Sunday, July 7, 2013

Early Review of Big Girl Panties: A Novel by Stephanie Evanovich


  • Title: Big Girl Panties: A Novel
  • Classification: Adult Fiction
  • Genre: Contemporary Romance
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow (July 9, 2013)
  • ISBN-10: 0062224840
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062224842
Notes: I received an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) of this book from the publisher.

Sometimes in life it seems a girl just can't catch a break. Holly Brennan has had a streak of bad luck. Her family wasn't exactly the most loving and pretty much ignored her as she was growing up. When her husband asked her to marry him, he promised to whisk her away and always be there for her, she couldn't have been happier. Well, forever turned into 8 years when, at age 32, he was diagnosed with cancer. If you've ever watched a loved one wither away to a ghost of what they once were from the disease, you know it's not an easy thing to witness. Being his soul caretaker, per his request, was not easy either. The whole experience took it's toll on Holly. During that devastating time, Holly turned to food for comfort. In her words, "it seemed like food was the one thing I could always count on being there."

Now setting off on a plane for home, she'd felt the need to explain and, in a way, apologize for invading the space of the man she'd be seated adjacent to for the next few hours. The seats were not made to accommodate a full figured woman comfortably and when she'd been bumped from first class to coach, she'd been too embarrassed to buy two seats. What she soon learns is the gorgeous man seated next to her is a professional personal trainer to athletes, and he is about to change her life in more ways than one...

Logan Montgomery by all accounts was the perfect man. He looked perfect. He acted perfect. He dated famous models who oozed perfection. Perfection, after all, was his bread and butter. He was a personal trainer to some of sports most famous athletes, and part of his persona was to project a perfect image himself. After all, who would hire a trainer who couldn't keep himself in shape? But underneath that perfect facade lurked a flawed man afraid to make a commitment. A man who had never let a woman get under his skin. After hearing Holly's story, he decides to take her under his wing. His initial thought was she was not his type, but as he's about to find out sometimes perfection is in the eye of the beholder, and Holly is about to shatter his view of it.

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I truly enjoyed this book. It has a depth to it that intrigued me. We live in a society that exudes and craves perfection. Models sometimes look half starved, actresses are spied on in the hopes they are hiding cellulite and the tabloids can exploit it. Heck, even Beyonce's midriff has been the subject of constant scrutiny as people try to figure out if the young married singer is expecting. A roll of fat or a baggy dress can set rumors flying. I loved it when Jennifer Love Hewitt wrote on her website, "I’ve sat by in silence for a long time now about the way women’s bodies are constantly scrutinized. To set the record straight, I’m not upset for me, but for all the girls out there that are struggling with their body image.” This said after pictures of her in a bikini spouted comments that  she was fat at a size 2.

Logan Montgomery is caught up in the center of that psuedo perfect world. He feels that not only does he have to look perfect, but the woman who hangs on his arm needs to look perfect as well. Over the years he's dated cookie cutter images of women who projected outer perfection, but little else. He's never had a long term commitment and hasn't really desired one. As he gets to know Holly,  he starts seeing her for who she is and that forces him to take a closer look at himself. She is very different from the women he's dated in the past. His thoughts on perfection are about to be put into question. I confess, at first I didn't really like Logan. While he seemed to have a good heart, he seemed a little shallow, conceited and self centered. It wasn't until the end that I really began to like him. I felt he grew as a person as the story progressed, and at the end, finally stood up to the plate and realized what a jerk he'd been.

Holly is a spitfire of a woman. She's the type who might get down, but never out. A year and a half ago her husband died, and she was devastated. She turned to food for comfort and packed on the pounds. She was never considered a small woman, but she realized what she was doing to herself as it happened. She's extremely conscientious  about her weight gain, but has done nothing to stop or reverse it. Logan offers her a way to do that and she takes it. While trying to get her life on track she starts to reevaluate what she will do with the rest of her life and decides its time to once again walk among the living. While for the most part, she's a fairly well put together person, Logan sort of throws her for a loop. He wasn't something she'd ever expected.

Logan's best friends, Chase and Amanda, were a fun couple. While the two played with a  submission/dominance relationship, I felt they were pretty mild in that measure. They added a nice dimension to the story in that they were torn about whether Logan and Holly made sense as a couple. They also added an additional comedic edge as well. The awful advice Chase gave Logan and Holly's responses to that bad advice when Logan tried to implement it were quite funny. Chase was by far my favorite secondary character. The contrast between the two couples was a nice touch that worked very well.

Overall, I gave this book 3 1/2 roses out of 5 roses. This was a nice debut for Stephanie Evanovich and look forward to reading many more of her novels. I really liked Holly and how she had a strong sense of self worth. While I thought her method of putting Logan in his place was a bit extreme, I have to admit it made me shake my head and laugh. Plus, I loved Logan's response to it and that it didn't frighten him away. The one thing I  wish the author would have explored a little deeper was what exactly made Logan shy away from a solid relationship? Why wasn't he willing to get into a deep and meaningful relationship sooner? It felt like there was something that must have happened in his past that we weren't privy to, but perhaps he just didn't see himself as the type to settle down until later in life? I wish we knew a little more. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one gets a FAN rating--the temperature in the room seems to have suddenly gone up a couple of degrees and a fan would be nice.


Stephanie Evanovich on her book 'Big Girl Panties':



1 comment:

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