Donovan’s homage to LA is smart and at times funny. A literary romance, he avoids the usual clichés while enticing his readers–investing them in the character’s growth and progression and keeping them hoping for the HEA.
His male protagonist is not the stereotypical alpha male. Rather, Richard Baumbach is a metrosexual twenty-nine year old who seems to teeter back and forth between a sweet and clueless hunk to your best girlfriend. It’s a tad disorienting at times when, as a reader, you wonder if the big moment of the book turns out to be that he finally realizes he is gay and has feelings for his gay business partner. His character grows and fills out by the end, however, which is a good thing since otherwise his pairing with the female protagonist, Elizabeth Santiago, would seem unlikely.
Elizabeth is a voluptuous Mexican American lawyer, type A personality, who is lonely in the orderly world she has created for herself. Her own description of herself “a poor Chicana version of Hermione Granger. I did everything right and I always followed the rules” is one of my favorite descriptions in the book.
Speaking of descriptions, Donovan’s depictions of everything LA are beautifully written–borderline poetic. These moments showcase his talent and are what separate him from other writers. Also, they’re what I mean when I say that The Decent Proposal is a smart novel. I could see how the literary style might be difficult for some people to wade through, particularly in this day and age of the status update–the small, digestible snippet of information. People are developing shorter attention spans and are losing their ability to consume/appreciate writing like what is found in The Decent Proposal.
Donovan spends more time on his character sketches and his landscape of LA (through the eyes of his characters) than he does on the actual love story. It’s almost like the characters are involved in the secondary love affair, the true love affair being the author’s affection for the city. It works though. He keeps their relationship’s development simple and concise, and yet gives us just enough information to make the progression of their affection seem plausible.
Overall, a very well written book. I look forward to more from Kemper Donovan.
The Decent Proposal will be released on April 5, 2016. Preorder your copy today!
About the Author:
Kemper Donovan has lived in Los Angeles for the past eleven years. He attended Stanford University and Harvard Law School before working for a decade at the boutique literary management company Circle of Confusion, representing graphic novels and screenwriters. His first client wrote the feature film Hanna, released by Focus Features. When he isn’t writing or reading he’s probably running on the beach or endeavoring to play the violin, which he picked up as an adult. He is also a member of the New York Bar