Curves for Days is a lovely little romance that tells a worthwhile story about two emotionally scarred people who find themselves falling in love. Moher delivers an excellent small town romance but there are a couple of issues that keep this from being an A – including a weak third act.
Alice Rose Barnes is a spirited, curvy woman whose luck abruptly changes when she inherits a lottery ticket from her dead neighbor. Before this she’d lived a very isolated social life, still emotionally scarred from heavy bullying during her youth because of her weight. Now that Rose has cash, all of the worms from her past keep turning up looking for money or attention, so she decides to skip town and avoid press attention, using her middle name to avoid detection.
Landing in Galway, North Carolina, she finds herself stuck in a snowbank. The handyman who gives her a lift thinks she’s outrageous; and she throws him a Snickers bar to pay him off. She ends up buying a run-down Victorian house there, and who should be the man who shows up to be her contractor but the bearded sourpuss who helped her out of the snowbank!
Angus Drummond is a lonely ex-Marine who makes ends meet as a contractor, but also counsels fellow veterans. Angus could use a little support himself, as he is suffering from PTSD and survivor’s guilt that has put a wall between himself and happiness. He refuses to allow himself to fall in love until he pays back what he considers to be his debt to society. And yet Rose tempts him.
The more time Angus spends fixing up Rose’s new house, the closer they get. But will rigid Angus’ feelings about Rose change when he learns she lied about being loaded?
A lot of Curves for Days works. Rose is one of my favorite heroines of the past few months; she’s lively, isn’t self-pitying, and has a silly sense of humor. Her scars are understandable. Angus’ self-hating gruffness made me weary, but it comes from an understandable place and he improves – well, until the third a act. I liked that Rose isn’t a doormat for his issues, so at least that’s a step up from the usual grumpy-and-sunshine fol de rol.
The romance is sweet and cute, and it’s always fun to watch two different sorts of people find love together. The small town setting is my cup of tea, too. Even more importantly, Rose manages to cultivate two close friendships, something she desperately needs after living such a self-sheltered life.
Then comes the third act and the big separation, in which Angus acts like a sexist dolt. The man’s a licensed therapist and might be a little more understanding of his girlfriend’s behavior instead of dropping her. She also takes him back far too easily. That torpedoed the grade down from an A to a B. And it’s too bad, because otherwise Curves for Days is a great contemporary romance, but how much you enjoy it will probably depend on how well you can stomach the book’s final choice for a third act.
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