The Cinderella Solution
What’re the odds of finding two great stories under the covers of one book? Slim to none? Heck, some months I have difficulty locating just one entertaining story. So I was pleasantly surprised to discover that both stories in the latest Harlequin Duets were enjoyable and contained characters worth spending time with.
Cathy Yardley’s The Cinderella Solution doesn’t quite reach Desert Isle Keeper status (as does its mate in this two-in-one by Duets), but it’s the perfect book to wind down with after a stressful day. Charlotte (Charlie) has always preferred hanging out in sweats and playing poker with the guys to prettying herself up in an attempt to catch a husband. Though she has close female friends, she has only bonded with her best friend Gabe. The two have been partners in mischief since they were eight and enjoy challenging each other. Charlie has always given her all to outdo Gabe, and it’s this trait that soon gets her into deep trouble.
While acting as a bridesmaid for Gabe’s sister, Charlie is cornered by her meddling friends who want to see her married. They shove The Guide: How to Go from Miss Wrong to Mrs. Right in One Year into her hands, just as Gabe enters the room. She valiantly tries to hide the offending book but he wrestles it from her unwilling hands. When he reads the title he doesn’t hesitate to hide his guffaws and begins to tease Charlie. She gets mad, and before she has time to consider her actions, she sets out a challenge. She wagers $1,000 that she’ll have an engagement proposal in a month’s time. In an attempt to win the bet, she undergoes a frantic makeover that alters their relationship and throws both their lives into turmoil.
I’ve always loved books about long-time friends who one day wake up to discover that they’ve really been in love with each other all along, and this is a good telling of that classic plot line. Gabe and Charlie begin the story with a secure relationship and share a camaraderie that only comes from a lifetime of friendship. They respect each other and enjoy each other’s company before they even begin to realize they’re in love. This is always refreshing to read after over-dosing on love stories where lust seems to be the only thing a couple has in common.
Gabe’s love for her is obvious, but it takes him most of the story to figure it out – which was far too long for my liking! As their relationship evolves into a sensual awakening, both are unprepared to deal with the change. Charlie begins dating a sweet hunky man (who deserves his own story!) and gains self-confidence while poor Gabe begins to lose all rational thought. He wants her to go back to being the old Charlie and charmingly begins to sabotage her dates. Something about the “new” Charlie impels him to pull some rather lunk-headed (but always amusing) antics that make the reader really fall in love with him. When they both finally realize they’ve been hit by the love bug, the result is gratifying because they fit so well together as friends and lovers.
Like Say Yes, The Cinderella Solution contains irresistible characters, witty banter and a strong relationship based plot and is full of fun situations. Snatch up your copy of this Duet while you can