I’m the sort of person who loves ridiculous holiday romcoms and wishes they contained more romantic content. A Merry Little Meet Cute should have been aces for me: a steamy plus-size holiday rom-com about an adult film star who is semi-accidentally cast as a lead in a family-friendly Christmas movie, and the former bad-boy pop star co-star she falls in love with. This has potential! The basic plot builds on that potential. We have Bee Hobbes, a successful career as a plus-size adult film star paired up with Nolan Shaw, an ex-boy band member in desperate need of career rehab. When Bee’s favorite porn producer casts her to star in a Christmas movie he’s making for the squeaky-clean Hope Channel, Bee’s career could move into a more family-friendly direction, something she’s been thinking about as her time in porn will eventually come to an end. For his part, Nolan’s goal is to be able to provide a more stable living situation for his sister and mom and the only way he can see to do that is to step back into the limelight, if he can manage to get his reputation to stop being the first thing every one associates with him.
But… while Julie Murphy and Sierra Simone show themselves to be highly adept writers who do a fantastic job balancing their authorial voices to create one for the book, the execution is uneven, leaving me feeling a bit let down. I loved everything about the fat rep (including Bee’s vacillating between being confident and not), and the sex and sex work positivity. But for the sheer number of times Bee’s sex toys and Nolan’s proclivities and preferences are mentioned on page, much of the raunchier sex was off page if alluded to at all. It was strange to me to read a book that was so up front in its positions regarding presenting less frequently mainstream topics in romance, but not following through on including them in the actual relationship that the book is focused on. I had fun while I was reading the book, got pulled into the ever more complicated goings-on of the characters. But… I never felt that urge to get back to them after I put the book down, and I had to talk myself up to getting my review written, having ignored it for the better part of a week once I was finished. I think I’ve gotten to the heart of the matter, though. While I loved all the parts of this book, the reason I don’t love the book is because the emotional component of the relationship building between Bee and Nolan is the least present thing in the book, and that’s a damn shame.
Many thanks to the publisher for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Bingo Square: Holiday (the book is entirely set around Christmas, while the characters are filming a Christmas movie for a Hallmark Channel stand-in.)