3.5⭐️ – Faye is a forty-year-old romance writer who more or less gave up on her love life after her divorce thirteen years ago. She finds herself unexpectedly interested when she meets Talia, a server at the bistro Faye likes to work from. When her best friend Phoebe gifts her a lap dance at a new strip club, a blond wig, added to Faye’s embarrassment, is enough for her not to recognize Talia. Talia is very proud of her job as a dancer, and of the competitions she’s won, but experience has taught her that most people don’t see her kind of dancing as art and she’s wary to trust anyone with her heart.
I have mixed feelings about this book. At times I was thinking this is my favourite book by Melissa Tereze so far, some scenes are fantastic. Then the next page, I’d roll my eyes so hard. I liked both main characters. Each is sweet in her own way. Faye is an introvert, Talia definitely is not, but they complement each other. They both have insecurities – Talia because of her job, Faye with her curves – and struggle to believe the other really is interested in them. Talia’s reluctance to open up to Faye at first annoyed me, I kept thinking I understood where she was coming from but wished she’d let Faye, an adult, decide for herself. I really liked that assumptions about each other didn’t take over. These women actually talk to each other and solve problems before they become overwhelming. I’ve complained, in reviews of previous Tereze books, about the characters’ immaturity. Not with this one.
Why did my eyes roll, you ask? It’s all the secondary characters’ fault. The worst is Phoebe, Faye’s best friend of twelve years, who, from the start, is awful. As lonely as Faye is, I can’t imagine her being friends with someone like Phoebe. Talia’s gay best friend and Faye’s mother (who deserved more on-page time) are the only kind people around them. Even the one person who, according to Faye, is too nice even for her acts horribly at one point. Either Liverpool is full of jerks or Faye and Talia are extremely unlucky.
If you usually enjoy Melissa Tereze’s books, read this one. There are some excellent parts, and the ones that bothered me probably won’t be an issue for you. If you’re new to Tereze’s books, this one isn’t a bad place to start.