I downloaded this as an audio book from the library. You know I need romance and light fluff when I’m driving or running, and Tami Hoag is on that list of authors where I know the story is going to be predictable but that’s okay, because I also need to pay attention to the road. But this Tami Hoag? It was…not good, you guys. Not good at all. I’ll give you a brief plot synopsis, and then give you my actual thoughts as I listened.
In short, Katie Quaid, an interior designer in a small Virginia town, meets Nick Leone, the transplant from New Jersey who has left behind a lucrative career stripping in New York (after failing at being a Broadway dancer) to open an Italian restaurant. Katie had a riding accident years ago which left her with scars both visible and hidden, and she’s unable to have children as a result. She embarks reluctantly on an affair with Nick, only to break it off because she’s infertile, and he eventually proposes with a ring hidden in a dinner roll at his restaurant’s soft opening.
So here were my thoughts, in no particular order:
– Hm. I thought this was set in Virginia, but Mary Margaret sounds an awful lot like Suzanne Sugarbaker, who lived in Atlanta.
– This is promising. Nick sounds kind of hot.
– Oh wait. Nick’s talking. Nick is no longer hot.
– Seriously, narrator. Not every man from New Jersey sounds like Big Pussy from The Sopranos.
– Wait. Katie runs a wallpaper store? In small town Virginia? And… makes a living at it?
– I like Mary Margaret. She’s got good snark, even if she is secretly from Georgia but isn’t telling anyone.
– Nick has a mole shaped like a bunny rabbit next to his bellybutton. This feels a little bit like foreshadowing.
– Nick’s going to open a high end Italian restaurant in an old store in a small town and live above it. His renovation and start up budget is only $50,000? That’s…cute.
– Nick’s stripper name is the Highwayman? Isn’t that a bad 80s tv show with like, Chuck Norris? Not sexy. Chuck Norris is never sexy.
– Katie won’t know it’s Nick stripping though, cause he’s wearing a Zorro mask. (Earlier, she found a gold lame cape in his bedroom. Is that part of the Highwayman costume, or does he also do Liberace impersonations?)
– WAIT! The blasted bunny rabbit mole has given him away! I knew it would come back! (Sidebar: doesn’t everyone know that misshapen moles are an indicator of skin cancer? I think Nick needs to see his dermatologist.)
– Katie’s…not mad? She thinks it’s kind of hot. This makes no sense, as earlier she was ready to bolt from the strip club because she might see his “thing”. I swear to God guys, that’s what her steam of consciousness said. “Thing.” Are we twelve?
– Back to Virginia and the restaurant. Katie’s back hurts again but she doesn’t want to tell Nick. She’s sad because she can’t dance. Like, ever. Cause of the horse injury. And Nick clearly loves to dance. So this must be a deal breaker to the true love thing.
– Now they’re up in the attic and slow dancing. That’s sweet. Nick is showing her that not every dance move needs to be a Magic Mike routine.
– Oh. Oh my. Oh boy. They’re having sex standing up while dancing. This…this can’t possibly be good for Katie’s back problems. And also? How is that possible? Like, physically, I mean. Don’t you need…friction? Or something to brace yourself against? I just don’t see how this could be pleasurable. And this feels like a recipe for a disaster. Katie can barely go down a flight of stairs. I don’t know how she can have this kind of acrobatic sex. Tami needed to think this through a bit.
– Lather rinse repeat for awhile. (Not the standing up dancing sex, but sexy times. Including in a meadow. Which, again, maybe it’s cause I live in Florida and there are too many creepy crawly things on the ground to even consider having sex outside, but…do people really do this? On the ground on a horse farm? I seen what the roads look like after horses go by in a parade. It’s not pretty, and I certainly don’t want to lay down near it. Let’s get real, people.)
– Katie’s bringing Nick out to meet her brother, whose name escapes me, but it’s some manly cowboy name. Let’s call him Waylon. Actually, I think it might be Ryland. Whatever it is, the narrator makes him sound like the biggest hick this side of the Mississippi. He runs a pretty successful horse farm. He can’t be all dumb.
– Hmm. Look at that. Mary Margaret loves Waylon/Ryland but Waylon/Ryland doesn’t know it.
– Waylon/Ryland needs to stop talking cause he just sounds like a big old dumb redneck, and Mary Margaret is too classy for a guy who can’t stand to wear a suit and tie for one blasted night.
– Seriously, Waylon/Ryland. SHUT UP.
– Katie’s breaking up with Nick cause she can’t have kids. Lather rinse repeat for awhile.
– Katie’s broken hearted. Nick is broken hearted. The whole town knows. Does this really happen? Don’t they have Netflix in this place?
– Waylon/Ryland makes Katie go to the restaurant opening.
– Who proposes with a ring in a dinner roll? When they aren’t even at the table? To a girl who has already dumped you?
– Waylon/Ryland eats the ring. Well, not eats it, but eats the roll and spits out the ring and puts it in Katie’s water glass. GROSS. This is why you don’t need to get all creative with your proposals, dudes.
– This dinner scene is also why you don’t propose in public. Totally uncomfortable, even though she says yes.
– I guess this is happily ever after? I don’t know, though. It seems like Nick and Katie haven’t really figured out their roadblocks. If ever there were a couple ripe for premarital counseling, it’s these two.
So there you have it. And look, I’m not trying to make fun of Katie’s injuries or her struggle with not being able to have children. Lord knows that fertility issues are one of the worst things that women have to deal with, and chronic pain is no joke. If Hoag had taken this from a different angle, this could have been a very different book. But as it stands? I found Nick overbearing and annoying and the Goodfellas accent did not help. And Katie was whiny and twee and I couldn’t take her seriously. The other characters (I’m looking at you Waylon/Ryland) were caricatures of characters, and even Mary Margaret got on my nerves after awhile.
I think I may have gotten too worked up over this book.
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