Leah Martin is a successful baker who also happens to be plus-sized. Sam Cooper has a weakness for both her body and the desserts she makes and in a bumbling attempt to help her defend herself against her sharp-tongued mother, tells said mother that he and Leah are engaged. The problem is that they only met the night before and Sam didn’t exactly endear himself to Leah during that interaction. Size Matters is the story of two folks who find love despite their baggage.
Leah’s exact size isn’t described in the book, but I’d guess she’s about a US 20 (UK 24). Her perception of her body isn’t positive. She uses words like “fat” and “gross” about herself and interprets comments Sam means as innocuous through her lens of self-loathing. She’s proud of her skills as a baker, and believes herself to be a good person, but her body is a point of shame. She comes by this honestly, in a way, since her mother is constantly making comments about Leah’s need to diet, her refusal to do so, etc. Her most recent ex-boyfriend made similar comments as well, and between the two of them, Leah believes she knows exactly how the world sees her.
Sam is a contractor who is much better with his hands than his mouth. Minds out of gutter, y’all, I just mean that he can build things a whole lot better than he can communicate. He’s handsome, charming, and kind, but he nearly has a seizure every time he has to communicate in an emotionally authentic way with Leah. They meet when he notices her/notices her cleavage at a local bar. Through various machinations, she ends up insulted by something he didn’t mean as insulting, and she ends up doing tequila shots as a reaction. He then defends her honor when she didn’t want him to, and she ends up sleeping off her hangover in his bed.
The fake-engagement plot kicks off when Sam overhears Leah’s mother insulting her. He introduces himself as her fiancé without really thinking about any consequences, and that action is a perfect summary of Sam’s character; good intentions with limited consideration of the follow-through of those choices. Leah’s mother is surprised but delighted and invites Sam on an upcoming weekend with Leah’s family at her grandparents’ shorehouse.
Leah is mortified, especially as she’s still under the impression that Sam finds her physically repulsive – but he promises her that he’ll make her family hate him and they’ll break the engagement and all will go back to normal.
You can imagine how well that plan goes.
As they fumble their way to the happily ever after, Leah and Sam continue in their complete failure to communicate. While their eventual sex is incredible, their emotional intimacy doesn’t click quite as quickly. This may be understandable considering some of their personal baggage, but it makes for an annoying reading experience. I kept muttering “just say what you mean, for crying out loud!” There was also a very abrupt turnaround on the part of Leah’s mother, plus some of the secondary characters are not quite as fully realized as I wish they had been.
I’m completely appreciative of a heroine who is never described as “athletic” or “willowy”. I like seeing characters shaped more like me in the books I read, and there are so many parts of Leah’s internal monologues that I have been known to recite. My husband has had to have some of the same conversations with me that Sam and Leah have and so there are parts of her that feel so real it’s almost painful. The shenanigans of their romance – their communication skills, Leah’s family, the farce of the fake fiancé – those are the bits that don’t work quite so well.
I’d tentatively recommend Size Matters. Leah is a delightful and well-drawn heroine, and I think some readers will find a lot to like about her story. I’m going to keep my eye on Ms. Bliss’ next releases, and hope that the next one will hit more of my sweet spots.