Reviewed for Wit and Sin
There are some books that make you smile just thinking about them and that’s exactly what Something to Talk About does for me. Meryl Wilsner’s debut won me over with their endearing characters and a lovely slow-burn romance that made me sigh.
Jo is one of my favorite kinds of heroines: the secret softie. Jo is a Hollywood powerhouse with brains, skill, and savvy you have to admire. But even after three decades in Hollywood and a number of Emmys to her name, as a Chinese-American woman Jo still faces racism and sexism constantly, especially now that she’s been announced as the new writer/producer for a James Bond-type franchise. Jo knows how to navigate Hollywood, but she’s had to build high walls to protect herself. Underneath those walls is a marshmallow heart and a spine of steel. Jo shows her caring in actions rather than words and she made me melt more than once. As for Emma… A bisexual Jewish cinnamon roll? Yes, please! Emma is so kind and caring, an emotionally demonstrative heroine who frequently made me smile. She’s got a strong work ethic and is a quick study, but she is unsure of herself when it comes to what direction she wants to move professionally.
As individuals, Jo and Emma are fantastic characters, well-drawn and an endearing mix of strength and vulnerability. Together their chemistry is fabulous and makes the pages of Something to Talk About fly by. The romance between Emma and Jo is extremely slow-burn. Both Jo and Emma are wary of risking their hearts by revealing their feelings. Jo is also very conscious of her position as Emma’s employer and the power disparity that results from that. Added to that she’s aware of the age gap between them and the racist and ageist blowback from some corners of Hollywood that she may face. Emma also faces comments, innuendo, and outright sexual harassment because some people think she slept her way to the top. Given the characters’ histories and the events of the story, the fact that the romance takes so much of the story to build worked for me. Jo and Emma’s love story felt solid by the end of the book, which may sound staid and boring but it’s not; I loved these two together.
Emma and Jo are the heart and soul of the book but the supporting cast rounds out the story and helps bring it to life. I loved Jo’s friendships that were depicted, both with her lifelong best friend, Evelyn, and with Emma’s sister, Avery. And Emma’s relationship with her family – complete with their teasing – warmed my heart. All in all, Something to Talk About is a book that can lift your spirits and make you smile. Jo and Emma are both strong, intelligent heroines with kind hearts that make them easy to root for. Their love story builds piece by piece in an organic way and the result is a lovely, fulfilling romance I cannot wait to enjoy again and again.
FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.