Love or Something Like It

Deirdre Shaw, Author
Deirdre Shaw, Author . Random $25 (242p) ISBN 978-1-4000-6770-1
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In Shaw's bright and promising first novel, love lures Lacey Brennan from New York to Hollywood, where she and Toby, a TV writer, shack up in a Laurel Canyon cottage. When he proposes, 30-year-old Lacey sees the happily-ever-after she's sought since her parents' divorce, but she's vexed at every turn: the absence of her brother casts a pall over the wedding; the honeymoon is marred by arguments and stomach ailments. Professional life is no rosier: after her editor spikes her tax-evasion exposé, Lacey quits her newspaper job and takes an assistant gig at a lame sitcom. Toby loses his job and wonders aloud, “Maybe I was too young to get married.” First comes marriage counseling, then divorce, after which Lacey coasts into an affair with her egomaniac boss, takes a stab at screenplay writing and tries to unite her family. Only after deciding to move back to Manhattan and adopting a “spring break” attitude toward L.A. does she feel something like satisfaction. Shaw's first novel unfolds easily, with well-crafted prose and vivid detail, and even if some of the interpersonal drama can feel TV-thin, this is a great young-in-L.A. novel. (Apr.)

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