“Summers’ Love” by Stu Summers is not your typical romance. It’s not a typical Cinderella story, either. And yet, it uses many of the typical clichés that are found in romance and comedy, but not in a typical manner.
Kate Winston moves to Georgetown with hopes of making it as a sales rep for Tasmania, a company selling personal protection devices for women. She sells stun guns to women, using the sales techniques usually used for Tupperware and cosmetics. If she can just sell ten more guns, she can win the title of salesman of the year, and a trip to Nassau. But to make those sales, her customers want her to sweeten the deal by including a signed copy of the latest romance novel written by Stu Summers.
Kate leaves the party and rushes down to the local book store where Stu Summers is having a book signing. One look across a crowded room and they both feel the chemistry. She purchases 14 copies of the novel, only to learn that there is a limit of one autograph per customer. Stu signs one copy, and includes a bookmark that gives the address of his rental cottage a few hours away. Mistaking it for a personal invitation, Kate takes her books, and drives to the elite resort, only to learn that the bookmark is nothing more than an advertisement.
Fate is on her side, and she runs into Stu at the resort. Having no place to stay, the sexy author offers to put her up for the night, and they begin getting to know each other. What they share, and what they are really trying to do are two different things. Each is hiding their true intentions and identities from the other, in a scheme that is similar to “How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days”.
While using a bestselling author for a hero in a romance novel has been done to the point of becoming a cliché, this author’s history is not the typical pie in the sky dream. According to the author’s profile on Amazon, much of the information is true. Stu Summers is a real author, and actually published the books mentioned in the story. How much of the character’s career and sex appeal are actual facts is a blurred line only the author can call. Describing himself as the perfect sex symbol is a bit egotistical, but the author’s profile picture isn’t exactly ugly, either.
Instead of the typical plot where the hero writes one book, hits it big, and lives on easy street for the rest of his life, this character’s career is more realistic. He’s a man who scraped his way up from the bottom. He took the classes, joined a critique group, and suffered reams of rejection letters. He’s the perfect, handsome, marketable icon with only one major flaw: he can’t write. Finally, he admits to his lack of talent, and makes a pact with a ghost writer.
Hattie, a good Christian woman with lots of writing talent, but without the marketable image, has been turning out his books for him. Now, she wants to explore a new genre, leaving Stu without a manuscript, a demanding editor, and a breach of contract suit. If Stu wants to save his career, he’ll have to write an entire book in just one week.
Romance readers who enjoy a touch of comedy will enjoy this book. Authors who are frustrated by rejection will be able to identify with the realistic “pay your dues” look at what it really takes to be a best-selling author. Readers who are tired of the Cinderella plot where everything goes right for the heroes will enjoy a reverse take where everything goes wrong, but ends up being right in a better meaning of the word.
The book is well written, very enjoyable, and includes a lot of “oh, no, she/he didn’t do THAT!” moments.