Away from the Spotlight by Tamara Carlisle
Publication Date: June 3, 2012
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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In the closing weeks of law school, Shannon Sutherland meets handsome and charming Englishman Will MacKenzie. Initially swept off her feet, Shannon finds that Will has a secret that, once discovered and the consequences realized, could destroy their fledgling relationship. Will and Shannon take great pains to have a normal relationship but, ultimately, find it impossible to do so. Will the pressures of their careers and the temptations of others drive Will and Shannon apart? Can Will and Shannon live a happy life away from the spotlight?
Tamara Carlisle takes you on a romantic ride that explores the consequences of fame and a love that endures all.
As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.
Holly: I recently came across this review while doing some site maintenance. I’d forgotten all about this book. I think I must have blocked it out, because wow. What a bunch of WTFery.
Warning: This is more a rant than a review and it is FILLED WITH SPOILERS and DIRTY WORDS!
I planned to stop this at around 150 pages. Then I read some spoilers for the end. I decided I needed to read it myself to see if it was as bad as the reviews claimed. This book is 56 chapters. That’s a lot of chapters. And trust me, I felt every.single.one.
Let me sum up the first 5 chapters for you: Law School Student meets sexy boy in bar. He seems way into her but skirts around what he does for a living, even when she asks directly. Turns out boy is a Movie Star. He wanted her to love him for him, so he kept it a secret. For 3 weeks. Until she saw his picture in a tabloid with his current leading lady. She confronts him. He swears he was going to tell her! Probably. Maybe. Someday..
After no groveling on his part, she takes him back. Then he tells her he loves her. 3 weeks in. There’s a guy at work she was sort of crushing on but he had a girlfriend. Movie Star is jealous of work dude even though she tells him not to be.
From there it’s 45 chapters of:
Heroine: I’m not good enough for you! You’re a movie star and you’re surrounded by beautiful women!
Hero: I’m not good enough for you! You’re all smart and educated and stuff. I didn’t even go to university. Besides, you’re gorgeous.
Heroine: No I’m not.
Hero: Yes you are.
Heroine: No I’m not. You are.
Hero: No I’m not. You are!
Heroine: No, you.
Hero: No you. I love you!
Heroine: I love you more!
Then the paparazzi find out they’re dating and start stalking her. They call her work and harass her and almost run her off the road. He breaks up with her because he’s ruining her life. Never mind that she says she loves him and is willing to deal because it’s his life. He did this BY PHONE then REFUSED TO SEE HER FOR MONTHS. She sees him in a bar with TWO GIRLS on his lap. TWO. The next day he shows up at her place. He says “I thought I could live without you but I can’t. Lets go get married. Right now.” and she says “ok!”
So they go get married. Like, the day after they get back together. Which made their total time together – including breakup – like, three month. Or something.
Also? There are no sex scenes in this book. None. 56 chapters in 400+ pages and not even a slap and tickle to distract me from the WTF. I’m not saying I need sex scenes in every book I read. But at least give me a little tickle if I’m going to get the slap. Yannow?
..they all lived Happily Ever After….
….except they didn’t live Happily Ever After for very long, because 6 years after they get married the Movie Star dies in a car accident. No shit. That actually happened. I spent HOURS of my life slogging through 52 CHAPTERS of CRAPPY EMO ANGST for him to DIE IN A CAR ACCIDENT.
But wait. There’s more.
Throughout the book there was the guy at her work who crushed on her. Much relationship angst was had because of him. Guess what? He shows up two years after the funeral and…dun dun dun.. he’s getting a divorce! And…dun dun dun..he’s still in love with her! And! It just so happens he has a son just the same age as hers. This is, like, kismet!
She’s been dreaming of dead guy for years. Vivid sexy-times dreams. 1st time she sleeps with new guy, she dreams of dead guy again. Yes. You read that right. She has dream-sex every night with one guy while going to bed with another. Alrighty then.
She feels guilty for betraying dead guy by being with alive guy. Dead guy says not to. They can still be together in dreams.
“From then on I would fall asleep in John’s arms and wake up in Will’s.”
Did I take the blue pill? Because I feel like I took the blue pill.
But wait, we’re not done yet!
The new husband? He dies, too! Which, you know, makes sense.. in the alternate universe this author lives in. That night when she falls asleep the first dead husband is there. She asks if she gets to see second dead husband in her dreams, too? First dead guy says “just this once”.
Second dead husband says,
“I want you to be with Will because I know he’s your soul mate.”
What the fuck is even happening? I THOUGHT WILL WAS DEAD?!?! How can she be with him if HE’S DEAD?!?!
They (her and 2nd dead guy) make love. Then 2nd dead guy gets dressed and leaves to find his soul mate. 1st dead guy shows up and snuggles her. Because they’re soul mates and meant to be together. Forever. So, it’s like totally ok that she’s still full of semen from the other guy, right? Right.
She continues to dream of Will, the first dead husband, for like the next 50 years.
Then she dies (when she’s 80-something) and yep, he’s waiting for her. He tells her they’re now going to be together forever and they walk off into the sunset..or ether..or whatever.
“Are you ready for forever now?”
“Then, yes. Let’s go.”
He took my hand. “I’ll love you forever.”
People. Seriously. That’s what happened. I could not make this shit up.
Honestly? I’m at a loss for words. I don’t even know how to process what happened there at the end. I admit I felt a little like Alice must have after she fell down the rabbit hole. I kept wondering if someone had slipped something into my tea. The WTF factor with this book is huge.
I wish I could say I laughed it off in the end, but honestly I feel a little traumatized. Like I witnessed a trainwreck and the images won’t leave my head. I might need vodka. Or a hug-yourself jacket. Or both.
The next time I read a spoiler and feel like I need to investigate for myself, remind me of this book, will you? Obviously I need someone to save me from myself.
1 out of 5
*I read this book back in April and wrote the review then. I just forgot to post it. I live-tweeted as I was reading and saved the tweets here. You’re welcome to
share my pain read them if you want to be tortured like.