This whirlwind comedy/drama, Dineen’s debut, centers on Lila Montgomery and her high school crush, a hilarious cat fight with a Hollywood starlet and her award-winning romance novel nobody knows about.
Thirty-two-year-old Lila is single and bored, working as a personal assistant to a sex-crazed, crooked Hollywood agent. Fed up with her job and unfulfilled in her lonely, childless life, she spends her free time writing explicit romance fantasy stories under the pseudonym Jasmine Sheath. When an invitation to her 15-year high school reunion comes in the mail, she decides to leave California for three weeks and spend some time figuring her life out in the comfort of her Illinois hometown. Drama ensues when famous actress Melinda Forrester—recently nominated for an Oscar for her depiction of a drug-addicted hooker and college student who becomes an Olympic track star—sues Lila for spreading rumors about her promiscuity. To complicate matters further, Jasmine Sheath’s publisher is requiring her to do a book signing in her hometown, revealing her true identity to the world. On top of that, Melinda’s lawyer in the lawsuit is none other than Lila’s high school crush. Dineen’s novel is packed with campy twists that thicken the plot while propelling it into absurdity. Dineen splices Lila’s story with the fantasy she wrote as Jasmine Sheath, which, despite its being a comical allegory for the “real world” drama, can get confusing. However, if understood as a satire of romance novels and Hollywood drama, the ridiculousness becomes fairly intriguing as this fun, quick read examines the envies and dissatisfactions in women’s lives, reassuring readers that no one’s life is truly perfect.
An amusing, ultimately heartwarming romp through the ridiculousness of tabloid gossip and hometown comforts.