June 5, 2012

Review: The Reluctant Nude by Meg Maguire


I’ve been a fan of Ms. Maguire’s alter ego, Cara McKenna, for a while now. So I finally decided to try her Meg Maguire books, and boy was I missing out. 

Fallon Frost is, quite literally, between a rock and a hard place. The rock is the sculpture she’s been forced to pose nude for, and the hard place, is, well, keep reading to find out. There’s this bad guy who’s obsessed with her and since he can’t have her, the next best thing is a sculpture, which, if you ask me, makes total sense. 

The artist commissioned to make the sculpture is Max Emery. This guy’s level of hotness is off the charts. I’ll make a list to better illustrate what I mean:
  1. He’s French. 
  2. He’s a genius discovered when he was a kid and made a perfect angel sculpture for his dead mother (!).
  3. He’s French.
  4. Lived a hard life of drugs, sex and fame (this includes losing his virginity when he was like 8 (Just kidding! This is not that type of book, he was 13))
  5. He’s French.
  6. Has the sexiest tattoo ever.
  7. He’s French.
  8. After years of hard living he retired and now he’s a recluse obsessed with scars and amputees. 
  9. Alright, the scars and the amputees are more creepy than sexy so scratch that and think of his Frenchness instead (yep, Max is the hard place I mentioned before. Oh my!).  
Fallon and Max are two broken and lonely people. She’s been forced to pose nude in order to save her only good childhood memory. He’s obsessed with imperfection and damage, and the only reason he agrees to do the sculpture is money.

At first, Max pushes Fallon’s boundaries because he senses the woman inside the repressed exterior. And Fallon is reluctantly attracted to Max because as infuriating as it is, he sees her.

They become lovers and develop a relationship akin to friendship. But Fallon is scared of commitment and Max doesn’t seem like husband material, so what happens once the sculpture is done?

I really enjoyed this book. I love repressed heroines and slutty heroes that are not slutty at all. The chemistry between them was undeniable and the whole story is about them developing a relationship and getting over their emotional baggage, or at least moving it around to make room for each other.

It’s a very sensual story with lots of sex and emotion, as well as the right amount of angst to make it compelling but not overly dramatic. Max is an over the top and larger than life hero, and Fallon is a detached, sexually repressed heroine. I admit that it made more sense for her to fall for him, than for him to fall for her. As I said, he was dreamy and hedonistic, but she was shy, prickly and self-conscious, so I can see him pursuing because of the challenge she represents, but not pursuing her and actually falling in love. However, their chemistry was undeniable and that’s what made the romance believable. It was about feeling, not logic.

In order to enjoy this book you’ll have to focus on the main characters and their romance, because everything else makes little sense. The setting was ludicrous; Mr. Evil Rich Guy is obsessed with the heroine, so he buys her foster mom’s home and tells her that if she doesn’t pose naked for the sculpture he will destroy the house and build some condos. Why not just force her to have sex? Great plotline if you want drama, but not if you want realism. Also, he is supposed to be the villain but doesn’t really play a role in the story, he’s there to create and excuse for the hero and heroine to spend time together. 

There’s a “big gesture” at the end that you will either love or hate, depending on how you like your romance. I’m not a fan of big gestures so I was a bit embarrassed, not to mention that it didn’t make much sense either. I won’t spoil it for you, but this was the weakest part of the story.

I know I’m making it sound like a bad book, but in reality is one of the best I’ve read this year. I thoroughly enjoyed it to the point that I wasn’t distracted by its flaws. It was sexy, emotional, and original -in a slightly unbelievable way-. If you like character-centric stories this is the one for you. Absolutely recommended to everyone, do not let the flaws keep you from reading such a great book.

Review by Brie
Grade: 4
Sensuality: McSteamy
Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis:

The one way Fallon can save her late foster mother’s home is to agree to a developer’s twisted proposal—pose nude for a statue. So she heads to an artist’s Nova Scotia studio only to find a sexy, hot-blooded sculptor. With each tap of his chisel, Max discovers a woman who rekindles lost dreams of home and family. Yet the closer he comes to her core, the more reluctant he is to finish the project for another man’s lecherous eyes. Throwing Fallon’s goal and his dream into jeopardy…

Samhain. April 11, 2011.

10 comments:

  1. Great review. I totally ignored the plot holes and LOVED the hero. This is a very emotionally intense and sexy story. Where's my French guy?

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    1. He! I loved both of them, although the hero really grabs your attention. I think they were on equal ground, he was much more vulnerable that I thought he would be, which was a clever way to bring him down and put him at the heroine's level. I felt like she was the one with the power in the relationship, not him.

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    2. Interesting observation. I didn't really love the heroine in this story, but I loved their romance and love affair. I think Maguire excels at creating unique characters, flawed and potentially unlikable, and making them sympathetic to the reader. And we get seriously invested in their lives and happy ending. That's how I felt with this book. It was an emotional rollercoaster for me. With a hot sexy French guy at the end. (And a casserole. Don't forget the yummy casseroles). :^)

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    3. How could I forget? Now I'm hungry ;-)

      You didn't like Fallon? I did, heroines like her tend to be obnoxious, and she had her moments, especially at the end, but I forgave her. I do have to say, though, that her attachment to the house was a bit too much. The good memories were about the mother, not the house, and she still gets to keep those, so why humiliate herself to keep a house she's not even living at?

      Did you like the epilogue? I totally did! LOL I do have my corny moments ;-)

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  2. Did I like the epilogue? Did I like the epilogue? Well, let's see. I SOBBED LIKE A FREAKIN' BABY FOR AT LEAST AN HOUR. Probably best epilogue ever. You can never have too much corn, or sap, or romance. LOVED THAT EPILOGUE!

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    1. Oh, I'm sorry it didn't work for you.... LOLOLOL!!!

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  3. I LOVED this book. Loved. The big gesture worked for me. I think because I was so absorbed in the story - anything would have worked at the end. Lurve. I need to read her latest.

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    1. After finishing this one I immediately bought Headstrong. I can't wait to read it, probably this weekend... Have you read it?

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  4. Every one seems to have loved this book. I feel like I would be put off by the buying of the house and forcing the girl to pose nude. But It seems like the romance is so good that most people are able to ignore or dismiss the not so good points of this book.

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    Replies
    1. This is going to be one of the Shameless Summer Hop prices so if you're lucky you'll win it ;-)

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The books reviewed here were purchased by us. If the book was provided by the author or publisher for review, it will be noted on the post. We do not get any type of monetary compensation from publishers or authors.