I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.The Decent Proposal by Kemper Donovan
Published by HarperCollins on April 5, 2016
Genres: Romantic Comedy, Women's Fiction
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A struggling Hollywood producer, Richard Baumbach is twenty-nine, hung-over, and broke. Ridiculously handsome with an innate charm and an air of invincibility, he still believes good things will come his way. For now he contents himself with days at the Coffee Bean and nights with his best friend Mike (that’s a woman, by the way).
At thirty-three, Elizabeth Santiago is on track to make partner at her law firm. Known as “La Máquina” The Machine—to her colleagues, she’s grown used to avoiding anything that might derail her quiet, orderly life. And yet recently she befriended a homeless man in her Venice neighborhood, surprised to find how much she enjoys their early-morning chats.
Richard and Elizabeth’s paths collide when they receive a proposal from a mysterious, anonymous benefactor. They’ll split a million dollars if they agree to spend at least two hours together—just talking—every week for a year. Astonished and more than a little suspicious, they each nevertheless say yes. Richard needs the money and likes the adventure of it. Elizabeth embraces the challenge of shaking up her life a little more. Both agree the idea is ridiculous, but why not?
The Decent Proposal was just that, a decent read. There was nothing blatantly wrong with it, but it did not have the hook I was looking for to really draw me in. Richard and Elizabeth are strangers who meet for the first time in a lawyers office. There, they are told that they will each receive $500,000 in a year’s time as long as they get together and talk once a week. At first these two have nothing in common, but then they start to connect and have to learn if the path they are following is true or manufactured by outside influences.
I enjoyed the plot Kemper Donovan created. It is an interesting take on blind dating and combined a meet cute with a bit of mystery. Donovan’s writing was clean and conveyed the story well. The pacing had a few weak spots, at times it dragged, then evened out and then it would ramp up a little too quickly. The world built was solid, although a few times it lacked cohesion. The emotions were there, but they were more low key than I would have liked. The characters were where I had the most issues. I loved the mains, but their sidekicks were both overbearing and obnoxious and I would have preferred less attention on them and more on Richard and Elizabeth.
The premise was cute and I enjoyed the interplay between the two main characters. However the other characters dragged the story down by siphoning attention away. This did not make The Decent Proposal a bad read, it just dragged a great story to a good story. The big reveal was also a little lacking as in the scope of the story it never quite made sense. Kemper Donovan’s debut was a cute read that suffered a few issues. But the heart of the story worked and I did love the main characters. The Decent Proposal was a step above the average and Donovan has potential to be a very successful author if the true heart of the story comes across more.
Favorite lines – …except that it wasn’t so easy to throw this thought away. Instead, he had an unwelcome moment of clarity amid his fuzzy, drunken state. Usually he loved these instances, like a shaft of sunlight breaking through the clouds of inebriation and illuminating an insight by way of contrast—one that never would have been visible in a clearer, sober state of mind—but this time he shied away from the brightness and waited for the clouds to return. The light, however, remained. It had to be confronted.
Biggest cliché – It’s all about the money.
Have you read The Decent Proposal, or added it to your TBR?
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- 2016 Diverse Books Reading Challenge
- 2016 New Release Challenge
- Mount TBR Reading Challenge
- Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge
- The Goodreads Challenge