Dear Ms. St. John,
As a woman of curves, I was happy to be offered the chance to read your book “Real Women Don’t Wear Size 2.” But while I enjoyed some things about it, there was an equal amount that just didn’t work for me.
Clarise Robinson is tired of just wishing for a relationship with Ethan Eubanks. She’s worked for his family’s fine clothing store for three years and been friends with Ethan for as long. She got a hint that maybe he might think of her as more than a friend at the company picnic party and has decided to make her move. Armed with a sexy new wardrobe to accentuate her curves, she’s determined to try her luck during the annual company bonding done at the Gasparilla Pirate Festival held in Tampa, FL.
Ethan has been wondering if Clarise might want more than their friendly relationship but is hesitant to risk it. What if Clarise doesn’t want to progress to being lovers? But when she agrees to finally attend the wild city party that is Gasparilla, he thinks his chance to test the waters might have arrived. After all, inhibitions are left behind during Gasparilla, a kind of pirate Mardi Gras. He just hopes that news of what happened during last years Gasparilla doesn’t reach Clarise during this years Gasparilla.
OK, maybe I went a bit overboard in the above paragraph but I wanted to point out how annoying it was to read the word “Gasparilla” 2-3 times per page for the first 100 pages of the book. It got to the stage where I was mentally rewriting your sentences to take that word out. And I think I must have officially reached Old Foggy (Foggette?) status now because the thought of standing in public on the street during a parade while men yell at me to flash my bodacious ta ta’s so they will throw me some strings of cheap beads leaves me cold. I realize this is supposed to be a hot, kicky novel but that’s just trashy.
I was also mystified by the short, taken nowhere, subplot of Clarise’s younger sister going off on a cruise. Why did you put her on a cruise ship then say nothing about it? She could have stayed in Birmingham for that matter. And the Big Misunderstanding between Clarise and Ethan didn’t work for me either. By which I mean I almost hurled the book before the details were revealed and even afterwards it still left me with a bad taste in my mouth.
Now I enjoyed watching Ethan and Clarise fall for each other and the playful sex was fun yet I couldn’t get past a few points. 1) Ethan and Clarise aren’t just coworkers but boss and employee. 2) How can Clarise keep thinking Ethan is just f*cking her to be a very good friend and keep her from f*cking a stranger? and 3) How can either one of them believe that they could ever go back to the former status of good friends after spending four days/nights humping each other like rabbits? I know that separately each hopes for more from the beginning but neither one let the other know this til the end of the book.
OK, I said I liked parts of the book so what were they? I like that you show them being compatible outside of their work/sex relationships. And that both are aware that that is special and something to look for when thinking of a long term relationship. I like that Clarise is competent in her job and liked by her friends and coworkers. And most of all, I like that even though she has new clothes, Clarise is still the same woman she was at the beginning of the book and that she didn’t have to slim down or work out to attract her man. She embraces who she is and decides to emphasize her assets rather than hiding them.
Readers looking for a light, breezy romantic “friends turned lovers” story might want to check this one out. But I can’t really go higher than a C- grade for it.