For months I stood by, an understudy waiting in the wings, preparing for my time to shine.
I never imagined he would watch in the audience that night.
Famous film director. Fascinating. Talented. Fine
Before I could catch my breath, everything changed. I went from backstage Broadway to center stage Hollywood.
From being unknown, to my name, Neevah Saint, on everyone’s lips.
Canon casts me in a star-studded Harlem Renaissance biopic, catapulting me into another stratosphere.
But stars shine brightest in the dead of night.
Forbidden attraction, scandal and circumstances beyond my control jeopardize my dream.
Could this one shot—the role of a lifetime, the love of a lifetime—cost me everything?
I wasn’t going to review this book but I realised that one of the reasons I started this blog was to draw attention to books just like these.
So, this is me…telling you to read Reel.
Before I get into my review, let me just describe my reading situation at the time for you:
It was a Monday night and I’d just finished work for the day. My throat was feeling rather sore and I’d had a cough for weeks now. I’d taken a COVID test earlier that day and it had come back negative. So I decided to get in bed early and read. At approximately 8pm, I downloaded Reel by Kennedy Ryan…
I finished it two and a half hours later. Looking up bleary-eyed, I came to two startling realisations.
The first, that Reel was without a doubt going to be in my top 10 reads for the year. It was beautiful, loving and just the rich Black love story I’d been craving for a while.
The second, I was sick. Ridiculously sick. In the space of those two hours, I’d accumulated a fever, my sore throat was way worse and my chest felt incredibly tight.
I now know that I’d had COVID but I need you all to understand that for those two hours when I was immersed in Kennedy Ryan’s world…
I DIDN’T EVEN REALISE I WAS GETTING WORSE.
If that is not the highest level of praise…I’m not sure what is.
Kennedy Ryan wrote a beautiful, heart-wrenching love story between a movie director and an actress but it was so much more than that. It was an ode to the Harlem Renaissance in America.
“Theatre has the power to transform, to transport. For every person waiting for curtains to rise, this story is the vehicle to escape the mundane, the grind, the pressures life imposes on us…”
Canon and Neevah.
Gosh where do I start with these two. Where do I even begin? How do I adequately put into words how raw and real their love was?
Neevah is a young Black girl, an understudy to the lead role for a Broadway show and one night is gifted the chance to take centre stage. It just so happens to be the same night, famous movie director, Canon is in attendance.
Canon is looking for the perfect person to play his lead role in his next movie and after seeing her perform, he’s convinced he’s found it in Neevah.
Neevah is offered the role and moves to LA to begin filming. They’re both drawn to each other but Canon is adamant that he can’t date his lead actress after what happened during his last movie.
But even he can’t resist the pull they have towards each other…
From the prologue alone, I was gobsmacked and utterly invested in the characters individually. And then when they came together…the thrill of forbidden love really came into action and I simply adored it.
And the steam? I won’t say too much about it…
But whilst, we had Canon and Neevah’s love story. Kennedy Ryan layered it with Dessi and Cal’s story and I just want to shout at how much I loved it.
The excerpts from the scripts were the icing on the top.
I could truly imagine the audiobook as a cinematic experience because I was mesmerised reading it.
But what I truly loved was how Kennedy Ryan portrayed unconditional love. Whether that was through friendship, family and relationships – the undeniable truth that love is blind and forgives was at the forefront of this novel. It’s a heart aching sentiment that made me smile when I got to the end.
“Forgiving is harder than forgetting. Forgetting would be the oblivion of never knowing how you hurt me. Forgiving is accepting you hurt me, deciding that I’m going to keep loving you anyway.”
Will I be purchasing a physical copy?
Will I be waiting for the next book?
Also, Kennedy Ryan deserves all the love and praise for providing free bonus epilogues at the end of each of her books. I was not ready to say goodbye to Canon and Neevah and I’m sure the book was over 400 pages long…
If you take anything from this review, it’s please go and read it. It’s beautifully written and it’s a story I’m sure I’ll think about often.
“That is the risk of love, what makes it a radical act. You pour everything into another person who is bound by fragile humanity. You could lose them at any time, but you can’t reason with your heart…”