Thanks to the publisher & Netgalley for the complimentary e-ARC. All opinions provided are my own.
The 1930s Hollywood setting & the enemies to lovers vibe of the costars described in the summary of Maureen Lee Lenker’s It Happened One Fight lured me like a siren song. Like a SIREN SONG.
& while some aspects of this book are fun, you guessed it—there are some other things that had me going WHAT.
First, the fun things:
the setting. This feels very much like watching a classic movie, from the clothes & the pencil mustache of the hero, to the heroine’s very dramatic reactions when she’s angry, to even the dialogue. The only other romances I’ve seen in this setting are Amanda Quick’s Burning Coves & I just love how this time & place come across the page.
the premise: costars who realize they have accidentally been married while making a movie. They have to live in Reno together making their next movie so they can meet stipulations for a faster NV divorce. Doesn’t this sound so good?!
the heroine’s inspired by Joan Crawford & Bette Davis, & I enjoyed that she is a Movie Star (capital M, capital S) & that she is not ashamed of her past, as she says to characters repeatedly.
the sex positivity & the fact that the book is very aware of the specific challenges of being a woman in Hollywood, whether it’s acting or writing.
What doesn’t work for me so much:
I have issues &/or quibbles with the conflict, the breakup, and the reconciliation. The book starts off strong for me but by the middle & end it takes a turn & left me with some less pleasant emotions. I don’t love the conflict, the breakup lasts for 8 months (what?!?!?!), & I wanted more from the grovel / apology moment.
I think that It Happened One Fight is one of those YMMV books. It isn’t an unqualified winner for me but I do think there’s a lot of potential here…but please, for the love of Oscar, no breakups that are this long.
3⭐️. Out 07/11.
CWs: Misogyny in Hollywood. Joan is often physical or attempts to be physical when she’s mad. Hypermasculinity. Joan was in a stag film years ago & it’s used as blackmail against her. Dash was left by his first wife & that history is used as blackmail. For much of the book Joan is engaged in a marriage of convenience to someone.
Give me that HEA, please.
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