers:
Friends to lovers to enemies to lovers, Second Chances / Infidelity, Panic attacks/disorders, Body shaming, Eating disorder
“His mouth found my throat and I found myself thanking whatever lovers he’d had between then and now, because this? This wasn’t a boy unsure of himself.”
“I just wanted you to know. That I love you. Harriet thinks I have been in love with you since we were kids and I think she’s right.”