By Lezlie Patterson
McClatchy-Tribune News Service

“What I Did For Love,” by Susan Elizabeth Phillips; William Morrow (2009), 388 pages, $7.99 (paperback)

If you missed the hardcover edition of Susan Elizabeth Phillips’s “What I Did For Love” a year ago, be sure to pick up the paperback version soon.

It’s a definite must-read. It is pretty much everything the queen of romantic comedy writes. That’s why it’s worth a repeat review a year later.

“What I Did For Love” is another sterling example of how Phillips masterfully ingrains wit and humor with a couple’s delightfully rocky journey to love.

Once again, she gives us splendid nonperfect characters, whose flaws add spice and make us laugh, and latch onto them.

And these characters bear an uncanny resemblance to certain paparazzi celebrities.

See if you recognize this plot.

Georgie is the former star of a hit television series and has spent the past few years making romantic comedy movies. She was married to another movie star, but their storybook romance ended when Brad — oops, make that Lance — divorced her to hook up with a starlet he co-starred with in a movie. He and the gorgeous starlet started making headlines as a couple, as they visited impoverished foreign lands to promote the starlet’s favorite charities.

Georgie struggles to get over the breakup of what she thought was her perfect life, and tires of the pity she gets from fans, family and friends.

She accidentally runs into nemesis Bram, another celebrity and former co-star, while vacationing in Vegas. Bram doesn’t have the best reputation, and he actually thrives on that. Thanks to a couple of drugged drinks, the couple ends up as a couple. And they have to continue to pretend to be together for various reasons.

Of course as they pretend, they discover that fiction sometimes is very close to fact. Georgie learns that Bram has changed, and Bram learns that Georgie can make him very happy.

Some Phillips’ fans will recognize a character or two from an earlier book, “Glitter Baby.” And if you read the preview from her next novel (due out in about a year) it seems like she’s reviving characters from several books for that one. Should definitely be worth the wait.

How it stacks up
Overall rating: 5 of 5 hearts. It’s a perfect romantic comedy with witty dialog and interaction between the hero and heroine, romantic tension, and a happily-ever-after that will make you smile.
Hunk appeal: 10. Some of Bram’s decisions, and past mistakes, spoil some of his appeal, but he does adequately make up for past transgressions. Also, he just is fun to read about.
Steamy scene grade: XXXX. Very fun to read about.
Happily-ever-after: Very good. For all of those who have been wanting Jennifer Aniston to have a happy ending and get the last laugh with her ex-husband and his partner, this one is for you. Georgie definitely ends up on top.
Lezlie Patterson is a former columnist for The State newspaper in Columbia, S.C.

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