Dear Ms. Andrews:
I grabbed this book on NetGalley given that I enjoyed How to Mend a Broken Heart quite a bit. An environmental protestor handcuffs herself to a property developer. Worse, they are fluffy pink handcuffs.
The scatty tree hugger with the uptight has never been my kind of story but I think what really bothered me was the obvious melodramatic overtones of the store. For instance, the heroine is shocked to find out that the hero’s eyes are blue:
” She’d figured they’d be black, like his heart, but she couldn’t have been more mistaken.”
Addie dates gentle guys not guys like Nathaniel whose very presence causes loss of speech and involuntary body shivers. And of course Nathaniel doesn’t like waifs in tie dye. He likes curvy sophisticates. I get it. They are opposites. The lack of nuance is astounding and in contrast with the last Andrews’ book I read, kind of unexpected.
Addie Collins even admits that she’s not truly a hippie despite her clothes and crystal shop, but that she’s embraced the lifestyle because she “just wanted to live a happy, stress-free, centered life. ” Addie won a bout with cancer and is determined to enjoy each moment of her life and, I guess, she views it as her mission to proselytize that mantra and impose it on others.
Nathaniel saves Addie from being struck by a bike courier and Addie decides that she must Pay It Forward. (Addie actually misunderstands the concept of paying it forward. Doing something for Nathaniel doesn’t pay it forward; instead, she does the good deed for someone else who then does a good deed for another. Addie is essentially engaging in a repayment. ).
“It’s bigger than that,” she continued. “More self-sacrificing. Like giving you my kidney. Or my life savings. Or bailing you out of jail—”
Addie offers to play Nathaniel’s girlfriend for his grandmother’s birthday party as her “Pay It Forward” act. She also decides she will teach him how to appreciate life.
Nathaniel Montgomery may well be rich and smart and the sexiest man she’d clapped eyes on, but he knew zip about what was truly important in life. Teaching him the import of stopping to smell the roses, preferably the ones at St Aggie’s, was exactly the way to repay him. And to do that, she had to get her foot in the door.
It’s not bad to see a woman be all “I know what’s best for you” but from either the male or female pov, that type of smug presumptuousness is irritating. You met someone for all of a moment and you decide you know what is best? You are going to teach that person a good lesson? Addie shows up to take Nathaniel to his grandmother’s birthday and she derides him for wearing a suit. She is wearing ratty shorts but even though this is Nathaniel’s family, about whom she knows nothing, Addie is sure she knows what is appropriate attire at the matriarch’s birthday celebration. Of course, she is right and Nathaniel is wrong because Nathaniel’s family is “her kind of people” but Addie doesn’t know this when she is criticizing Nathaniel for his attire.
Addie’s quest to turn Nate’s life into one with meaning is relentless, even during sex she is blackmailing him into walks in the park and time spent away from work. On the one hand, admirable and on the other, really?
If a reader connects to Addie, I think she would enjoy this story. Unfortunately Addie irritated me rather than inspired me and Nathaniel was straight off the stock character store, aisle 5 for strong, uptight men ready to be taken down a peg by a woman. C-