I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Jo was a childhood actor who is making the transition to director and about to take on a new tv show. When a moment on the red carpet with her assistant Emma has gossips wondering if there is more between them, she goes with her standard “no comment”, not wanting anything to jeopardize her career.
Emma is an aspiring director herself and getting to work for Jo has been a dream come true, even when she has to keep her childhood crush she had on Jo a secret. Jo's her boss, there's an age difference, but Emma can't help but think she isn't the only one having feelings that go beyond friendship.
Something To Talk About had a set-up that pulled me into the story, Jo wanting to keep her private life private because of the backlash it could cause in her career, Emma not wanting to ruin a friendship and feeling too insecure to believe her feelings could be reciprocated. This brushing up and then retreating worked to pull the reader into their budding romance and created some good tension in the beginning but then the story started to spin its wheels.
Jo wasn’t sure what it was, exactly, about Emma in her office that helped her. She thought perhaps it was Emma’s sturdiness. Emma was steadfast. To have Emma there, silently accomplishing things—it made Jo’s troubles seem irrelevant.
Jo's background of childhood actor and all the issues that come with that, her coming out not being fully supported by her father, and being a woman in a misogynistic industry made her the more flushed out character to me. These layers helped explain why Jo was more closed off and how she would be tentative to share her feelings and made the angst from her believable. Emma was the character that I felt I didn't know as well. We get some scenes with her sister Avery but they never seemed to click together and the angst from Jo and Avery's relationship that develops didn't quite flow.
Maybe this wouldn’t work. Maybe saying anything was a terrible idea. But these feelings mattered now. The chance that they might be mutual mattered. Emma didn’t know what she was going to say the next day, but she had to say something.
It wasn't until around the 70% mark that I felt there was some significant movement on their physical romance and addressing it. The flow of this story made it feel less like a slow burn romance and more like unmotivated movement. We also get a forced angst moment from Emma, who at this point should know Jo better, and then at the very end we get a fairly unsatisfying “I like kissing you, guess we're doing this!”. There is one sex scene at the very, very end but otherwise there is only around three kisses from these two.
Jo with her insecurities about the age difference (14yrs between the two) and worries over impact on career made her the more flushed out and emotionally easier to connect with than Emma with her lack of more solid characterization. Their relationship took too long to develop for me and lacked some driving force, which caused the story flow to drag and stagnate. There are some issues woven in that I think many will appreciate brought up and connect with and enjoy how Jo and Emma do get their happily ever after despite them all.