Catherine McKenzie Spins a Great Story
Though Kate Sanford has thirty years under her belt, what she really needs is thirty days of rehab. Luckily fate intervenes to procure the much needed treatment when she shows up completely drunk to a coveted journalist interview. It's no surprise when the magazine writes her off for that position, but they have another opportunity in mind: go to rehab (undercover) to spy on the latest it-girl actress Amber Sheppard. If she gets the goods on Amber, Kate may win her prized job.
What a catchy plot! I've wanted to read this since reading the blurb, and Harper Collins made that easier when they released the novel in the U.S.
Believing she doesn't need treatment (just like every alcoholic) but desperately wanting the job, Kate agrees to the undercover assignment. The slow dawning of realization about her addiction was interesting to read. I also enjoyed the added complexity of the whirlwind surrounding Amber, including the paparazzi stalking every move and her disdainful hot actor ex-boyfriend Connor. Amber is a typical actress who relies on the audience's applause for her self-worth, and believes she should be dating Connor simply because he's cool.
At the beginning Amber seems obnoxious and entitled, but as Kate gets to know her they forge a tentative friendship. My favorite part of the story is Kate's ethical dilemma--should she write a tell-all expose about her new friend once they get out of rehab?
When Connor shows up at the same rehab facility, with his personal assistant Henry, things get even more interesting. Henry isn't an alcoholic but he has an addiction of another kind, which adds some depth to the story. Henry and Kate begin flirting, and there's a hint of reuniting between Amber and Connor.
I read this novel quickly and felt satisfied by how Ms. McKenzie resolves Kate's ethical conflict. I would've liked a bit more explanation of Kate's family dynamics and why she chose to leave home so abruptly. The author strikes just the right tone for characterizing the heroine of the story--at times she's not very likable but her journey toward becoming a better person is compelling and strong.