Bruck offers a novel about a soap opera actor who tries to follow her dreams.
Callie Hart is a caring mother, a loyal girlfriend, and a talented, veteran actor on the soap opera Napa Valley. However, unlike her “fiery, independent” character, Jessica Sinclair, Callie has a penchant for playing it safe, and when she learns that her soap has been canceled, her once-predictable future becomes a great unknown. At the same time, Jonah, her 12-year-old son whom she’s tried to protect from show business, begins to seek his own path, going on auditions without her permission. Meanwhile, Jonah’s irresponsible father, guitarist “Dirty Al” Karpowicz, asks Callie for an increase in his quarterly payments, for which he long ago gave up his parental rights; Jonah doesn’t even know his dad’s identity. Even Callie’s relationship with her current boyfriend, Napa Valley head writer Paul Kinder, grows fraught due to her reluctance to let him deeper into her life. Fortunately, Callie draws inspiration from the love of her loyal fans and learns to tap into her inner Jessica Sinclair. As she tries to save her show, she learns to take even bolder risks in life, opening her eyes to new possibilities for herself and those she loves. Bruck’s story is satisfying from beginning to end, and readers will particularly enjoy watching Callie’s transformation into a hero who rallies her admirers, overcomes adversity, and learns to dream bigger. Although much of the work is playful in tone, Bruck also tackles some serious subject matter along the way, such as the discrimination faced by middle-aged women in entertainment fields. Deftly defying convention, Bruck also gives her protagonist a boyfriend who’s younger than she is but whose eagerness to commit surpasses her own. The fact that Bruck provides the characters, even Dirty Al, with satisfying endings makes the book even more enjoyable.
A fun, frothy tale that will leave readers excited for a sequel.