The Decent Proposal
An addictively readable debut romantic comedy, drama, and mystery rolled into one, about two very different strangers whose lives become intertwined when they receive an unusual proposition. This is a funny, tender, and enchanting story about love, attraction, and friendship: Jane Austen in Los Angeles.
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?
What ensues is a delightful journey full of twists, revelations, hamburgers, classic literature, poppy music, and above all love, in its multitude of forms. The Decent Proposal is a heartfelt and often hilarious look at the ties that bind not just a guy and a girl but an entire, diverse cast of characters situated within a modern-day Los Angeles brought to full and irrepressible life.
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Delightful…Peopled by appealing characters and filled with lush descriptions of the diverse L.A. landscape, Donovan’s winning first novel offers up a page-turning tale brimming with heart.
Booklist (starred review)
Debut author Donovan takes what might have been a derivative tale and colors it with poignancy and self-discovery . . . Artful and arresting.
Smart and observant. . . . A strong, omniscient narrator anchors Donovan’s deconstructed, opposites-attract love story where emotional stakes deepen as the story unfolds. References to pop culture, classic literature and movies—along with snappy dialogue and well-drawn characterizations, especially in the cast of supporting players—infuse a clever plot filled with surprising twists that will keep readers entertained and in suspense.