But, that’s exactly what the heroine, Tess, did. She showed up in her fancy little designer gloves, coat, and boots—all of which were designed with fashion in mind, not function—and the hero, Lukas, was forced to spend the first 20 or so pages of the book keeping Tess from freezing to death. He also had to provide her with proper clothing. I was embarrassed for her. Her lack of preparedness wasn’t cute or endearing, it was stupid. (Which, Lukas told her more than once. He was right, but the number of times he pointed out her stupidity was a little annoying, too. We all get it. She’s an idiot we should feel sorry for. I didn’t need him to keep saying it.)
Also, just as a PS: don’t watch New In Town. It’s awful. Really, really awful. And if you decide to watch it out of morbid curiosity, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
People from cold weather states aren’t ugly
Early on, Lukas comments that they don’t make beautiful, curvy gals like Tess in Michigan. Are we to believe that women from cold weather states are ugly and dumpy? That’s pretty insulting. On behalf of all the cold weather gals like me out there in reading land, allow me to say, fuck you, Lukas!
Date rape shouldn’t be ignored
I don’t consider this a spoiler, because it isn’t made into a big deal in the story, but fairly early on, we learn that Tess left Florida after waking up naked and disoriented after a party. She hadn’t been drinking too much, but still had no memory of what had happened. Her answer to this event was to flee the state. It never even occurred to her that she could have been drugged and raped. Who doesn’t realize that they could have been drugged and raped in that scenario? We’ve all seen the Lifetime movies. There’s, like, two a week on that very topic! There was even an episode or two of Veronica Mars about the same thing.
The fact that Tess was clueless made me want to smack her. And the fact that she ran away and never tried to figure out what had happened in an effort to punish those responsible made me want to smack her again. The whole subject was kind of broached as an afterthought and never really resolved. This whole aspect of the story could have been eliminated and I think the book would’ve been better for it. (I certainly would’ve had more respect for Tess if this whole plotline had been abandoned)
Boobs don’t ruin lives
Here again, we hear a grown-ass woman talking about how her boobs ruined her life. She was picked on as a teen, targeted by a sexual predator, had poor self-esteem...you name the cliche, it’s happened to Tess. My feelings on this subject are very clear. Boobs don’t ruin lives. Women let other people ruin their lives, and they blame their issues on boobs. Boobs can be blamed for two things: 1) ill-fitting button-up shirts that gap in the middle, and 2) back aches. That is all. Kids picking on you because you developed early can only ruin your life if you let it. The same can be said for getting unwanted attention from men. Strong, self-assured women shouldn’t blame their boobs for shit that happened when they were teenagers. If Tess was a teenager, I could totally understand her boob-related angst. But Tess is a grown-ass woman who should have learned long ago that boobs can’t ruin lives and she should’ve taken responsibility for her own self-esteem issues. (I’ll step down off my soapbox now)
Secrets for no reason...ugh
The word “secrets” in the title should’ve been a red flag for me, so I take partial blame for this one. But there was REALLY no reason for either of these people to keep their secrets for as long as they did. And after Lukas spilled his secrets would have been a PERFECT time for Tess to spill hers, but she didn’t. She let it drag out for weeks for no reason at all. Act like grown-ups, damn it! Talk to each other!
And this isn’t a complaint, just a warning to y’all who might be looking for a sexy romance. This one’s a clean romance. I don’t mind clean romances, but I wouldn’t want any of you who are looking for a spicy romance to pick this one up by mistake.
Long-story-short, the heroine is an idiot, and I sort of think the author owes people from Florida and Michigan an apology. (Or, at the very least, her characters owe them an apology)
Does this book contribute to or help crush the romance stigma?
It’s pretty stigma-y. Not the worst I’ve ever seen, but far from the best.
Other reading suggestions
Definitely check out our list of recommendations for “forced proximity” reads!