The Roaring Twenties spell opportunity for Audrey McCall, a starlet who’s as irresistible as the illegal booze poured behind every shuttered speakeasy. Her big theater dreams include landing the impossible, a role on Broadway. But she’s fallen in love with handsome Edward Stark, who wants her to be his leading lady and his alone.
Edward’s confessed his love and is ready to embark on a future with Audrey. No more sneaking off to speakeasies and enduring cast parties, where the catcalls of men directed at his main squeeze get under his skin. Wouldn’t Audrey rather become the mother of his children than worry about the next paycheck?
Muddying the waters is the shifty Rex Wyatt, a new playwright in town, who promises to make Audrey a star. If Audrey gets the part of her dreams, she has to take it. There are no second chances in theater. Are there second chances in love?
Audrey McCall has everything a girl in the Roaring Twenties could want: A handsome man who adores her; a life of friends, glitz, and glamour; and rising stardom, oh, so close! If given the choice to keep only one, which would you choose?
Edward Stark, a successful lawyer, is a man obsessed when it comes to Audrey. He buys her expensive gifts, attends every one of her stage performances, surprises her with romantic dinners, picnics, and drives in the country, and he can’t imagine why she isn’t as taken with him as he is with her.
An air of indifference flows easily from Audrey, especially when she sneaks away to join the fun at the neighborhood speakeasy, where Edward wonders why she’s ducked inside “as if she were just another bona fide flapper.”
Although not perfectly suited for each other, their relationship strengthens as this novella moves along at a nice pace. The story draws the reader into a natural understanding that Edward and the stage spotlight can never co-exist, and that’s no secret to Audrey. She’s known it all along. Edward is so perfect — few woman could want more, yet the pull of stardom may be too much for Audrey to refuse, and keeping both is not an option.
The characters are fairly well-developed for a short story, but the backstory reflections were choppy and felt incomplete, i.e., “I’m glad,” he said. Kiss. Kiss. “Sing for me.” Frankly, I’m not sure the flashbacks were needed at all. It seemed almost a waste of time. Instead, I would have preferred the space be dedicated to strengthening the historical elements of the story.
This is a nice quick read and is a standalone book, although it is my understanding that it is a prelude to this author’s debut novel, Return To Me.
If you’re looking for a flash of history in a romance novella, this is an enjoyable read.