Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Big Girl Panties, by Stephanie Evanovich

Holly Brennan has no idea what she's in for when she steps on a plane coming back from a business meeting in Toronto. When she's seated next to Logan Montgomery, she catches his slight whiff of disdain over her body, and the logistics of sitting next to an overweight woman. Logan, a personal trainer with his own gym, impulsively takes Holly on as his "project," which results in so much more than Logan's own version of The Ugly Duckling with a little Pygmalion thrown in.

Filled with humor, a little kink and a lot of personal growth, Big Girl Panties is an oddity in today's contemporary romance genre. While Holly does lose weight and get into shape under Logan's tutelage and her own perserverence, she does remain against type, and that's what makes this novel so endearing. One would think that all the personal growth was on Holly's side. After all, she has to overcome isolation, loneliness, guilt over her husband's death, and a horrid upbringing, in order to curb her emotional eating. That's all fine and expected in this kind of story and Holly does do a superb job doing just that. But Logan too, needs to put his big boy shorts on and grow up. His growth comes from realizing that he can move beyond his own image others have of him (and what he has of himself), stop caring about what others think, and learn to not only think for himself, but put aside everything else to gain his own happiness. I enjoyed Logan's awakening more than I did Holly's, actually.

The novel is filled with good advice on emotional eating and fitness, probably not intentional as they fit totally into the story, but I got that out of it as well. The only recommendation I have is to cut Chase and Amanda's backstory to a minimum. I'm unaware if these two have appeared in a previous novel, although I have a feeling that would explain why they get so much "press" in this book. If that's the case, and even if it's not, I really didn't need to know the details of their early relationship. Hey, whatever works! I don't think the two or three pages explaining their back story was necessary. One or two sentences could have done it. At times, their narration took away from Holly and Logan, and that's a pity. While an interesting secondary couple, their story should not impinge on the main event, especially when the main event is so darn good!

Really good contemporary romance with more than one twist. I highly recommend it.

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