Someday Soon by Janelle Taylor
(Zebra, $6.99, R) ISBN 0-8217-5946-9
****
I know that Janelle Taylor's westerns are very popular with many readers, but I've never really understood their appeal. I've tried three, maybe four, of her books, and never been able to finish a one. (This is very unusual for me since I have this strange compulsion to finish any book I start.) Thus, I am somewhat surprised to see the 4 Hearts at the beginning of this review.

But Someday Soon passed my "pick up/put down" test with flying colors. Even in the midst of Christmas madness and final exam week, I found myself reaching for the book whenever I had a free moment. Maybe I'm a sucker for "Hollywood" books; maybe I needed the pure escapism that the book offers. But this contemporary romance is the first Taylor that I have enjoyed and I enjoyed it a lot.

The heroine is Camilla (Cammie) Merrill, an actress with a continuing role in a night time soap. She is about to be written out of the show, thanks at least in part to the machinations of her smarmy ex, Paul. Paul, who dreams of playing in the Hollywood big leagues, tells her that he is really doing her a favor. The hottest film producers want her for a juicy role in their next film. But there is one catch; they want Tyler Stovall to play the male lead and they think that Cammie is the one to lure him back to Hollywood. Her getting the part depends on her finding the missing Ty.

Ten years earlier Tyler had been the Leonardo DiCaprio of his day. He had become a mega star and a teeny bopper heart throb, rivaling the popularity of his matinee idol father, Samuel. Then, he had simply disappeared. No one knows where he fled, but his reappearance would be a public relations triumph.

Why Cammie? Well, her mother had been Sam Stovall's second (or was it third?) wife, and for several years, Cammie and Ty had been step-siblings and had been very close. But when the marriage had ended and Ty seemed to take his father's side, the two had lost contact. What no one knows is that one night, right before his disappearance, Cammie had visited Ty, found him desperately unhappy and drowning his sorrows with scotch, and, when he reached for her seeking comfort, she had not resisted.

This one night had been a defining moment for Cammie, although she doubts that Ty even remembered what had happened. But the promised role ignites in Cammie a need to find out what has happened to the man whom she has been unable to forget. And when Sam offers her the chance to find him (Sam has finally tracked his son down), she decides to seek him out.

Tyler has spent the past ten years in a small town in British Columbia. He had fled the corruption and betrayals that characterize life in tinsel town. Ty has established a life for himself but has begun to wonder if he is ready to resume his own identity. Thus, Cammie's arrival on his doorstep provides the catalyst for his reevaluating his life. He also finds that the love he felt for the teenager has become something more when he confronts the lovely woman she has become.

Cammie discovers that her feelings for Ty have not changed. But she faces a dilemma. While she sought Ty out for his own sake, there is the fact that she seems to have had an ulterior motive: the promised role. Will he understand? And when Sam appears script in hand, Ty seems to see it as one more betrayal. Can she convince him that she truly loves him?

There is a lot more to this story as well. Taylor makes good use of flashbacks to explain and illuminate the characters' feelings and behavior. We understand both Cammie's feelings and Ty's actions. And she paints a fine picture of the feeding frenzy that accompanies fame these days.

Taylor also creates a fine cast of secondary characters. The most compelling is Samuel Stovall, a man of enormous ego whose selfishness is legendary but who ends up strangely likable. Ty's coming to terms with his father is key to his ability to accept himself and his future.

In many ways, Someday Soon resembles a Hollywood soap opera. There is scarcely a plot device that Taylor doesn't use. But she kept me turning the pages and provided me with the diversion I needed when all those blue books and all the pressures of shopping and baking and wrapping were getting to me. If you need diversion and pure escapism, Someday Soon may be just the prescription for the winter blahs.

--Jean Mason


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