Francesca “Frankie” Cole’s parents went through a fairly harrowing split when she was fourteen. Her father cheated with a much younger woman, left her mother as a broken-down wreck and walked out without ever looking back. Frankie was the one who had to try to pick up the pieces with the devastated parent she had left. After a period of mourning, her mother seemed to decide that enough was enough, cut her hair, lost a lot of weight and started borrowing her daughter’s clothes, determined to sleep around just as much as her husband had. She didn’t seem to be very discriminate about whether the men she chose were older, younger or married and on the small island where they lived, and everyone knew everyone else’s business, Frankie’s life went from bad to worse as her mother’s reputation seemed to become automatically attached to her as well. Once Frankie left Puffin Island to go to college, she has never been back and she now tries to be as different from her mother as is humanly possible.
While her mother’s attitude seems to be “If you’ve got it, flaunt it”, Frankie never wears skirts or dresses (after a very unfortunate incident at prom, where someone seemed to think that since her mother liked to sleep around, Frankie did too). She prefers baggy, non-descript clothes and also wears thick-rimmed, specifically chosen unflattering glasses in public, clearly trying to hide herself away as much as possible. What few dating experiences she’s had, seem to have been fairly awful. She’s an introvert and deeply cynical and pretty much the opposite of her outgoing, romantic colleague and best friend Eva. One of the only men she feels comfortable around is Matt, her best friend Paige’s older brother, who also happens to be her landlord. Since Paige and Frankie have been friends since they were four, Matt has been there for her most of her life, and also knows how much of a scandal Frankie’s mother caused on Puffin Island.
While Matt might think he knows everything there is about Frankie, he’s shocked to realise one evening that the glasses she’s worn her entire adult life are not actually something she needs, but one of many defencive shields she uses to hide herself away from the world. He starts to wonder how much else he doesn’t know about the fascinating woman he’s been attracted to for so long. He knows that Frankie isn’t romantic, and actively seems to want to avoid dating, but he’s also pretty sure that his interest is not one-sided, and decides to take the plunge and move their relationship to the next level. Trying to coax Frankie out on a date is no easy feat, however.
Full review here.