What a fantastic piece of romance writing. Easily the best I've read since Wild Card. The story had me gobsmackingly entranced from beginning to end. The reason is entirely due to the heroine, Tate. The short, fat, supposedly ugly Tate...even though she's a natural blonde. I could not get over the amount of abuse she gets from so many people. The way her Dad talked to her was horrible and the way Tate put up with it for the sake of her siblings was astounding. Yet she still visits her parents monthly!!! Then there was the unbelievably nasty way complete strangers spoke to her....just because she was going out with the good-looking (rich) Matt Chase. I still shake my head at the horror of it all. I ask you. Would you keep going out with a guy whose friends treated you like Tate was treated??? And boy, Tate can keep secrets from Matt. Oh my! She doesn't tell him her Dad is blackmailing her for a lot of money. And then she gets angry with him when he gets upset with her for not telling him. Phew!
The truth is. Of course. Tate is a complete neurotic psycho. And a latent control freak. As evidenced by her own admission that she cannot make friends outside her own family. (And how weird is that?) To be honest though. Who can blame her with the type of upbringing she had. I loved reading her story but I'd run a mile if I met her in real life.
The families in the novel are reverse-stereotype. So the family of the dirt poor drunk and slut ie Tate's parents, all turn out to be fine upstanding adults with not a hint of bro poking sis in any way whatsoever. Plus Tate herself, for sure, would probably have three kids all by different men in reality. None of that. She's single and over thirty. But Matt's family were somewhat interesting. Two of his sisters-in-law have dated brothers they are not married to. I thought that was a bit weird.
I loved the food thread running in the book. Tate knows all about preparing delicious food. Her derision of processed cheese and pressed turkey from the supermarket was truely sublime. She has so many quirks. The 'not eating pie' was totally believable. As was the need to have her own space after a bout of parental abuse. I hope Tate and Matt end up happy with loving children of their own. I strongly suspect that in the end Tate will totally wear Matt down. Because. As is often the case. When she isn't being a victim Tate often comes across as highly manipulative. Bless.
Thank you to the author for not only writing a strong story but keeping the romance h-h-hot!
I also loved the blonde on the cover. The look in her eyes! Attitude, experience, personality. What a woman!
In the space of 4 days I read this novel about 2 times and kept dipping into various chapters whenever. Absolutely definitely recommended.