Iliana Passing—wife, mother, and former acclaimed journalist—gave up her career to start a family. Almost fifteen years later, despite how much she loves her husband and kids, she can’t help wondering how she ended up with a life spent carpooling and running errands.
Ready to get back into the journalism game, Iliana searches for an exciting lead. When she discovers that Jeff Downs, the heartthrob star of an old TV show and her girlhood crush, now owns a nearby textile company, she thinks she’s found her story: teen celebrity and its aftermath. But as Iliana gets to know Jeff, the two grow closer than she ever could’ve imagined. Now that her teenage dream has walked into her present-day reality, how far will she go to entertain an old fantasy?
The cover of this book looked pretty cool and I was really looking forward to reading the book. For some reason, I kept pushing it to the back of the pile – yes, there’s a pile of books for me to read. I was really wanted to read it, but had other books with closer deadlines, but overall, I knew it just had to be a great story and a quick read.
The story is about wife and mother, Iliana Passing, who pretty much gave up her career to pursue the dream of having a husband, a home, and a family. While she has everything she wanted, she still finds herself discontent in the fact that she gave up her writing career. It’s a common story as far as I can tell. I know so many women that put their career dreams aside and took care of their family. I know so many of those same women who dream about breaking away, reliving the past, and chasing that golden apple. The problem with Iliana’s story is that she starts with one little lie and finds herself escalating the little lie into something much bigger.
When Iliana’s husband is introduced into the story, I immediately formed a dislike to him because of his selfish and self-centered ways. I felt like he took Iliana for granted and wasn’t treating her like a wife, but instead, his assistant or even worse, his servant. That in itself isn’t enough reason to lie to the guy though, and I chalked the lies up to the fact that Iliana was having some sort of an identity crisis. Since Iliana had always convinced herself that when her kids were grown and she wasn’t needed so much, she would and could always go back to her career.
Fifteen years later, Iliana starts to reach out to people she knew in the past in the field of journalism but no one is biting. She then realizes that she’s got to find a way to fight her way back into the career, and that’s when she comes up with the idea of pursuing her old high school crush, Jeff Downs. Jeff is an actor on television on a show Iliana used to watch. She wonders what ever happened to Jeff so she starts doing a little digging. Her idea is that if she finds Jeff Downs and does a “movie star” interview with him, she’ll have something to offer a magazine to get back in business.
Iliana is able to locate Jeff Downs and that’s where this story begins. What starts out as a simple interview turns into so much more than Iliana could have ever bargained for. This is a business venture that tempts the boundaries of right and wrong, of fact and fiction. Iliana has a hard time separating real life from her old life of being in love with this television actor. As secrets come out, Iliana discovers that living the high life isn’t what it seems and even more revealing is the fact that former heartthrobs aren’t what they claim to be. This review is not intended to be a spoiler, so I”m not going to tell you how it turns out.
The story was great, the book was a quick read, and I enjoyed the book despite the fact that it was sometimes predictable. The characters are well-developed, the plot was relatable and amusing while at the same time it was truthful. While I didn’t give up a career to raise a family, I could still relate to the main character and her struggles, which made for good reading.
Barbara Solomon Josselsohn is a New York-based novelist and freelance writer. Her articles and essays appear in a range of publications, including Consumers Digest, The New York Times, Parents Magazine, American Baby, Westchester Magazine, The Journal News, and Westchester Home, as well as online at BrainChildMag.com, ConsumerSearch.com and GrownandFlown.com. Barbara also teaches adult writing classes at the Scarsdale Library in Scarsdale, New York, and conducts a magazine writing course for children each summer at the Scarsdale-based JCC-Midwestchester. She is a frequent presenter at local writing workshops for children.
Barbara began her career as a reporter and editor with HFN, a trade magazine covering the home furnishings business. She has a B.A. in English from Binghamton University and an M.A. in English from the University of Connecticut, and has studied fiction writing at Sarah Lawrence College and Manhattanville College. She and her husband live in Westchester County, New York, and have three children and a lovable shih-poo. She is currently working on her second novel. You can find her on the web at http://www.barbarasolomonjosselsohn.com/.