Big Girl Panties by Stephanie Evanovich
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
When Holly Brennan meets physical trainer Logan Montgomery on a plane trip, the overweight widow sees a change to regain her life - and result of their workouts will be not only sweat but steam.
First off, let's not mix up author Stephanie Evanovich with her aunt, Janet Evanovich, as I did! This is Stephanie E's first novel.
At the core of Big Girl Panties is a fun fantasy - fat girl wins over studly prince, but the rest is nothing special. The sex scenes and some of the descriptions are awkward ('strong manly hands,' lol), and the rest lacks fizz. The heroine's revenge for a small slight is odd and embarrassing, and the hero at times comes off like a shallow jerk.
I'm not sure the novel adds much to the discussion of our society's intense disdain for overweight people, but I did find the hero's self-awareness about his own prejudices interesting. The heroine does have to lose a lot of weight to finally gain his attention (and let's just gloss over the ethics of a trainer boning a client), but her backstory is unique and interesting. I wish that her troubled family was more in the picture, because it would have added some needed depth and drama to the story.
That said...it's not all bad. (I know, it sounds bad. But it's not.) For a plane trip or a day on the beach, you could do much worse. Enjoy this book for the fluff it is, but don't expect a whole lot more.
For a funny, action-packed romance with flawed main characters, try Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series, which starts with One for the Money. Another classic of the chick lit genre is Helen Fielding's Bridget Jones's Diary, which also stars a female protagonist who finds love in spite of being on the heavy side. You might also try Stephanie Evanovich's upcoming novel The Sweet Spot if you found yourself enjoying her work and want to see this new author developing her voice.