REVIEW: Fit for You by Cynthia Tennent
Small towns have the biggest hearts.
In the split-second it takes to injure her knee, Lily Shue’s life goes from rising star to small town reject. Forced to give up her role as a trainer on a hit reality fitness show, she takes a job in tiny Truhart, Michigan. By the time Lily arrives in the one horse town—on her crutches—she is well and truly fed up. And then a maniac nearly hits her with his garbage truck . . .
Edgar “Egde” Callaghan knows a little bit about broken bones—and broken dreams. A former skier and Olympic hopeful, Edge’s athletic career ended in injury, and took his love life with it, leaving him to bum around Truhart doing the occasional odd job, including driving his uncle’s teddy bear covered garbage truck. But something about the feisty new brunette in town tempts him to lace up his sneakers again. Even if it’s just to prove her wrong about him. And maybe to prove something to himself.
Lily and Edge may have started off on the wrong foot, but before long they realize they’re both moving in the same direction . . . toward each other.
Dear Ms. Tennent,
Several things in this blurb caught my eye and got my finger to hover over the “request” button. Lily and Edge aren’t septillionaires, both of them appear to have hit some hard times and are trying to climb back up and what is this about a teddy bear covered garbage truck? Oh yes, I had to find out about that.
Lily and Edge’s “meet cute” involved ice, crutches, Norco and the said garbage truck which was a lot of the reason Lily is hobbling away from Edge as fast as her pain pill induced wooziness will allow. She’s also aware of stranger danger. Only after a lot of work from Edge – including a textually challenged iphone conversation he shows her from his Uncle Pete – is Lily finally convinced to entrust her life to him. One thing she immediately notices about Edge is that he’s got a lumbersexual look going and he seems strangely cognizant of and sympathetic about her knee-injury limitations.
A quick trip through her new small town reveals her promised apartment is damaged so Lily is off to live with Edge’s rambunctious family. The next day is soon enough for her to learn the truth of her situation. Hired with a health grant to help get this town back into physical shape, Lily’s got precious little equipment or money to work with and a whole lot of motivating she’s going to need to do. There’s also her co-trainer who will be working in a neighboring town. Aubrey is the type of obnoxious character who you just know is going to be a problem. And she is – along with her whiney brother. More on them later.
Lily’s not afraid of hard work. She’s always felt the need to try and live up to her overachieving older brothers and she genuinely likes what she does. From the start, we can see that with Lily, it’s not just getting people to lose weight that’s important to her. She looks at everything from diet, to exercise, to motivation. She’s constantly thinking of what could help someone reach their fitness goals even if Edge has to remind her that sometimes she can sound a little strident in her attempts to reform his fellow Truhartians.
Meanwhile Lily gets pissed off a time or three at Edge for what she thinks is trying to sabotage the efforts of her fitness participants. Still she never thought she’d find the bearded, flannel shirt look as sexy as she does and Edge’s ability to anticipate what her healing knee needs is handy in spite of her fierce desire to be independent. She also likes impressing him with her sports enthusiasm and savvy.
Life in the Callahan household is noisy – Edge’s six year old twin nephews are hilarious while Edge’s mother’s awareness and acceptance of their growing sexual relationship causes Lily to cringe – but the family dynamics avoid being kooky just for small-town-inhabitants-are-wacky sake. The townspeople are fairly normal as well with even an occasional quarrel or two. Past book characters also aren’t paraded out just as a sales pitch.
Lily gets to work but some past history – her own as well as Truhart vs their neighboring town plus Edge and (good Lord she’s awful and her brother is worse) Aubrey – rear up and threaten all her efforts and her job. It might help rally Truhart and Edge to the cause but will it be enough and what will it reveal about Lily, Edge and what they’ve been trying to accomplish?
I liked Lily which is good since this is a first person narrative. Edge is right that she can be a little strong trying to do her job but Lily’s motivation to help people is real and comes from within given her own youthful struggles to be fit and athletic. She knows what it is to have to work for what she wants and overcome her past injuries. Edge remains a deliberate mystery to us for a while and it’s only slowly that his past emerges from the happy-go-lucky and, in Lily’s initial opinion, lazy façade he projects. Edge has his believable reasons and I like that Lily begins to fall for him as he is even before his true caring self is revealed.
Edge helps Lily focus on what is in her control but the situation that arises soon after will test his own. Edge has got a competitive streak that that stuns Lily and acts as their final relationship hurdle. And even though it makes sense given his past achievements, I’m not really sure I recall seeing him get past it at the end. Suddenly it just seemed to disappear when the plot needed it.
But by then I was convinced Lily and Edge loved each other, were good for each other and saw the real person in each other. Edge had gotten Lily to ease up a touch and her work with the townspeople had brought out all her caring and enthusiasm for her job and got her to see what’s really important. That in turn had gotten the people of Truhart to bond together and help each other. Okay so the end is a little “triumph over adversity” + kumbaya but this is a town with a garbage truck covered in stuffed animals which serve a point – care for each other, be there for each other, motivate each other and make life just a little better for all. B