Love Unscripted by Tina Reber is fairytale-esque in it’s plot, as it features a famous actor who sweeps a regular, small-town girl off her feet.
The story begins as the handsome young actor Ryan Christensen is filming a blockbuster movie in the small town in Rhode Island. He’s a big-time movie star, and his fans have followed him across the country in an effort to win his attention.
Ryan is not entirely comfortable with all of the attention he receives, and as he’s running from fans one day he ducks into Taryn’s bar, which happens to be closed at the time. She helps Ryan hide out from his crazed fans for a few hours, and eventually a friendship begins to grow between the pair.
Right away, the reader is forced to deal with the juxtaposition of expectations and reality. For example, as a hot-shot movie star, the reader expects Ryan to be a narcissistic jerk. In reality, he’s a down-to-earth simple guy who just likes to act and wants to be left alone. In some ways, he’s afraid of the spotlight and he just wants to have a normal life.
Taryn, on the other hand, is a broken and insecure shell of her old self when she meets Ryan. She barely knows who he is when he steps into her bar, and she isn’t looking for any type of relationship. She’s still trying to get past her last heartbreak — which she suffered at the hands of a cheating fiancé — when Ryan sweeps her off her feet.
But the relationship with Ryan is difficult for Taryn, simply because he’s constantly surrounded by beautiful actresses and models — many of whom he has to kiss during filming. Taryn is sure that one day Ryan will bore of her and stray, and an internal struggle erupts within her. It sticks around for the end of the book.
Meanwhile, Ryan has a few relationship issues of his own. He was previously dating a movie star co-worker when he discovered that she’d been cheating on him with another movie star, and Ryan’s jealousy issues become apparent rather quickly.
The entire combination is nearly too much for the reader to handle — especially when the length of the book is considered. At 706 pages, Love Unscripted needs more than constant insecurity issues to keep it moving. And with Ryan and Taryn, that’s all the reader gets.
Taryn does have a great group of friends and a wonderful support system around her, but the reader doesn’t get to know any of those characters enough to have any type of emotional connection with them. This story is all Ryan and Taryn, all the time, with very few scenes featuring other characters. No subplots. No outside stories. It’s simply a power struggle between a man and a woman, each of whom wants to prove to the other that he or she is trustworthy.
In addition, the story is told entirely from Taryn’s point of view, which becomes a little cumbersome at times. It would be nice to hear Ryan’s thoughts once in a while, and because of the length, Love Unscripted really needs some varied voices. Before too long, Taryn’s repeated whining becomes wooden, predictable and downright irritating.
Finally, there is very little rising action in the book. The hero and heroine profess their love for one another before the two-hundredth page, so the tension element is removed fairly early in the story. From there, the reader gets nearly 400 pages of quick spats and even quicker makeups before a real problem erupts in the last 100 or so pages. The entire book is simply too much of the same with poor pacing throughout.
Sandra Johnson is a long-time freelance writer, a mother of one and an avid sports fan. When she isn't writing, reading, spending time with her daughter or watching sports, you will find her running, biking and swimming.