Emerson Quinn is famous. Girls want to be her. Boys want to date her. Each record outsells the last. All that remains is to continue transitioning her brand from its teenage fan base to a more mature, diverse audience. So she’s under strict orders to play nice with her army of assigned co-songwriters and to knock off the serial dating that keeps landing her in the tabloids. If she follows instructions, she can look forward to an indefinite run at the top of the celebrity ecosystem. There’s only one problem with this plan: Emerson is miserable.
So she runs away, impulsively fleeing her L.A. life and heading for a small Iowa college town where a guy she once knew lives. He’s the only person in the world she can think of who might be enough of a nerd to not know about Emerson Quinn the brand. Who might be willing to provide a haven where she can lay low and write her new album by herself, on her own terms.
Art history professor Evan Winslow knows a thing or two about leaving your past behind. He’s worked hard to establish himself far from the spotlight of his infamous father. He’s up for tenure soon, which will mean job security for life. All he has to do to lock down his hard-won, blessedly quiet existence is keep his head down.
Too bad the most famous pop star in the world—who also happens to be his long-lost muse—has just shown up on his doorstep.
Being a fan of Jenny Holiday I jumped on the chance to read an early copy of Famous. As you can see from the above blurb this is a rock star romance, Emerson is a famous pop star who is slowly losing herself to managers, song writers and the music industry. What she really craves is the chance to get away from everything and everyone and write the songs she wants in peace and quiet. The only person who she can think of who might possibly be clueless to her famous persona is the man she met at a wedding seven years before. Evan knows her has Emmy, the nineteen year old girl who had big, musical dreams. He believed in her then, and offered to help her if he could and she is finally going to take him up on his offer by showing up at his front door looking for sanctuary.
The only problem is Evan is hiding away in a small town. He’s hiding away from his father’s criminal activities, he’s hiding from the rabid press and he’s hiding his artistic talent and given up painting for good. Of course he’s shocked when the woman he met so long ago suddenly appears on his doorstep, and he has doubts and worries over being thrown back into the public eye if Emmy is discovered in his home, but he can’t say no when he sees how desperately she needs a safe place to rediscover herself.
I think what is so lovely about this romance is that Evan and Emmy connect on such a deep, emotional level. They become friends and confidantes and each other’s safe place. They trust each other. Emmy is a world-famous musician, but Evan sees her for the caring, talented, sometimes insecure woman she is. She becomes his muse, which drives him to take up his brush again to capture her on canvas. Once Emmy is out of the spotlight (the ways she disguises herself are amusing) she finds herself excited to do all the things she can’t when she’s in public as a famous singer. With the help of YouTube she teaches herself to cook and how to hang artwork, she also finally learns to drive and gets to go mall shopping to pick out her own clothes. She finds incredible joy in the simple things in life that because of her celebrity are not open to her. Emmy drinks in small town life and it nourishes her, which in turn allows her creativity to flow out into new and meaningful songs.
In the end both of them have to overcome their fears and have courage. Emmy by standing up to her controlling management and releasing the songs she wrote during her summer with Evan and Evan by letting the world see his art and stepping back into limelight, this time as Emmy’s lover. I liked that their relationship felt balanced and each of them showed growth as the story moved forward. I also liked that they became such good friends before falling into bed. The book ends in a way that left me secure in the fact that they could overcome any odds because they had embraced their strengths and had each other.
Famous is being self-published by Ms. Holiday, but its sequel, which is titled Infamous, will be put out by Riptide Publishing later this year. Final Grade- B
He’d thought of her as his muse all those years ago. And maybe she was. Hell, she definitely was. But now that knowledge was joined by a new and utterly astonishing thought: maybe he was also hers. Maybe a muse wasn’t someone you were attracted to, or compelled by, someone who inspired you just by being. Maybe a muse was someone who, somehow, in a way that only that person can do, created space for you to do your thing. Made you safe.