I absolutely love stories that take the reader behind the scenes on the making of a movie or TV show, so the second-chance romance Twice in a Blue Moon definitely hooked me in. It’s about an actress, Tate Jones, whose big career break happens to be a starring role in a movie written by Sam Brandis, the man who’d broken her heart fourteen years ago when she was eighteen.
I loved the relationship between Tate and Sam, and how the authors managed to make Sam do something that’s both utterly unforgiveable yet also completely understandable. As Sam says at one point, the worst thing he ever did was for the best reason he ever had. While that kind of statement often strikes me as a pathetic excuse, this is one situation where it’s actually true. Up until Sam and Tate meet again, I honestly thought that the incident that broke them up years ago would turn out to be a big misunderstanding, because I couldn’t imagine how Tate would be able to trust Sam again after such a major betrayal. I’m glad the authors decided to keep Sam truly responsible for that betrayal, because it made for a much richer, more emotionally complex romance.
There’s a point where Tate states that she hates what Sam did to her in the past because it completely changed the trajectory of her life and made it impossible for her to trust anyone again, Yet, she also admits in frustration that after knowing why he did it, she can’t completely hate him anymore. I absolutely love this emotional tension within her, because it feels so true, and it really puts up a somewhat insurmountable-but-maybe-not hurdle that the hero and heroine have to make a conscious decision to move past in order to achieve their happily ever after.
There’s also a subplot about Tate’s father, who’s both a total asshole and a sad little man struggling to remain relevant. I hated him as much as I loved the role his character played, because he gave both Tate and Sam a common villain to band against. He belittled Tate’s talents in such a passive-aggressive manner that it took a while to realize why something he said was actually an insult, and he constantly took credit for her accomplishments. He was basically riding her coattails to reclaim his own fading stardom, and it’s a testament to the strength of Tate’s relationships with her friends that her confidence wasn’t more affected than it was.
The movie making itself was fantastic. I loved the story Sam wrote, and how it was connected to the story of his own family. I thought the awkwardness of the filmed sex scene felt true-to-life, as I can imagine just how unsexy it must be to film something like that. I could have done without the red herrings of other love interests (Tate’s co-star and a woman Sam speaks to on the phone), especially since those plot threads were dismissed fairly quickly. But most of all, I loved the secondary characters, especially Tate’s co-star (hot and charming, but totally professional and friendly), her best friend (funny and fiercely loyal — TBH, I was hoping for a romance between her and the hot co-star), and her manager (smart and savvy, but he also genuinely cares for Tate’s welfare — I wanted much more of him).
Thank you to Simon and Schuster Canada for an e-galley in exchange for an honest review.