Desert Isle Keeper
One to Watch
The pitch for this book was enough to make me one-click it immediately: a plus-sized fashionista becomes the next contestant on a fictional Bachelorette franchise. Done. I’m in. Thanks for playing, I’ll be reading this in one sitting.
And boy, did I. It’s frothy and fun and one hundred and forty-five percent the perfect book for a Saturday afternoon during These Times in which finding something to completely absorb my attention is a challenge. The plot, by the way, follows the premise – Bea Schumacher is a fashion influencer who also happens to be a witty writer and a plus-sized lady. When she takes her favorite show, Main Squeeze, to task on her blog for the lack of diversity in casting, the show’s new producer calls her bluff and casts her as the lead.
She agrees so she can help inspire other women and make little girls see that women who look like her deserve love and can be a princess and all the other tropes the show trips through on its way to a staged engagement. The show agrees to protect her, but–you knew this was coming–she and we learn quickly that they think having her first date be in a bathing suit on national television is safe and fun.
It’s painful a few times – some of the men they cast are jagwagons – but in a real way that affirmed the book was taking Bea and this plot seriously. We get gossip blogs, text message conversations, and other elements that make the book feel grounded in 2020 and yet delightfully fanciful. I’m approximately the same body size as Bea describes herself and I found so much of her internal commentary accurate to the point where I thought someone had been stealing my diary.
I inhaled this book and if any part of my review has piqued your interest, I think you will, too.
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Voracious reader, with a preference for sassy romances and happily ever afters. In a relationship with coffee, seeing whiskey on the side.
|Review Date:||August 1, 2020|
|Book Type:||Contemporary Romance|
|Review Tags:||Plus size heroine | reality tv|
Finished this weekend and thoroughly enjoyed it. I’m not TV watcher, much less a reality TV fan, but really enjoyed the world Stayman-London created for Bea. She did a fabulous job of creating credible characters throughout, and I found the combination of social media/TV/fashion details interesting. But mostly I just really liked spending time with Bea.
It is not a perfect book for me, however. The HEA is too rushed, for lack of a better description.
Net: one of the best contemporary romances I’ve read in a long time.
Loved this book! It was such a treat to read about a plus-size woman as the main character of a reality tv show – fingers crossed that this actually happens in the future! I also love her interactions with her best friend and the contestants vying for her attention. I would have liked the book to have spent more time on the central couple however, and I wish that the main character was more confident in herself and in her ability to find real love. The fat-shaming that occurs in this book can also be a little difficult to read.
I’d considered picking this one up but was put off a little bit by the blurb. Will pick it up at the library sometime soon!
I’ve got it on hold at the library.
About what size is the heroine? I’m really tired of ‘plus-sized’ heroines who are a size 14. That woman can still buy clothes in nearly every store in America; she may not be slim, but she’s hardly plus-size. As someone who has been a size 28 for decades, I look for heroines who are at least a size 20, who might need to shop at specialty stores, who may need seal-belt extenders, that sort of thing. I’d love a romance for that girl, where she gets the hottest, nicest guy in the room to fall in love with her because she’s amazing, and he thinks she’s beautiful inside and out. Any chance this heroine is in that category?
If I remember correctly, she’s 18-22 and talks about that and how she still experiences size privilege. She definitely shops at specialty stores, but I can’t remember if she used an exact number and I’ve passed my copy onto a friend! I’m sorry I can’t provide more details on that!
Thanks! At least she’s not a size 14, which seems to be the upper limit in plus-size romance. It sounds good, I’ll probably take a chance on it.
Sizing in the US is so damn random anyway. It’s nuts.
I specifically remember the heroine mentioning that she used a seatbelt extender on airplanes. So, definitely in the actual plus-sized category. I don’t think she ever mentions an actual size, but I (a US size 22/24) found her very relatable, if that helps!
Just finished reading this weekend and Bea describes herself as “medium-plus”. I’m not sure how that translates to sizes in stores . . .
At one point Bea specifically criticizes stores for carrying up to 14-16 and calling that “plus” when it is actually average, so she is definitely above that. I don’t think we get a specific number.
I just glommed this today and really enjoyed it. Thanks for the review!
$12.95 for the Kindle! Probably too rich for my purse!
I’ve heard the audio is also excellent. Tempted to listen to it.
Just wondered, Kristen, is there actually a romance in the storyline? Is there an HEA? I found your review very enticing except that I am not sure if the book is a romance or not as you don’t allude to one.
Yup! It’s got a lovely HEA and she finds love with a fella she never expected to find it with. Bit of an enemies to lovers vibe, but not fully.
In general, if it’s not a romance, the book type will reflect that. So, if this hadn’t had a romance, it would have been categorized as women’s fiction rather than contemporary romance.