Sunday, 15 April 2018

#CBR10 Book 28: "Walk of Shame" by Lauren Layne

Page count: 256 pages
Rating: 3.5 stars

Georgiana "Georgie" Watkins is a wealthy heiress and socialite It-girl who usually comes home from her nights out around 5am, always making sure to bring donuts for the building staff before she retires to bed. While living a life of leisure and partying at night and planning charity fundraisers by day used to be diverting enough, Georgie is getting restless and bored, and starting to consider taking her dad up on one of his many job offers. Contrary to what some people think, it's not like she's stupid or incapable of working.

The "some people" Georgie is mainly thinking of is one of the other residents in her building, divorce attorney Andrew Mulroney. He's known as the "King of Divorce", the go to guy for all the biggest celebrity divorces and he gets up early each morning to hit the gym before going to work. As he leaves the building around 5am, he usually runs into Georgie and they trade barbs. Working divorces, Andrew really doesn't have much time for or belief in long term relationships, and he certainly wouldn't consider one with the spoiled socialite who taunts him every morning. Nevertheless, there is clear chemistry between them, and after a particularly aggravating verbal sparring session, Andrew kisses Georgie - and their kiss is caught on camera by the paparazzi. The gossip pages start speculating about them being a couple - but that could never really happen, could it?

 The Hating Game was my favourite book of 2016. Oh, how I love that book. I'm also a member of the Sally Thorne fan group on Facebook, where occasionally other people who love her book ask for recommendations of other romances. This was mentioned by several people, so when I found it in an e-book sale a while back, I made sure to snap it up. While I can see why it was recommended to fans of The Hating Game - there are absolute similarities - an enemies to lovers plot, nursing back to health (each of the protagonists actually take turns nursing the other, as one falls ill, then the other), a lot of verbal sparring, to me, this book didn't have nearly the same charm, and there was possibly too much time spent with Georgie and Andrew meeting in the lobby in the mornings without any other interactions building the tension, only for the book to finish far too quickly once their relationship was starting to actually develop. It felt a bit too fast for me.

Georgie also comes across as a bit too spoiled in the beginning, and even with her self-deprecating narration, I had some trouble connecting with her, even though she's clearly nice to the "staff". As someone who has never had the luxury to do pretty much nothing but party planning all day and actual partying all night, I struggled to have sympathy with her existential woes - get a job already! If she didn't need the money, she could work for a non-profit or something, just to have something worthwhile to do with her days. Still, I warmed to her within a few chapters, but I can see how it could be a deal-breaker for some readers.

Most of the chapters are narrated from Georgie's first-person POV. Then, in a stylistic choice that also grated on me a bit, there are some chapters from Andrew's POV, but they're in the third person. Not sure why Ms. Layne chose to do it this way. It seemed odd to me, and took me out of the story momentarily every time I hit an "Andrew" chapter.

Finally, the the big complication that splits the couple up for a while was very obvious from early on, and shows that Georgie really needs to understand that confidentiality in a major New York law firm means you can't tell anyone anything specific about your (or the company's business) without breaking said confidentiality. No matter how butt hurt your very recent girlfriend might be because you're keeping things from her. As a teacher, I'm not allowed to speak to anyone outside my school about my work or students without being vague and leaving out names and specifics - because that would be a breach of confidentiality. Yet another example of how Georgie probably should get some real-life work experience. Family and relationships don't supersede everything else. That's just not how a work-life balance works in reality.

This was a cute enough book and a quick read, and I absolutely want to check out more of Ms. Laynes's romances. But it was nowhere near as good or satisfying a read as The Hating Game. 

Judging a book by its cover: I don't know if Lauren Layne self-publishes some or all of her novels, but based on this cover, I can only assume this was self-published. If a publishing house actually paid someone to badly photoshop two stock photos of people who really look very little like the protagonists of the story (the male model is especially bad - Andrew doesn't have a beard and is supposed to be ginger), they really should ask for their money back. I actually avoided this book for a long time, exactly because I thought the cover looked so bad.

Crossposted on Cannonball Read.

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