Grade : B+

After a few false starts in my Harlequin backlist stack, I found a wonderful romcom waiting for me on my Kindle. Butterface by Avery Flynn is sweet, funny, steamy at times, and really a delight to read. For those who want a romance with an HEA that feels like it really will last, this tale of a cop falling head-over-heels for a local wedding planner will be right up your alley.

Gina Luca plans weddings, but she doesn’t count on having her own happily ever after anytime soon. All her life, Gina has been reminded by bullies of just how plain and awkward her features are, and after years of this treatment, her self-confidence is painfully lacking. When she gets thrown together with Ford Hartigan on a KissCam as a cruel prank at a wedding, though, something happens. It turns out that Ford is actually a pretty compassionate, decent guy.

As the story moves along, what started as kindness morphs into something else. Ford is trying to make his mark in the police force and get a spot on a team investigating organized crime. He ends up being assigned to keep an eye on Gina since her brothers are suspected of having ties to a crime family. Ford is eager to take on the job, and as the story moves along, I enjoyed seeing how the author shows Ford examining his motives and realizing that he is really falling for Gina.

One strength of this book is that we get to see Ford and Gina as part of a larger community. Gina clearly loves her brothers, even if they have clearly become drawn into criminal activity, and she has a close-knit circle of friends. I was happy to see her have good people in her life to counteract the bullying she grew up with.

Ford, on the other hand, comes from a much larger family. He’s the lone cop in a large firefighter family, so there’s a bit of rivalry and good-natured ribbing there. His family seems to be the almost stereotypical loud, blue collar firefighter family, while Ford is a little quieter and doesn’t fit in in quite the same way as his siblings.

Ford is trying to find his own path, and while he’s clearly a decent soul, he’s also sometimes a bit clueless. In addition, he’s torn between making his way in the force and being totally honest with Gina, and these conflicting motivations get him in trouble sometimes. This awkwardness also spills over into his relationship with Gina. He so earnestly adores her that I could forgive him for the number of times he totally steps in it, but Ford’s fumbling around definitely creates some believable tension along the way.

If you’ve had to deal with bullies and insecurity about your looks, this book could be triggering at times. However, I also found it refreshing and funny. I’ve read too many “’ugly duckling’ stories that rely on makeovers and being liked in spite of one’s looks. I really enjoyed reading a book about people who fall for each other because of who they are instead.

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Reviewed by Lynn Spencer

Grade: B+

Sensuality: Warm

Review Date : August 17, 2022

Publication Date: 07/2018

Review Tags: The Hartigans series

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Lynn Spencer

I enjoy spending as much time as I can between the covers of a book, traveling through time and around the world. When I'm not having adventures with fictional characters, I'm an attorney in Virginia and I love just hanging out with my husband, little man, and the cat who rules our house.
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