Stuck. At thirty years old Belinda Gordon felt her life was at a total standstill. With her love life in the dumps, her best friends happily married and her parents smothering her, she decides her life needs a little bit of shaking up.
Just when Belinda is about to make a move, her estranged husband and the last man on earth she ever wants to see, Carter Lancaster, comes storming back into her life. And this time he’s not taking no for an answer. Armed with his sweet daughter and a take no prisoners attitude, he’s determined to win his wife back.
Can Belinda let go of their rocky past and let love in? Or will she let it prevent her from finding her happily ever after?
This blurb came from Goodreads
And we’re back to the actual Perfect Fit clothing store for the third book in this series. While seeing Dina get her happy ending slightly offsite in Have Yourself a Curvy Little Christmas (today’s review at Reading Reality) was a lot of fun, I really love that store. I want one in my town, a place where every woman can get clothing that really fits, whether you wear a perfect size anything or don’t quite fit standard sizing. Since most of us don’t.
Belinda Gordon is one of the partners at Perfect Fit. She runs the clothing store while Ellis ( Dangerous Curves Ahead, reviewed at Reading Reality) creates marvelous wedding dress designs for women who, just like at Perfect Fit, are not a perfect size anything.
It’s not just that Perfect Fit serves curvy women with beautiful fashion, but that the store is there to help every woman find something beautiful.
Belinda would also like to find true love, but she seems to be striking out with every single man in town, but that she is keeping a HUGE secret from everyone. Belinda is already married, and has been for four years. She may have walked out on Carter Lancaster, but she can’t seem to move her life forwards.
And neither can Carter, and it isn’t just because they’ve never gotten a divorce. It’s pretty obvious that they still love each other, but that neither of them can get past the hurt they inflicted on each other at the unceremonious sort-of end of their six-week marriage.
Carter and Belinda are from different worlds. His family is rich, and her dad is a sports coach at the local high school. Carter’s extremely stuck up family only saw Belinda’s more-than-size-6 appearance and didn’t bother to discover that her dad was a famous Major League Baseball player or that her mother was an international model.
So when Carter’s first ex showed up at the door with their baby, Belinda didn’t care that his first marriage, divorce and fatherhood had all occurred before she met him; all she saw was a whopping big secret that he had kept from her. Never mind that she kept his family’s mistreatment of her from him.
And when I say mistreatment, I mean the offers to either pay her off or set her up as mistress to his dad’s rich friends. Serious stuff.
Belinda decided that she and Carter couldn’t work, and ran back home. It takes four years for Carter to finally follow her, with his 5-year-old daughter Ruby in tow.
Belinda falls in love with Ruby first. And hard. But there have been so many secrets, and so much pain, that it takes a lot of story for Belinda and Carter to finally run towards each other, instead of constantly and consistently running away.
Ruby is a delight. She’s such a serious and solemn kid, and she tries so hard to be the best little girl she can be–but she’s still a little girl and is desperately looking for a mother-figure in her life. (Her mother died in a car-crash, and Carter is a single parent). Loving Ruby becomes the glue that finally makes all the adults in this story get their heads out of their collective asses.
Belinda kept her marriage a secret from everyone in her life, and it’s clear in the story that once the secret came out, no one has managed to get past that particular lie of omission. Her friends have mostly forgiven her, because she was in such obvious pain, but her relationship with her parents, especially her mother, still has some seriously rocky bits.
While it was obvious that her parents really love her, Belinda’s relationship with them drove me up the wall. Her mother, especially, is both smothering and completely talking past Belinda. There is love but no connection, and it’s painfully obvious. Mina’s constant flow of words is covering up all the things she doesn’t say.
Belinda’s parents also treat her like a child in some ways. While it’s loving, it’s also crazy-making. There are no boundaries, which sometimes results in hilarity and other times cringe-worthy disasters.
There is an element of Belinda needing to grow up and take responsibility for her own actions. She loves Carter, but she has no belief in herself or the possibility they might have a chance.
Carter is clinging to Ruby too hard. They’ve been alone together in the world for most of Ruby’s life, and he has difficulty seeing anyone else share responsibility, or share Ruby’s love.
However, when the situations all start straightening out, it’s a tremendous amount of fun. Belinda’s relationship with her mother-in-law goes from being awful to awfully funny in the course of one wild afternoon.
Everybody bonds over Ruby, and it’s lovely.
I give Gentlemen Prefer Curves a B