Pub Date: November 26, 2013
Publisher: Cosmo Red Hot Reads/Harlequin
Length: 95 pages
FTC: Purchased myself
I've been a bit caught up in Real Life Obligations again, so I haven't been out and about in Romancelandia for the last month or two. Apparently, I missed hearing about this book. I did what I never do: I acted on an author rec to try a book. Of course, cynical me, I tried the sample first. I was majorly hooked, and couldn't get the rest of it fast enough.
Not only is this a holiday novella, this is written in the first person! And (THANK GOODNESS) not the first-person, present. It's very rare that you read a romance that's written in the first person that is either a) not Urban Fantasy or Paranormal or b) not written in 1st/present (which I loathe more than Ebenezer Scrooge loathes giving his employees the day off). Added to that...this is absolutely hysterical. One caveat: the author is British or at the very least, lives in Great Britain. There are some phrases which may seem odd to American readers and the humor is definitely of the wacky, British style.
The story begins with a public embarrassment made even more excruciating by the fact that it's told in the 1st person. You *feel* Hayley's mortification. Forced by pride to be a bridesmaid in her ex's wedding, her "giant condom of a dress" splits from the waist up just after the I-dos, exposing her breasts (a bra didn't work with the dress) to everyone present.
"The dress was a horribly tight tube, floor length, which basically meant my legs were locked together. I couldn't even run away. I was like a mermaid, but without an ocean to drown in. Escape would be a slow, shuffling, breast-bouncing affair."To make matters worse, the sexy but aloof Niccolo Rossi was the only one to do anything but stare. The one man who didn't like her, but for whom she felt an inexplicable attraction, is forced to save what remained of her dignity.
Much of the story is Hayley struggling to understand and cope with her attraction to a man she's convinced dislikes her. It's also partly about forgiving herself for her past relationships, where she allowed herself to be stifled in the name of keeping the peace. I liked the way the holiday season was woven into the story. Nothing too obnoxious. The social element of the holidays worked to further the plot, which was a nice change from the tendency to slap Christmas decorations onto everything and call it a Christmas story.
The only "flaw" I felt in the whole story was the fact that our heroine was an engineer, but there wasn't any real detail about what her work was. It was important to her, but she somehow never thought about it beyond the irritation her ex felt for her work or the admiration the hero felt for it. I would have liked a little more well-researched detail there.
My Grade: A-