Published by Berkley Books on 22nd June 2021
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Acting like she's in love with her handsome nightmare of a co-star--in a movie directed and produced by her complicated Hollywood royalty family--is Sloane's job. But what happens when the lines between script and reality get blurred?
Out-of-work actress Sloane Ford is in desperate need of something to do after losing her steady TV gig. When her famous family ropes her into working as a producer on their World War II-era romance, they neglect to mention that the film will be headlined by Joseph Donovan, her least favorite former co-star of all time.
The roguish actor made her life a living hell the last time they worked together, using his movie star good looks and Irish charm to cover for his erratic professional behavior. On their new film set, he promises he's different now, but Sloane is far from convinced.
As filming gets underway, it becomes clear that anything that can go wrong will go wrong. When the lead actress is abruptly fired, Sloane agrees to step in and take over the role, and she starts to remember why she fell in love with acting in the first place.
On camera, she and Joseph share an electric chemistry. Off camera, they've been honing their characters and, much to Sloane's surprise, growing closer. But playing the role of a woman in love with Joseph Donovan is a dangerous business, and the more time they spend together, the less Sloane can tell what's real between them, and what's just for show.
It isn’t the fault of the book of the author at all, that it’s getting published at a time when my own personal view of celebrity life has soured to the point where I can barely look at the tabloids anymore without begging for some perspective all around given the unbelievable amount of tone-deafness in what’s being reported.
As a result, ‘Love Scenes’ is one that made me an undecided mess, as it felt like an entire smokescreen that’s the Hollywood film industry (as portrayed by Bridget Morrissey), where much ado about nothing seems to be the case in point.
It feels like a story about characters—of fiction mirroring reality perhaps?—moaning about the things that give them the privilege to lord it over ‘normal’ folks, of getting to be petty because they’ve been misrepresented, about behaving the way they want do simply because they can, of how they’re perceived in public versus the way they want to be perceived…and the story goes on.
In the light of the tabloids and the celebrity news these days, I’ll admit that despite this being fiction, there is some measure some revulsion I do feel for these self-absorbed characters—as reality flows over fiction and vice versa.
For a debut novel, Morrissey however, confidently takes the story on its head by weaving a drama that, if you’re into a treatise on performance, acting and channelling your emotions while juggling a public/private persona, would probably be one that keeps you up all night devouring the pages. Oh the drama, the divas, the volatility…and also the two-facedness of it all.
Obviously this celebrity-high-life-distaste belongs to me and me alone, where I couldn’t really find any liking for any of the protagonists or the secondary characters; they all seem too full of themselves in a way or another in this glitzy life far above the normal mortals and are simply impossible to connect with, even though there’s still a slow-burn romance that happens in the middle of it.
I tried. Really did. But ‘Love Scenes’ is just…not the book for me, sadly.