Author: Sylvia Massara
Reviewer: Dannye Williamsen
Cat Ryan, the main character in Like Casablanca, is on the cusp of forty. So, it’s not clear whether this book is Chick-Lit or its older sister, Hen-Lit. What is clear is that it has all the elements of a Chick-Lit romantic comedy. It has a confiding, personal tone, accomplished through compelling first person prose. Cat’s flip, yet endearing attitude toward herself draws you into her story. Her feistiness, while a refreshing quality, could also be her undoing.
Having suffered a devastating breakup with Josh, Cat is at an unsettled time in her life, and it is reflected in her business life. She is working part time in an antiques shop for Scotty, her gay best friend, and trying to make extra money writing a blog on the pitfalls of Internet Dating for her former magazine editor. At the same time, she has promised herself to write her dream book on Renaissance art when she gets around to it!
When her path crosses that of Rick Blake, the handsome owner of Rick’s Café ,she quickly learns that Scotty’s description of the café as being “like Casablanca” was more telling than she could have imagined. Rick is not only mysterious, he is dangerously irresistible to Cat. Unfortunately, fate continually conspires to keep them apart. Will Cat’s cheekiness and Rick’s dispassionate air work against each other? Are they destined to give up the great love of their lives – like in Casablanca?
Told from the first person, Like Casablanca was entertaining and humorous. Sylvia Massara allowed her main character to be real. It was like listening to your closest friend filling you in on all the latest. Cat Ryan wallowed when she felt like it, was a good friend when she needed to be, and struggled to stay above water financially—just like most of us do even if we don’t want to admit it. All the while, she never really gave up hope of finding someone special to share her life.
The biggest complaint I had about Massara’s writing is that she was so descriptive in describing food dishes that I wound up reading this book to the tune of my stomach growling!