Today’s team review is from Barb, she blogs here http://barbtaub.com/
Barb has been reading Fat Girl Begone by D. E Haggerty
How many times do you plan a vacation where you have no idea of your destination? Not that often, I’d bet. We may SAY it’s the journey that matters…but a mountain climber doesn’t want their journey to end up in an art museum any more than an opera buff wants to end up on a surfer beach. It’s the same with the romance genre. Sure, we expect that the two main characters will end up together. But the paths taken to reach that point are literally infinite in number. Just ask Elizabeth Bennett (Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen), Claire Randall (Outlander by Diana Gabaldon), Kate Daniels (Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews) or any of the literally millions of romance heroines how they arrived at their HEAs. Some of those paths are so well-travelled that the scenery is boring and the tour has become a cliche. Others, though familiar, still offer plenty of exciting, gorgeous, and just plain romantic views along the way. Take Fat Girl Begone as an excellent example where the destination might be a given, but the fun is all in how author D.E. Haggerty gets us there.
It might seem like Everly Rawlins has it all—handsome and successful boyfriend, partnership-track at her accounting firm, secret savings account to fund her dream wedding. But her self-image tells her she’s fat, her boyfriend tells her he’s leaving because he can’t take any more of her obsession with diet instead of him, her best friend tells her that tequila-fuelled decision to pre-pay for a private trainer is non-negotiable, and her employer tells her security will be escorting her from their premises. And that’s just the beginning, as author D. E. Haggerty keeps the romance tropes flying so fast we barely register the meet-cute with Mr. Yummy, the obligatory ensuing love triangle, and all four types of what the Greeks called the four loves:
- STORGE (Affection/family love): Everly builds a new family-of-choice in her supportive, profane, but well-dressed new friends from the gym.
- PHILIA (Friendship love): Her best friends steadfastly refuse to accept Everly’s body image issues, seeing her as both intelligent and beautiful.
- EROS (Romantic love): Rejected by her long-time boyfriend, Everly tries to keep new suitors firmly in the friend-zone, telling herself that she is not up to their league.
- AGAPE (Unconditional love): With her former boyfriend as the poster boy for how to undermine self-image, Everly is suspicious of unconditional love when it’s offered.
There are so many things I liked about Everly. The snarky banter with her friends, the humor that shines through even when she’s at her lowest points, the secret core of strength she has no idea is there, and way we start to see her intelligence and beauty as reflected in her friends’ love and admiration—these all combine in beautifully orchestrated character development.
There were a few things I found a little harder to swallow. There’s the billionaire who seems to work about an hour a week, the new business that springs into life and instant success, the will-they/won’t-they (they will) suspense, the expanding triangle as every guy she meets falls in lust with Everly, and especially the mind-boggling perfection of a suitor whose like hasn’t been seen outside the pages of Porn for Women. (Sexy Shirtless Guy: “As soon as I finish the laundry, I’ll do the grocery shopping. And I’ll take the kids with me.”)
Does any of that matter? Not if what you’re looking for is a funny, entertaining, and ultimately charming journey to a destination you knew about right from the start. If that’s what you’re hoping for, then Fat Girl Begone is exactly the right ticket.
I’m a total mess. My boyfriend dumped me – get this – because I diet too much. Not because I’m fat, mind you. Of course, this spurs me into the diet-fitness-revenge-plan of the century, which leads me to the gym and a scorching hot personal trainer. I even manage to make some cool new friends, including a millionaire if you can believe it. Things are looking up! Naturally, that’s the moment my ex decides he wants me back, the personal trainer asks me out, and my millionaire male buddy decides to throw his hat in the ring. But that’s not enough drama. No, not for me. Because I’ve also lost my job and decided to start my own business. Just call me Ms. Drama.
Warning: Bad language, bumpy roads, and embarrassing moments ahead. But there’s also more than a bit of romance and even, if we’re lucky, love. Fingers crossed.
Not endorsed by or affiliated with any brand of tequila.
About the author
I grew-up reading everything I could get my grubby hands on, from my mom’s Harlequin romances, to Nancy Drew, to Little Women. When I wasn’t flipping pages in a library book, I was penning horrendous poems, writing songs no one should ever sing, or drafting stories which have thankfully been destroyed. College and a stint in the U.S. Army came along, robbing me of free time to write and read, although on the odd occasion I did manage to sneak a book into my rucksack between rolled up socks, MRIs, t-shirts, and cold weather gear. After surviving the army experience, I went back to school and got my law degree. I jumped ship and joined the hubby in the Netherlands before the graduation ceremony could even begin. A few years into my legal career, I was exhausted, fed up, and just plain done. I quit my job and sat down to write a manuscript, which I promptly hid in the attic after returning to the law. But being a lawyer really wasn’t my thing, so I quit (again!) and went off to Germany to start a B&B. Turns out being a B&B owner wasn’t my thing either. I polished off that manuscript languishing in the attic before deciding to follow the husband to Istanbul where I decided to give the whole writer-thing a go. But ten years was too many to stay away from my adopted home. I packed up again and moved to The Hague where I’m currently working on my next book. I hope I’ll always be working on my next book.
Fat girl Begone! is my eleventh book.