Review: Big Girl Panties by Stephanie Evanovich

Holly Brennan didn't expect to be a widow at thirty-two. She also didn't expect to be so big. Through her husband Bruce's diagnosis and death, food was the one thing she could always count on. Now, those extra pounds make flying coach more than a little mortifying-especially since she's sitting next to Adonis himself, aka Logan Montgomery, a personal trainer to the country's most famous pro athletes.

Though Holly doesn't make the grade on his first-impression meter, Logan finds himself intrigued by her sharp wit and keen insight-a welcome change from the beautiful bubble-headed dolls he usually dates-and impulsively offers to get her back in shape. Ready to make at least one positive change in her life, Holly agrees.

To Logan's (and her own) surprise, Holly turns out to be a natural in the gym. Throwing herself into exercise, the red head with the blazing wit and welcoming smile slims down into a bonafide looker with killer curves-and a new kind of hunger. Soon, the easy intimacy and playful banter of their training sessions lead Logan and Holly into the bedroom where they share their most intense and steamy workouts yet.

But can a man whose whole life depends on looks commit himself to a woman who doesn't fit his image? Now that Holly's turning other men's heads, does she even need Logan anymore? Are they a couple built to last . . . or is this sizzling affair going to burn out fast?

I think the blurb pretty much tells you what’s going on in the story. I think I’ll just supplement this somewhat.

So Holly starts her workouts with Logan but as time goes on and she loses weight one of Logan’s friends, the wife of a profession baseball player, befriends Holly and makes her move to get Holly and Logan together. Amanda sees the potential between Logan and Holly and does several things to get that train moving. She helps Holly shop for some form fitting clothes as the clothes that fit her 40 pounds ago certainly don’t now. This makes Holly feel better about herself as she starts to see herself in a new light. Then Amanda’s husband and Logan’s best fried, Chase, encourages Holly to get out and start dating – which infuriates Amanda and doesn’t set too well with Logan either but he can’t believe that it’s jealousy.

When Logan finally does realize that he’s attracted to Holly he makes his move and the two of them can’t keep their hands off of each other from then on. But Logan doesn’t ever take Holly anywhere, they just hang at her house. When he’s alone he is still thinking to himself how he can get that last 20 pounds off of Holly so she’ll be more acceptable. Holly doesn’t think too much about this staying in business until Logan comes to terms with the fact that he’s hiding Holly because she’s not the image that he wants to portray for his personal training business. He doesn’t mention that to Holly but he does start taking her out to parties, etc.

It’s at one of these parties that Logan’s ex, Natalie, mentions that Holly is his ugly duckling – the one he’s turning into a swan. This devastates Holly as she’d never heard him refer to her to the ugly duckling. She realizes that as much of a front as Logan put on he isn’t really proud to be with her, she’s just someone he’s playing with. She decides to break with him but not before she shows him just how she feels in a very public way.

I have to say that this story started off well. I was totally into it and was having a good time with it until Logan and Holly actually started sleeping together. It was then that Logan’s true colors came out and I saw him for the jackass he could be. Even when he was so kind to Holly to her face and was all over her in the bedroom he was still thinking of getting her thinner. He was still thinking of her as his “pudgy cherub.” Ug. I think the biggest problem I had with him was the fact that originally she was 78 pounds from what she found acceptable. Then she kept thinking 130 pounds. I gleaned from that that by the time they started “dating” she was only somewhat over 150 pounds and was told she was very muscular. This is not FAT! Definitely bigger than the waifish 6 ft. tall women he’d dated but still – not anywhere near fat. For a personal trainer to be like that – knowing she was way healthier than any of those women but still worried about her weight - really got my dander up. Of course Logan wasn’t all bad and he did have some really great qualities but those got overshadowed with everything else.

Holly was…witty and intelligent, sarcastic and intense and a really great person. Sure, she had major insecurities but after hearing about her upbringing and her marriage – and her husband’s subsequent death – I understood them. I did think she played doormat to Logan at times but her self-esteem was so bad that she was just happy she was with this awesome man – who wasn’t so awesome. I was quite happy that she stood up for herself in the end but I can’t say I loved the way she did it. It was over the top and didn’t reveal to Logan what she was thinking which I found counterproductive.

The whole story is about Logan figuring out that he can get past his “ideal image” for his girlfriend – or for anyone for that matter. For Holly it’s putting aside her guilt and self-loathing and realizing that she IS good enough for someone as good looking as Logan – no matter what she weighs. They were both good messages but the writing didn’t do well, imho, with giving them the impact they each deserved. Sadly the head-hopping and erratic writing style didn’t make it easier to like this novel.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Stephanie Evanovich

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