Requested Review: A Hollywood Affair by Sally Royer-Derr

Sara Montgomery’s comfortable suburban life is turned upside down when handsome Hollywood actor, Enrique Alvarez, enters her life. Restlessness with her life drove her into his arms, but passion kept her there — a passion for him and for the love of writing he ignited once again. This burning need brings Sara a Hollywood success exceeding her wildest dreams. Everything that she thought was true in her life has changed, but at what cost?

Title: A Hollywood Affair
Author: Sally Royer-Derr
Series: Hollywood Series, book 1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Red Rose Publishing
Year of release: 2010, April 29
Format: eBook – pdf, 222 pages
Source: Received for review from author
First line: He’s inside, waiting for me.
Memorable Scenes:A particular scene at the end that’s very emotional, but I can’t say much about it as it would spoil the story and the ending

When I started this book and read about how the heroine/main character Sara was planning to meet the man, an actor from her favorite TV show, she was going to cheat on her husband of 16 years with, I felt some trepidation. This book definitely pushed my buttons throughout most of it, as Enrique is also in a relationship and is willing/planning to sleep with Sara. I was seriously wondering if this was a book I was going to enjoy reading? I wasn’t sure…but soon my insecurity was taken away and it wasn’t in a positive way because I really didn’t enjoy a big part of this book, namely the whole part where Sara and Enrique are having an affair.

My main problem was Sara. I just didn’t like her actions and motivation. The way she justified things for herself just totally rubbed me the wrong way. After she’s slept with Enrique at the first occasion they meet in person she rationalized it for herself as not cheating because it was just a fling and she still loved Bryan and would never leave him, I was seriously doubting if I could continue reading this book.

And it gets so much the worse when after she spends a night and day with Enrique in his hotel room she just rolls from his bed into her husbands and makes love to him telling him she loves him and is thinking that’s where she belongs. Later her husband finds out about the affair from pictures in a magazine and instead of being upset that her husband and kids are giving her the cold shoulder after that, she’s excited that she’s going to be with Enrique.

Next to the problems I had with the characters, I also had a bit of trouble with the narrative, timeline and the flashbacks. In the narrative there were the occasional first person narratives and I really think this is an editing problem as the book is completely in third person, though it may have been first drafted in first person and later been revised and these occasional mix-ups were overlooked. If not, I can’t explain them.

The flashbacks were something that at first I didn’t even recognize as flashbacks as they started with an unannounced scene about Sara’s parents’ funeral that didn’t make sense at that point in the story. I thought at first the flashbacks were parts of the novel Sara was writing but as Sara is mentioned and not the names of her characters I soon deducted that they must have been flashbacks. For me the flashbacks didn’t add anything substantially important for the romance or the plot.

I don’t like (you could say hate) cheaters and I did not enjoy the path the book was taking early on. I realize life and love aren’t always a bed of roses and affairs/cheating and people falling out of love is part of reality and applaud Sally Royer-Derr for having written a realistic book but at the same time it’s not what I look for in my reading. I’m a believer in the “1 soul mate HEA kind of love” and would have been more accepting of the course this book took if Sara had been more honest and upfront with Bryan from the beginning.

On the other hand I must give kudos to Sally Royer-Derr for evoking strong feelings in me while reading this book. Okay, they were negative feelings but I prefer getting angry about what I’m reading in a book to reading books that are unable to evoke any feelings whatsoever. And I honestly cannot say that this was a bad book, the subject just wasn’t for me. I liked reading about Enrique and Sara’s separate lives, I didn’t like the affair stuff and how Sara justified that to herself but I did like the ending of the book and thought the issues that bothered me were all resolved in an acceptable manner.

A HOLLYWOOD AFFAIR definitely has potential and the fact that I do want to read the sequel that is mentioned at the end of the book, is proof that I definitely want to read more by Sally Royer-Derr. I even went searching on the Internet for who the main character(s) of the second book could be as I was wondering if it could be (one of) the characters I met in this book.

So even though I can’t give this book a glowing review, I do recommend it to readers who are more accepting of the fact that people don’t stay with the love of their life forever and that people do fall out and in love during the course of their lives because the story around the affair is a pleasant one to read and intriguing enough to tempt me to read more by this author.


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