REVIEW: Great-Aunt Sophia’s Lessons for Bombshells by Lisa Cach
Ever dream of being transformed into a bombshell?
Grace Cavanaugh thinks she’s in for an easy, lazy summer when she takes a job as companion to her great aunt Sophia in Pebble Beach. She’ll dab spittle from her aunt’s chin, watch ‘Animal Planet’, and work on her dissertation for her PhD in Women’s Studies.
But Sophia has other plans. With a tart tongue that would put Bette Davis to shame, Sophia sets about transforming her dumpy great-niece into a copy of the B-movie bombshell Sophia once was, and in the process teaches her a thing or two about men, sexual liberation, and power.
Caught in Sophia’s web along with Grace are Declan O’Brien, the college football star turned financial advisor, and Dr. Andrew Pritchard, Sophia’s dewy-cheeked personal physician. Declan makes Grace’s body melt, but it’s Andrew who seems to be on her same mental wavelength.
By the time the summer’s over, though, Grace isn’t going to know whether she’s a scholar or a bombshell, or maybe a little bit of both
Dear Ms. Cach,
Several of your books reside on my “I love these books!” shelf. So when I hear that you’ve got a new addition to your oeuvre, I tend to get excited. After reading “Great-Aunt Sophia’s Lessons for Bombshells,” I was more confused and “meh” than excited. Let me explain. I just wasn’t sure what this book was supposed to be and be saying. Was it Chick Lit? Or a romance? Or an erotic romance? It didn’t really end up being any of those for me and thus could be labeled – for me at least – as a disappointment. I did, however, come up with some alternate titles.
“What Not to Wear – The Bombshell Version”
“How to Win Friends and Sexily Influence People”
First let me say it’s hard to like a lot of the characters. There are lots of disagreeable characters and I almost quit after chapters 2 and 3. The feelings and thoughts initially revealed by Aunt Sophia will dismay or upset so many. It disparages both lesbians and feminists plus makes men seem to be cads. Aunt Sophia reveals herself as a master manipulator and she definitely has an agenda with Grace so some of this could be said just to pull Grace’s strings but I was aghast. Other characters, such as Darlene, appear and conveniently disappear at random. Andrew is cardboard cutout only there for plot reasons and turned into mess at end. Sophia didn’t see the real man? I find that hard to believe so again maybe she was using him to achieve her ultimate ends. Grace’s friend Cat is another problem child. Is she Grace’s friend who will tell it like it is when Grace needs to hear it or is she a whiney bitch out to cut Grace down? I never was sure but I was glad Cat doesn’t have a large role in the book.
The story also feels choppy as it lurches back and forth. Parts are slow, crawlingly slow, and parts whiplash especially both Declan’s realization of his feelings and the final HEA. Grace does a whirlwind turnaround at end as well – from “it’s over!” to agreeing to marry Declan. The sexing is hawt, frequent (at least by Grace’s journal entries, though we don’t actually see all of it by a long shot) but it’s more erotic than romantic. Well, maybe not much of that either since we only actually see two hawt scenes and the rest are just recorded in her journal as having occurred. So in retrospect, it’s not really that erotic overall. And there’s precious little romance to make up for the lack of erotic.
As for the “ILY” – I can see that these two have fallen (separately) in love with each other but they don’t know it until almost the very last little tippy tip of the book. In the end, I’m left wondering about Declan and Grace’s HEA. Both have changed but I’m still not entirely sure I like all the changes. At the end, Grace says love should make you want to be better – should make you better. Is she? I don’t know. Is Declan? Probably but the final change in him is too fast for me. I think I would have been happier with a HFN and “let’s see what happens” ending.
Sophia isn’t lying about how the world is full of people who manipulate to get what they want. And Grace becoming more confident, rather than truly nothing but a bombshell, and using her feminine power of allure isn’t necessarily bad. All Sophia’s lessons seem fairly cold but there are nuggets of truth there as well. I’ll have to think about this. Was Sophia acting and arranging the whole thing? I was pretty sure over course of book and this was proved at end. It was a bold move to make her so crabby and manipulating. Everything Sophia does did achieve her goal of getting Grace married off, if that was the goal – but she’s still a disagreeable old bat. I give her credit though – she is still firm in her beliefs.
The book works more as a discussion and exploration of changes/evolutions – or not – in male/female relations as seen through Sophia’s lessons vs Grace’s female studies and modern thoughts. Is either right or wrong? Have people changed that much or is it only surface stuff? Will inter/intra gender issues ever really change? And not just about sex and love but about getting what you want and how to interact with others in all social situations? By the time I’d finished I still didn’t know. But notice I didn’t say it works well as a romance or an erotic romance. D