Spangler, Rachel. “In Development”, Brisk Press, 2018.
Cobie Galloway is a film actress whose career had been based upon her playing the girl-next-door on the silver screen. Now that chronologically she is no longer a teen, she feels that she is ready to play mature roles and to do so she realizes that she must appear “edgier” both on the screen and away from it. Lila Wilder is a pop star who is creative and has built a multimedia empire by always knowing what’s hot. Like Cobie, she stands at the door of change now that she is having difficulties keeping her name in the public eye. She is very aware that her love life that had once appeared all over the news is no longer of interest to the masses. (Oh, the troubles of the young and the beautiful).
Cobie and Lila agree to a headline-grabbing “fauxmance” and there are two simple rules that they must always follow— always play by the script and remember that in terms of public perception, nothing is as it seems. Now we have two women looking for love in a world of illusions created by others. Cobie feels that she has been America’s sweetheart for way too long and she really wants to play a liberated lesbian but that requires a complete makeover and a girlfriend. She thinks of Lila who is independent and does what she feels.
Basically, I see this as a story of the search for true happiness and loving, meaningful relationships. While we really never get to know how the two main characters really feel, we do read about their fears and emotions and see that just like everyone else, their lives are filled with contradictions.
It took a while to get into the novel but that is because writer Rachel Spangler spent time building up our characters who truly dominate the story that is written from both Cobie’s and Lila’s points of view. If she had not done this, I doubt the story would have been as successful as it is. And while writing about the author’s craft in character development, I must add that her prose is lyrical as it holds everything together. Little by little, the two women share of themselves with the reader but just enough to keep us guessing. They share amazing chemistry yet both are able to say and do how they feel. Because we get the back-story of the two, we really feel that we understand them even while they go through overhauling their images.
I do realize that I said earlier that we never really know how the two women feel and this might sound contradictory but once you read this you will understand. You will also notice that I have not spent much time on the plot and this is simply because I did not want to give anything away and hurt a wonderful read for others. All that you need in a good romantic novel is here yet adding your own imagination to it makes it that much better.