REVIEW: The Art of Running in Heels by Rachel Gibson
Running in five-inch stilettos is an art form
Leaving your fiancé at the altar on live television is a disaster. Lexie Kowalsky thought she was ready to get married in front of millions of people, but at the last minute she fled the set of television’s hottest reality show, Gettin’ Hitched. Wearing a poofy white dress and a pair of five-inch sparkly shoes, Lexie hopped a float plane for Sandspit, Canada. She figured no one would find her there. But she was wrong.
Sharing her flight was the Seattle Chinooks biggest star, Sean Knox. Lexie wasn’t just a reality-show runaway, she was his pain in the butt coach’s daughter. She was chaos and temptation and definitely off limits, but getting her luscious body out of that wedding gown, he couldn’t resist getting her in his bed for one amazing night.
Then a photo of Sean and Lexi breaks the internet—and suddenly they’re both swept up in a crazy plan to spin the whole story. But you can’t run from love—
Dear Ms. Gibson,
Yes, it’s been awhile since I read one of your booksbut many of them have worked well for me in the past so the blurb for this one sucked me right in. It’s kind of back to the beginning with the daughter of the “Simply Irresistible” hero and heroine all grown up and following in her mother’s footsteps. Well, more running in them than walking as Lexie is hotfooting it from her wedding too.
The opening scene here gives us a twofer – we see how happy John “The Wall” Kowalsky and Georgeanne have been for their twenty year marriage and how shocked they are that their eldest daughter is taking part in a reality marriage show. It also points to a series of issues I have with the book which I suspect wouldn’t have bothered me quite so much even last year but which now stick out – namely the language and terms used by a lot of the characters.
John’s language, along with most of the other hockey players in the book, is colorful in a derogatory way. It might be standard trash talk on the ice, over a puck but it’s also insulting and mainly to women though we’re not the only group being put down. P*ssies, p*ansies, “like a girl,” and s*ssies are but a few of the terms and ways of describing things. Then John gets going insulting the other contestant in the show with standard put-downs thrown at rural Americans. No, we’re not all hayseeds, hicks or inbred. Later on Sean compares Lexie to a special needs child when he needs to divert his mother’s attention from Lexie’s identity. “Hit that son of a bitch” sounds almost wholesome after a while. As I said, until the past few years, I probably would have just sighed and kept reading but now, um, not so much. Readers take stock of what might your verbal line in the sand.
Lexie’s reason for taking part in the reality show blurred once or twice during explanations but end up being a way to tout her dog couture business. When you’ve got a Chinese crested, they need clothes. But despite being a planner who can devise memos with bullet points that seem to go on forever, Lexie somehow lets herself get caught up in the hoopla and competitiveness of the program and ends up “winning.” The reality of the reality show hits her too late and now she’s sprinting, in high heels and a “My Big Fat Wedding” dress down a dock after dodging the press and show producers. Lexie sometimes has impulse control issues.
Sean is trying to head off his mother’s hypochondriac craziness – which is a plot point which comes and goes as needed – with a short visit home to the back of beyond Vancouver. Her craziness during his childhood has cemented his desire to avoid it in his adult life so a runaway bride with a nation of TV hosts fueling an APB to find her isn’t on his agenda however it’s what he’s stuck with. I got annoyed when Lexie comps to having been a hypochondriac as a child but it appears it’s something she’s outgrown. Really?
Soon these two are stuck together in that beloved trope – the fake engagement. And it’s while this is being implemented that I realized – near the halfway point of the book – that I wasn’t all that fond of Lexie. She’s so smart yet lands herself in a world of trouble with her actions then needs Sean to bail her out which she engineers with some pouting, denials, lies and blackmail. It seemed to bother Sean more to lie to her parents than it did Lexie. At times, I agreed with some of what her fellow reality show contestants sniped at her about – namely that she’s spoiled, usually charms her way out of a mess, has also had her parents get her out of problems and provide her with all she wants and hasn’t had to face the consequences much. My hope that she would have a reality slap shot moment by the end of the book never really happened.
For a man who wants to focus only on his game, poor Sean is doomed. He’s the new man on the team and after that hazing is over, he gets hit with “dating” his coach’s daughter. The cloud of his mother descends once or twice but it seems all she needs is a dog to focus on and then she’s out of his life. Poor Sean – and I began to think of him this way – is just going along with the nuttiness and enjoying some steaming sex when Lexie drops the “love you” bomb and gets upset when he doesn’t jump through that hoop too. I’m with ya Sean.
The sudden about – aboot, since he’s Canadian? – face seems more a competitiveness thing – he doesn’t want to see another man in Lexie’s life or have someone else dealing with her crazy or around her dog – than it does love. I finish the book unconvinced. I do like that Lexie isn’t ashamed or shamed for her sexual needs and desires. She is a smart woman and allowed to be that. She’s never humiliated to put her in a position of weakness yet I also don’t think she moved past the issues that precipitated the whole plot. She still seemed to be looking for ways to spin doctor herself. I kept reading the book – mainly because of Sean – until the end but the more I think about it, the whole just never overcame the problems I had with it. C-