In a way, reading a book is like watching a movie yet it plays out on the pages. There is no better example of this than It Happened One Fight by Maureen Lee Lenker.
Serving as the debut fiction book from Maureen Lee Lenker, it’s honestly a pop culture lover’s dream especially if you adore Old Hollywood. Of course, if the author’s name looks familiar to you, you might know her as a journalist for Entertainment Weekly.
As someone who visits EW frequently, I’m always reading Lenker’s articles and am very familiar with her work. With that being said, I was incredibly excited to get to read her debut fiction novel. For that, I’d like to thank Sourcebooks Casablanca for sending me an ARC copy of it.
With a concept inspired by Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder, there was no way this book wouldn’t have a sparkle surrounding it.
It Happened One Fight is a sweeping and fun story of Old Hollywood love.
Before getting into the plot of the story, let me just say that this book was inspired by Lenker’s interview with Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder. She said that Winona said she and Keanu were married for real and he went with the joke. From that interview came the idea for It Happened One Fight.
In Lenker’s book, the two characters are Joan Davis, a starlet known as “box office poison” and Dash Howard, a lovable playboy. These two are constantly paired up in films and despite having insane chemistry cannot stand each other. Of course, it all comes to a head when Joan and Dash find out that one of their roles resulted in the two of them actually being married.
The only hiccup in the plan is that Dash and Joan “hate” each other while Joan is also engaged to someone else. To avoid blackmail from a nasty report, the two agree to stay married and even end up working on a film about a divorced couple. With the two being stuck in Reno, the sparks begin to fly.
What originally seemed like hatred turns into passion and these two are unable to hide their attraction for long. The story doesn’t just focus on their romance though as we watch Joan try to deal with rumors and being treated unfairly by everyone in Hollywood while Dash is constantly flirted with and touched by women of all ages. The commentary on Hollywood and its treatment of actors is amazing.
In addition to commenting on that, Lenker also shares a lot of what actors had to deal with and how things aren’t always what they seem. Everyone has a facade they’re showing to the public and we really see Joan and Dash work through why they do that and take back the power, especially towards the end of the story.
It Happened One Fight had so much packed within its pages but that’s not to say everything was perfect. I would have liked a bit more romance as I did enjoy these two but it felt a bit rushed when they finally fell for each other. I also would have loved a bit more groveling because the third-act breakup was so rough.
I found it pretty hilarious that Lenker is an entertainment writer and she made the character with the same job be the villain of the story. Honestly, this book was so much fun and frankly swept me up as I read it in two sittings. The cover is beautiful and it is truly a love letter to Old Hollywood so if you’re looking for some enemies-to-lovers with a dash of Old Hollywood, pick it up.
It Happened One Fight by Maureen Lee Lenker is out now at your favorite bookstore.
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