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Review: "Celebrities for Breakfast" by Shelley Stout

Celebrities for Breakfast available in our ebook catalog.

Judith Collington lived in Hollywood and made excellent money as a personal shopper to the stars. For the casual observer, her life might be the stuff that dreams are made of, but Judith was itching to get herself and her pre-teen daughter away from all the glitz and phoniness of the entertainment trade. She longed for a job that would allow her time to connect personally with daughter, Shannon, before the latter’s souring attitude went permanently south.

Judith’s perfect escape route came in the form of a job managing a bed and breakfast in Bloomington, Illinois, close to where Judith herself grew up. To sweeten the deal, she had opened negotiations to buy the place from the current owner, whose Aunt Winnie managed the “Innstead” and was ready to retire after she trained the new manager.

Almost immediately Judith’s plans went awry. The suite she was to share with her daughter was not ready, forcing her to allow Shannon to take a private room, and removing the girl from Judith’s watchful eye. Her purchase negotiations were in suspended animation. The next-door neighbors were stranger than most of her Hollywood acquaintances, and Judith’s first customers consisted of a snooty high-maintenance couple (travel writers, no less) and a sleepwalking businessman. And that's not the worst of it.

Soon a big, black SUV arrived and disgorged a seedy, hung over character with a beefy bodyguard and rock star manners. The man, it turns out, is Ren Spencer, a nearly washed-up Hollywood A-lister and coincidentally the one whose pictures line the walls of Shannon’s room.

For the sake of Shannon’s innocence and the paparazzo’s ignorance Judith tries to keep Ren’s presence under wraps, but the latter’s rowdy, uncouth, drunken behavior works against her efforts and his own best interests.

Why is he here? Why on earth would he want to hole up in a B& B in Bloomington, hung over or not? When Ren sobered up enough to discuss his presence, Judith learned that he was her new boss. He won the B&B in a poker game with Winnie's gambling-addicted nephew. Thankfully, Judith did not try to evict Ren, although she thought of it several times when the other guests complained about the noise, the odd hours and the smoking. The smoking complaint led Judith to an even more startling revelation that had nothing to do with Ren. Clearly, this was not the quiet, contemplative life she had visualized for herself and Shannon. In short, it was chaos.

Judith breathed a sigh of relief when a sober, cleaned up Ren left for Colorado to patch things up with the girlfriend over whose departure he had turned to drink. When he returned a reformed man and engaged to his beloved, Judith begin to long for the "good old days" of noise and body odor, when she realized that Ren’s Bridezilla intended to turn the B&B into a quaint wedding chapel with Judith herself as wedding planner.

Consider this a very contemporary novel that turns a little Jane Austen about half way through. (OK, I just discovered Jane Austen, so maybe anything I read sounds like Jane Austen). Told in first person from three different points of view, the reader sees how each character perceives what the others feel, rendering the story at times poignant, at times hilarious, and always entertaining.


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