Intriguing concept but the story falls flat.
Series: Book 1: Oakland Hills
Characters: Beverly Lewis & Liam Johnson
Setting: San Francisco
Mature Themes: Sex
Recommendation: If you enjoy family squabble stories or books with real-world industry ties, Love Handles will check both those boxes. If you’re looking for a strong main character and character growth, look somewhere else, you’ll not find it here.
The concept behind this story is great, a woman who doesn’t work out, loves her curves and refuses to be bullied into working out but is left a fitness clothing line. Unfortunately, that’s not where the story went. Bev is a doormat, her family is horrible to her and she just lets it happen. Her parents, two siblings, aunts, and everyone else she meets does nothing but put her down and tell her what she can’t do. Every page was full of it. About halfway through I wanted to put the story down, but I kept going. I hoped the author would give Bev a drastic turn around and she’d grow into her own person by the end of the story, no such luck. She was set up to make the correct decisions for her company and instead she caved, compromising on what she wanted and what her company needed to instead make her horrible family happy.
There were over a dozen characters in the novel and only Bev was described, unless you count Liam, his appearance was constantly talked about with a few paragraphs about his childhood thrown in. Each of the characters had different quirks and none of them were really explained. Bev’s sister attacks Liam until he’s bloody, it was a misunderstanding, but he wasn’t the only one she turned violent with and she showed no remorse for it afterwards. Liam was a washed out athlete with commitment issues, but when his mentor insists on leaving the business within the family, the two of them pick Bev as their victim. A modern day arranged marriage with no morals, no shame, and a woman with low enough self-worth to go along with it.
Besides the scenes about the fashion industry itself, which were very enjoyable, there was the “mystery” of who was harassing Bev at both work and home. As the reader, we learned who was not the culprit before Bev does and it was interesting to see her finally realize she was wrong. Sometime after that she figures out who really was to blame, and the leap was fast, so fast I’m not sure how she figured it out.