Just the Way You Are
I dove into this book hoping for a fun, frothy Brit Chick Lit along the lines of Sophie Kinsella. Unfortunately, while there were fun moments, I was largely disappointed in the romance.
Six years ago, Ava Clements had a secret admirer who frequently wrote her love letters extolling her virtues and how he longed to be with her. Once the time came for her admirer to reveal himself though, he stood her up leaving her clueless as to his identity. But now he is once again writing to her hoping to rekindle her interest.
She’s elated to be the recipient of his letters once again and is naturally curious as to the identity of the man writing them. When her bosses at Sleek magazine engage her in a contest to write the best Valentine’s Day story for feature in their February issue, she becomes determined to track the letter writer down and incorporate their story into her article.
She enlists her two best friends to assist her in finding the mysterious Mr. Writer. Their series of misadventures as Ava sets up dates to interview potential candidates and goes on assignment as the wedding reporter for the magazine is amusing. There’s a particularly memorable scene with a safe word that still makes me giggle if I think about it.
However the story is predictable and I had some problems with some of the hero’s behavior. Mr. Writer’s identity is obvious from the beginning of the book. I didn’t mind that so much as it still could have been a fun romp with Ava going on disastrous coffee dates and Mr. Writer pining away in the background. The troublesome part was realizing once Mr. Writer is revealed that he began sending his love missives while he was dating another girl. Then when the girl breaks it off with him, he is devastated. Yet he continues to write to Ava. Even worse, he then begins seeing one of their mutual friends. Honestly, it made him seem weak, wishy-washy, and definitely not hero material. Ava, girl, you can do better. Keep going to weddings. There’s bound to be a hunky single groomsman to catch your eye.
The hero’s actions left a blight on the main romance for me, but there is a satisfying secondary romance involving older characters getting a second chance at romance. I liked the author’s voice and I liked Ava as the heroine. I just wish she’d gotten the hero I felt she deserved.
I read romance of any sub-genre, but particularly love contemporaries. Well-written stories of any variety interest me though and I'm always on the hunt for my next favorite book. I love smart-mouthed heroines and tortured heroes, unusual time periods and just about anything medieval. On a personal note, I'm a political junkie, Cushing's Disease survivor, mom to 11 rescued dogs and too many cats to actually count.