ARC Review: Business or Pleasure by Rachel Lynn Solomon

  • Title: Business or Pleasure
  • Author: Rachel Lynn Solomon
  • Publisher: Berkley Romance
  • Release Date: 7/4/23
  • Genre: Contemporary Romance
  • Age Range: Adult
  • Rating: ★★★★★
  • Publisher’s Summary: Chandler Cohen has never felt more like the ghost in “ghostwriter” until she attends a signing for a book she wrote—and the author doesn’t even recognize her. The evening turns more promising when she meets a charming man at the bar and immediately connects with him. But when all their sexual tension culminates in a spectacularly awkward hookup, she decides this is one night better off forgotten. Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done. Her next project is ghostwriting a memoir for Finn Walsh, a C-list actor best known for playing a lovable nerd on a cult classic werewolf show who now makes a living appearing at fan conventions across the country. But Chandler knows him better from their one-night stand of hilarious mishaps. Chandler’s determined to keep their partnership as professional as possible, but when she admits to Finn their night together wasn’t as mind-blowing as he thought it was, he’s distraught. He intrigues her enough that they strike a deal: when they’re not working on his book, Chandler will school Finn in the art of satisfaction. As they grow closer both in and out of the bedroom, they must figure out which is more important, business or pleasure—or if there’s a way for them to have both. A ghostwriter and a struggling actor help each other on the page and in the bedroom in this steamy romantic comedy from the New York Times bestselling author of The Ex Talk.

It is no secret that I love Rachel Lynn Solomon’s work. I have been eagerly awaiting Business or Pleasure since it was announced, and it certainly did not disappoint.

I love the way Solomon weaves her characters’ Judaism into her stories. Finn’s mom is a rabbi, but certainly not a stereotypical one. She went to rabbinical school after starting her career in hospital billing. When Chandler has the chance to visit her synagogue, she reflects on how she would only attend services once a year for the High Holy Days but that it had been years since she’d been in synaogue. This is certainly the experience of many (maybe even most) American Jews today. I love how seamlessly Finn and Chandler’s Jewish identities are weaved into the story without it overshadowing other parts of their identities.

Solomon’s description of Chandler’s experience sitting next to Finn in synagogue really rang true for me.

We were raised on these same songs, speoke this same language. It’s like discovering we have the same favorite book, and not only that, but that we love all the same parts – that we’ve highlighted and underlined them and folded over pages when we probably should have been using bookmarks.

I had a similar experience the first time I sat in Shabbat services with my husband. Of course, I knew he was Jewish, but there was something special about listening to him say those familiar prayers that made me feel very connected to him.

Another one of my favorite elements of Solomon’s work is her mental health representation. Finn has OCD, and he describes his experiences to Chandler. He talks about his germophobia and how he used to be unable to eat out at a restuarant. He tells her that he’s made a lot of progress through medication and treatment and that he wants to use his book to raise awareness about the condition. OCD is an incredibly misunderstood diagnosis, and Solomon handles it with finesse.

Chandler and Finn’s relationship is so easy to root for. Chandler helps Finn realize that his story is worth being told, and Finn encourages Chandler’s dream to write a book under her own name. It is obvious how deeply they care about each other personally and support each other’s professional aspirations as well. Solomon is great at crafting these characters and relationships that draw in her readers.

Business or Pleasure is Solomon’s steamiest novel, and it also portrays intimacy in a way that is realistic. Chandler and Finn’s initial one night stand is awkward and stumbling. I was glad to read about an encounter that wasn’t perfect as that is certainly not common in the romance novels I’ve read. I also appreciated Chandler’s emphasis on communication in intimate moments.

I already cannot wait to read Business or Pleasure again. I am also honored that it comes out on my birthday (July 4 – mark your calendars).

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