FicCentral received a free copy of this book from Simon & Schuster (via NetGalley).
Publisher: Gallery Books on September 10, 2013
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance (Adult)
In this modern-day Cinderella story with a charming twist, a young widow with two rambunctious sons falls for a gorgeous movie star. But can she handle life in the limelight?
When Kelly Reynolds’s husband died two years ago, he left her to raise their two young boys. She’s barely pieced herself back together and takes refuge in her routine, running her kids around town and running the trails near their Idaho home.
A chance encounter on a trail run brings famous actor Andy Pettigrew into her life. He’s clearly interested in her, but Kelly hates risk, and a love affair with Andrew is certainly tempting fate. She doesn’t fit into his Hollywood world. She doesn’t own a pair of Louboutins, and she couldn’t walk five steps in them if she did. Andrew oozes cool. She reeks of dork.
Despite this, they click. But Andrew struggles with the pressures of his fame, and Kelly’s hold on a so-called normal life is already tenuous. So as much as she wants to indulge the fantasy, she doesn’t know how either of them is supposed to cope with stalkerazzi and tweet-happy fans with camera phones. Especially when she and Andrew both have secrets that seem impossible to keep…
Since Kelly’s husband died, every day has been a struggle to get back to something resembling normal. She’s managed to keep it together for her sons, but after two years, the pain is still fresh. But when a stranger finds Kelly crying in the midst of her morning run, it’s not long before Kelly finds herself in the odd circumstances of spending time with a famous — and available — movie star. But they each live in different worlds, and even as they come to depend on each other and develop deeper feelings, the grief for their pasts and the demands of their present threaten to come between them.
The prologue was simply heartbreaking, detailing the moments leading up to Kelly’s widowhood with an indefinable clarity that even someone who’s never experienced that great loss can’t help but understand. It perfectly set the stage for the rest of the story, picking up two years later as Kelly is still grieving the loss of her husband and trying simply to get through each day without losing hope.
Kelly’s life has been pretty empty and rather boring since losing Peter, and when she runs into Andrew on the second anniversary of Peter’s death, she doesn’t even recognize him. But as uneventful as her life may be, she hasn’t been living under a rock, and when they meet again, realization dawns. However, there’s a silent understanding between them that Andrew doesn’t want a big deal made of his presence, and Kelly goes along with it, trying to treat him like just another person and not a famous movie star.
Where most romances that start the way Fix You did focus on grief and guilt and an inability to move on, Kelly and Andrew’s story was refreshingly different. While Kelly was certainly still mourning her husband, she wasn’t closed off to the possibility of a future with someone new — though she did feel like she was in some kind of parallel universe to be casually hanging out with a movie star. And Andrew, for his part, wasn’t running away from fame or pushing Kelly away out of some misplaced sense of responsibility; instead he relished the time he had with her, the ability to live a relatively unknown and normal life for whatever few days they had together, and while he didn’t hide his attraction to and interest in her, he also didn’t rush things.
Unfortunately, past the prologue, it began to feel like I was missing something, like some of the connection to the characters was lacking. I liked Kelly, and her kids kept even the everyday routine situations entertaining without going over the top. But after the romance between Kelly and Andrew began to slowly develop, it felt like my emotional connection to them sort of stalled out. I think part of what was missing was the chemistry — and not just because of all the fade-to-black moments. I’ve read plenty of clean romances that dealt up passion without ever taking readers along for a step-by-step ride. But even as it was obvious that Andrew and Kelly cared deeply for each other, something about their relationship never felt like they couldn’t get enough of each other — even when the characters said exactly that.
There was still plenty to like about the story. Kelly was very real — couldn’t cook to save her life, lived in a somewhat messy life, and felt out of place in the rather glamorous world that Andrew was stuck in. And Andrew had faults as well, namely dealing in all the wrong ways with an event from his past and not always keeping Kelly in the forefront of his mind when he was feeling especially low. Fortunately, even with the sadder aspects of both their pasts, not to mention the issues that Andrew’s fame brought to the table, the story remained grounded and for the most part upbeat, not a study in drowning angst and unbelievable drama like so many books with this general theme fall prey to. Overall, Fix You is a sweet love story about second chances for an unlikely but well-matched pair, and while I didn’t entirely feel the connection, it was still a very enjoyable read.