The Love Plot is a warm and funny romance in which a determinedly independent hippie girl meets a kind-hearted veterinarian. It’s a spirited read loaded with personality and humor, and it’s bound to make readers smile.
Star Shine Meadow is, if you couldn’t tell by her name, the child of hippies who eschews commitment in favor of freedom because of her parents’ terrible relationship. She also hasn’t committed to a single career, but rather works part-time jobs to maximize her sense of liberty. She’s paid to sit on lines for rich people who want the latest exclusive gig, and she also plays costumed characters like Disney princesses for children’s birthday parties. Star plans to travel the world someday, and works with that in mind. While performing at a birthday party dressed up as Merida from Brave, she’s instantly attracted to a handsome veterinarian, whose orderly, job-dictated life is the exact opposite of hers.
Dr. Rafe Whitman just wanted to make an appearance at his niece’s birthday party without any fuss, but instead he finds himself bantering with the woman hired to entertain the kids. He realizes, suddenly, that Star might be the perfect way out of his family’s nonstop nagging. He’ll pretend to settle down all right – with Star, who will in turn receive the benefits of travel and more cash than she’s making as a line sitter/party actor.
Star expects this to just be another gig in her gig-rich life. But neither she nor Rafe expect emotions to intervene and bring them the possibility of true love. But can Star ever allow herself to settle down?
The Love Plot is a sweet contemporary romance with a sense of humor and a sharp eye for modern foibles. It’s grumpy meeting sunshine and lower class meeting upper class, and there are a lot of comfort-read tropes going on here, but Young delivers them well and with sparkle.I enjoyed Star a lot, and though some might dislike her commitment-phobia, it does come from an organic place. Her enjoyment of her freedom and conflicted feelings about wanting a committed relationship and job track are relatable. Rafe is (overly) grumpy and organized due to his background, but he learns how to unbend with Star.
Star has to deal with a lot of nonsense attached to her parent’s marriage; her mother, Dawn, constantly runs off and and is completely unreliable if ever Star’s dad, Arlo, or Star need her. Arlo, meanwhile, comes off as sweet, befuddled, and terminally hooked on Dawn even though she doesn’t give a rip about the life they’ve built. Star must come to terms with her Dawn-based baggage if she wants to move on with her life, and the book does not skimp on how much it hurts to confront a parent about their recklessness. If you don’t enjoy stories featuring parental conflict, this definitely won’t be the book for you, and even though Rafe’s relationship with his folks is much kinder than what Star goes through with Dawn, it’s still very hectoring.
I really liked that when Star tries to change herself to fit in with Rafe’s staid family, he’s appalled and wants the real, sunshiny Star back. That’s a nice touch.
The book in general is fun and spicy and a good story about growing up and finding your path. The Love Plot worked for me, and I think it’s going to work for a lot of folks who long to learn how to reclaim their destinies from parental expectations.
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