Getting What You Want
Getting What You Want is Kathy Love’s first book, and it’s a strong debut. It’s also the first book in a trilogy about sisters who were bullied in school. The characters are likable, and the love story is tender. I enjoyed this book and look forward to the next one in the series.
You can’t go home again, and Abby Stepp doesn’t want to. She grew up poor in Millbrook, Maine as one of the “ugly Stepp sisters.” Abby, the class brain, and her sisters – the chubby Ellie and 6-feet-tall Marty – were bullied mercilessly in school. As soon as she could, Abby took off for Boston, college, a PhD and a job in genetic research. When the story begins, Abby is back in Millbrook for six months to work on a project at the Rand lab. It’s a prestigious job, and that is the only reason she’s back in town.
Chase Jordan was the object of Abby’s unrequited love through high school. He was the town bad boy, handsome as an angel and always in trouble. People were surprised he actually graduated. Chase never teased Abby, he never seemed to notice her at all. Now, he owns his own contracting business and specializes in restoration work. As a matter of fact, he restored and lives in the beautiful house next door to Ellie Stepp, and they are very good friends. While she’s working at Rand, Abby is living with Ellie and can’t help but notice the beautiful work Chase does, and how beautiful he still is too.
Chase notices that Abby is back in town. He always thought she was a bit of a snob since she was so aloof when they were in school. He still thinks she’s stand-offish since she rebuffs all his attempts to be friendly. But after Abby breaks off her relationship with a fellow scientist with whom she was having a tepid relationship, she goes out with Chase. Gradually, they let down their barriers and talk. Chase realizes how deeply hurt Abby was by the bullying she endured and as he gets to know her better, he falls deeply in love with her and wants to marry her. But Abby’s work at Rand is temporary, and she still has bad memories of her life in Millbrook. And Chase has a shameful secret of his own that few people know, one that could shock Abby.
Getting What You Want starts out slowly, but once it picks up steam it moves quickly. I’ve read some novels featuring bullying in school where the bullies and the bullied were still stuck in the same old ruts years later. This is not one of them. Over the course of the story, Abby realizes that she was not totally innocent. She was snobbish and haughty, which doesn’t excuse the bullying, but she really didn’t try very hard to reach out. When she goes to a party given by one of the guys who was one of her chief tormenters, they make their peace. He is sorry for his bad behavior and has grown up – and so has Abby.
Chase is a self-made man. He grew up poor and his home life was a nightmare. He reacted by being a rebel. His good looks caused people to excuse a lot of his bad behavior but he was on the road to ruin. Luckily, he realized it and pulled himself off his destructive path. Chase is quite wonderful. He’s hardworking, kind, and does not have a bad temper. If anything, he’s too forgiving. He’s still handsome to the point of being beautiful, but is not conceited. He’s a good friend, and a good businessman. His Big Secret is not too hard to figure out, and his shame is understandable, but thankfully he does not wallow in it.
I love it when I read the beginning of what looks like a good series. Ellie Stepp is next, she’s a librarian and a romantic. I can hardly wait!