by Deborah Fletcher Mello, contemporary (2013)
Kimani, $6.25, ISBN 978-0-373-86293-1
Passionate Premiere could have been interesting. It features a hero, Guy Boudreaux, who despite being black and sports dreadlocks, manage to make a successful splash as the new James Bond. The heroine, Dahlia Marrow, is an actress determined to secure funding and produce the movie of her dreams despite meeting resistances from the bigwigs in Hollywood due to her sex and skin color. They meet when he's hired to star in the lead of her movie, and sparks fly on set.
Both characters are intelligent, confident, successful, and passionate. Under any other circumstances, they are well-matched both inside and outside the bedroom. So what happened?
Well, it's the same problem that blankets too many books published recently under the Kimani imprint: an absence of compelling plot or any reason to keep me turning the pages. There is some predictable "Is there another woman?" drama late in this story, which isn't anything interesting to begin with. but for the most part it's just two dull perfect characters striking a pose. These characters are amazing, they are surrounded by equally amazing friends that are almost their clones, and there is no suspense because it's so obvious that these pretty and perfect people will never fail at anything they do.
Still, the author presents a more realistic picture of Hollywood than most romances that make that place the setting for the story. Sure, it's a rosy and sometimes idealized version of Hollywood, and Dahlia occasionally becomes the "only nice girl in Hollywood" stereotype, but on the whole, the setting feels plausible instead of something created from the fantasy of someone who only watched movies from the 1940s.
Alas, at the end of the day, the story in Passionate Premiere is too colorless for its own good. Ah well. Some credible emotional drama could have really shaken things up a bit.
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