This is a story about a young and naïve woman who is awed and infatuated with a suave and handsome rich screenwriter, and eventually her love is returned, but complications arise in the form of his marriage to another woman. Blair is a pretty, educated young Canadian woman who leaves Nova Scotia for Belgrade, Yugoslavia (now capital of Serbia - this book was written in the 80s), when she is accepted for a startling glamorous job. Academy Award-winning scriptwriter Neil Sutherland needs a secretary as he works on a number of projects at once. Blair got the job by saving up and going to Toronto and getting an interview, during which she was overwhelmed by his masterful presence and authority, and he was intrigued by her naivete and good looks. Blair's naive kindergarten crush on Neil develops at once - only to be crushed at the appearance of Charlotte, Neil's wife, on the trip.
Blair is enchanted with Belgrade, though she cannot help but feel the chill between Neil and Charlotte, who eventually flies back to Toronto after the couple get into a fight. Neil is flirtatious and mocking, always making Blair feel small, and also confused by his coldness. Blair eventually finds some backbone and fires back, to his amusement, but for the most part Blair concentrates on her work: keeping his work correspondence in order, taking business calls, and typing his scripts. As much as she works, Neil always demands more. However, she grows intrigued by the script that he is creating and offers her own insights into the story (a suspense thriller), leaving Neil grudgingly impressed by her creativity. Her confused feelings of lust and infatuation come to a head one night when Neil finds her wandering around the rented property in a nightgown and almost consummates their attraction, only to stop at the last moment when Blair begs him in alarm to stop. He softly admires her innocence and leaves her on her bed. Over the next week or so she realizes she loves him, but his coldness and pure lust make her feel like just an object to him, and she realizes that she cannot come between him and his marriage.
The night before she decides to tell him she will quit, however, Blair finds Neil drunk in the living room, and in a vulnerable state, and comforts him. Later the housekeeper, Andrea, tells Blair that Neil married Charlotte ten years ago because her wealthy and powerful family pressured him into it after he took her virginity. Blair is horrified to find herself increasingly sympathetic and in love with Neil, and tears herself away the day the suspense thriller script is finished. She flies back to Toronto and is hired by rival Canadian script writer Roger McCoy as his secretary. Roger is a beautiful man, but not Blair's type, and she readily agrees, heartbroken by Neil's apparent indifference to her choice to leave him (he is also back in Toronto with his wife). However, one day she is shocked when Roger passes her his latest script to proofread for spelling and grammar errors - and it is the very script that she helped Neil write in Belgrade. Blair is very confused, but pieces things together when she sees Charlotte visiting Roger in the middle of the night. Blair confronts them when they are in bed, brandishing the script and accusing them of theft and plagiarism, before fleeing the house and driving to Neil's, where she tells him everything. He is tender and grateful, divorces Charlotte, and Blair, fearing her heart is about to break again, prepares to leave for Nova Scotia. Instead, Neil appears at her door, insists on taking her to dinner, and then tells her during the meal that he cannot live without her. They fall into bed together afterwards and presumably live happily ever after.
Best part of story, including ending:
I thought it was glorifying a completely dysfunctional relationship, and did not like that.
Best scene in story:
when Neil and Blair walk along the Danube, and he tells her of the romantic songs and dances it has inspired, that was a very tender and whimsical scene.
Opinion about the main character:
Didn't like Neil messing around on the side while he was marrying, did like her for not succumbing.