Like many people, I really liked The Hating Game and was so-so on 99 Percent Mine. This is another 3.5 star book but rounded down, because as an adult woman who lives in the world I never quite was able to lower my haunches where our male lead (Teddy) was concerned.
As I noted re: Just Last Night, you need have both growth and tropes to get to a earnt HEA. My issue here was that Teddy never really earned the right to his HEA, especially after spending a decent amount of the book playacting (playing? being?) as a lovable sociopath.
Ruthie (our female lead) is a bundle of anxieties so shy it’s almost unbearable. She’s got the cloistered tragic childhood (super conservative pastor-and-pastor’s-wife parents, multiple foundational incidents in which she was told she had Sinned and needed to pay the price) and, as such, is literally paralyzed when she has to leave the campus of the little retirement community of the wealthy that she runs.
And oh, how wealthy–Renata and Aggie, as noted by others, are probably one of the main highlights of this book, with their Rolls Royce and ostentatious fashions and demands of their multitude of hired errand boys.
But back to the novel: Ruthie decides she’d like to start expressing herself more authentically, and Teddy simply decides it’s time for him to just bulldozer her attempts like a sort of vain puppy, always insistent that he’ll charm her socks off. And why wouldn’t he? Ruthie is 25 and hasn’t stepped off the grounds of her job in six years, and Teddy has had a full and fulsome life out in the real world. Her friend Mel is utterly right that going for Teddy will be like taking a Lamborghini out to learn how to drive and then driving it into a wall. It’s just…creepy feeling. I’ve known many Teddy’s of the world, and they are like catnip to quiet, seemingly overlooked women. I just wanted to protect Ruthie at all times because she has no basis of comparison in how to be with someone like that!
Preach, Mel: Your constant attempts to derail this to keep the attention on yourself are really annoying
ALL THAT ASIDE.
Since even I could tell where this novel was going to end up, I assume you do as well. I just wish Teddy had flagellated himself a bit more on the way, in a way that’s a little more permanent [than, dunno, cutting his hair and wearing a suit once]. If you recall the halcyon The Hating Game, Josh definitively, positively demonstrated his bona fides to Lucinda prior to making his Big Move [by submitting his resignation and accepting the other job he’d been looking for. He’s not conditionally doing something and hoping Lucinda trusts the meaning behind what he’s done].
But yes, this was lovely and Renata should have all the errand boys in the world. And also her
gal pal sister Aggie.