by Nora Roberts

May 1999
ISBN: 0-553-29078-9
Reviewer Graphic Button Bantam Books
Mass Market Paperback

Warning: do not start this book unless you are prepared to spend the rest of the day (or night) with it until it's finished! Nora Roberts has defined the "couldn't-put-it-down" genre with Genuine Lies, a tale of epic proportions. And epic is exactly the right word, given that Eve Benedict, aging superstar, is involved!

When Eve decides the time has come to write her tell-all biography, she enlists the help of writer Julia Summers. Julia hesitantly agrees to bring herself and her son Brandon to Eve's Hollywood estate for as long as it takes to get the book done. A single mom and successful east coast biographer, Julia is used to dealing with the glitterati, and is unimpressed with many of the members of Eve's entourage including Paul Winthrop, who is both a mystery writer and Eve's stepson.

As one can imagine, a biography in Hollywood makes a lot of people break out in a sweat (an elegant sweat of course), and Eve goes out of her way to let the world know this is a no holds barred accounting of her life. Unfortunately, along with the sweat comes the dirty little secrets, and Julia is up to her eyebrows in intrigue, both present and past, before she can say "Rodeo Drive". Unwillingly drawn to the handsome Paul Winthrop, Julia fights against her instincts to let her guard down with this man - she's been hurt before!

As Paul and Julia's romance builds, so does the tension in this book. It seems that many people are desperate to stop this biography by fair means or foul, and Julia must be on her guard against all kinds of treachery and deception. Should she also guard her heart from Paul Winthrop? It would spoil the book should this review delve further into the storyline; suffice it to say that a wonderful cast of characters is in place, from the aging lovelorn male star, to the thoroughly nasty crime syndicate boss, all the way to the inept wastrel who is Eve's nephew. Revelations of sexual perversions, aborted love affairs and sordid scandals pervade Julia's research and the surprises that are revealed towards the end of this book are truly unexpected twists of fate!

Julia is a smart woman with a great deal of common sense, which is a delight to those of us who are slightly tired of the "nitwit" kind of heroine. Although this is definitely a romance, Julia's relationship with Eve is almost as interesting and multi-layered as her involvement with Paul. He is definitely a charmer - one could wish that this story would become a movie because mention is made of Paul's slight British accent and it would be wonderful to hear that voice seducing Julia! This seems to be a very visual kind of tale - from Nora Robert's words comes a vivid picture of life in the fast lane and one can almost smell the fragrance from the gardens around Eve's estate. I couldn't stop until I'd finished this book; if you have the time, let yourself get lost in Julia's world - you'll be amazed at how seductively you are lured in!

Reviewed in September 2001 by Celia.

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