Breathing Room

by

Author: Phillips, Susan Elizabeth

Title: Breathing Room

Genre: Romance

Publication Date: 2002

Number of Pages: 369

Geographical Setting: Tuscany, Italy

Time Period: Contemporary

Series: N/A

Plot Summary:

It seems as though Dr. Isabel Favor’s life is falling apart when her fiance leaves her, her accountant steals her money and leaves her to pay over 1 million in back taxes, and her self-help empire comes crumbling down. Everything that she has worked so hard for has slipped between the cracks, so when a friend offers up a cottage in Tuscany for a few months, Isabel sees this as a chance to start over. Before entering Tuscany, she spends a night in Florence, where she meets a handsome Italian man, Lorenzo. Isabel goes against everything she believes in and has a one night stand with the sexy stranger. Much to both of their dismay, after Isabel arrives to her farmhouse cottage she discovers the hunk she had a one night stand with is her landlord. And he is not the Italian stranger he pretended to be, but an American bad boy movie star, Ren Gage. Isabel tries to her resist her obvious attraction to the sexy movie star before finally succumbing to her desires to be with him. The two plan to make the relationship strictly sexual, but that can prove more difficult than planned.  Things are complicated when Ren and Isabel try to figure out a secret the town seems to be hiding from them.  Ren’s ex-wife also shows up one day with her five children to escape her husband who she believes to be cheating on her.  This book explores a new, steamy romance, as well as love and complications in marriage.

Subject Headings: Fiancés, Loss (Psychology), Women psychologists, Americans in Tuscany, Sexuality, Desire, Men/women relations, Film actors and actresses

Appeal: funny, steamy, fast-paced, engaging, romantic, moving, passionate, insightful, strong sense of place, sympathetic characters, accessible language, resolved ending

3 Appeal terms to best describe book: passionate, funny, engaging

3 Fiction read-alikes:

I’m In No Mood For Love by Rachel Gibson. Much like Isabel, After Clare Wingate finds her fiancé having an affair she finds herself with a sexy journalist who is nothing like her.  This funny and sexy story follows Clare as she decides whether or not she loves or hates her new lover and his carefree and commitment-free lifestyle.

Strange Bedpersons by Jennifer Cruise. This humorous contemporary romance follows Tess Newhart and her ex-boyfriend Nick, as she pretends to be his fiancé on a weekend business trip.  Like Isabel and Ren, these two find that opposites do in fact attract.

Houston, We Have A Problem by Erin McCarthy. This humorously written novel follows Dr, Houston Hayes as he tries to have a one night stand with his resident Josie, and inevitable complications follow.

3 Non-fiction read-alikes:

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. Like Isabel, the author of this book heads to Italy, and other exotic locations after a failed relationship.  Eat, Pray, Love also contains humor, romance, and enlightenment.

The Italian Affair by Laura Fraser. The author of this memoir moves to Italy after the devastating news that her husband has left her for her high school sweetheart.  She begins a steamy love affair with a married professor. This book is filled with rich descriptions of European countries, humor, and insight into understanding one’s self.

Helping Me Help Myself: One Skeptic, Ten Self-Help Gurus, and A Year on the Brink of the Comfort Zone by Beth Lisick.  Dr. Isabel Favor is a self-help guru whose life falls apart despite following her own rules.  In this perceptive humorous book, the author explores the self-help world to see what works and what doesn’t.

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