Now That It’s You by Tawna Fenske

This RITA® Reader Challenge 2017 review was written by HeatherMarie. This story was nominated for the RITA® in the Mainstream Fiction with a Central Romance category.

The summary:

Talented chef Meg Delaney hasn’t spoken to her cheating ex-fiancé, Matt Midland, for two years. Ditching him at the altar after blurting out “I can’t” instead of “I do” would sour any relationship. But now, just as Meg is finally ready to bury the hatchet, she learns closure is permanently off the menu. And the kicker? Matt’s brother, Kyle, is back in her life, stirring up feelings that are equal parts guilt and lust.

Meg was the best thing that never happened to Kyle. He couldn’t make a move on his brother’s girlfriend—even if Matt didn’t value her nearly enough. The situation is even more complicated now that Meg’s bestselling aphrodisiac cookbook has spawned a legal battle with the Midlands. Maybe he should stay away. But love, like family, plays by its own rules. And the one woman he shouldn’t want might be the only one who’s perfect for him.

Here is HeatherMarie’s review:

Lovers of Romantic Comedy movies would love this. For a broken, dead inside person like myself it was “eye roll city” and not my favorite but still a fun, quick read. This book’s setup was a doozy of a meet-cute. Hats off to Ms. Fenske.

Meg, a caterer and unsuccessful cookbook writer, goes to the hospital to bury the hatchet with her philandering former fiance, Matt, who she had pulled a Runaway Bride on previously.

He was going in for a minor procedure but unfortunately there were complications with the anesthesia and he dies. His brother, Kyle, greets her as she is unknowingly on her way to deliver some balloons and kind of bluntly gives her the news that his brother is dead. Whoa!

In case it was not apparent in the summaries above Kyle and Meg are the hero and heroine of the book. There is even more drama later when Meg’s cookbook unexpectedly becomes a major best seller. Hint: things get litigious.

At the same time with all the heavy stuff of dealing with grief and lawsuits, the author is able to fit in charming and funny scenes like accidental LARPing with marshmallows, a deep, deep understanding of a cat’s true inner soul, and a viking funeral for a dildo.

Some of the tropes present were: Unrequited Love, MAJOR family drama, Estranged friends to lovers, Forbidden Love, Grief, Ex-partner of a sibling. The story in places reminded me of Romeo and Juliet or a darker timeline reimagining of While You Were Sleeping.

I like that almost everyone was flawed and complicated. The story itself was messy with a good amount of true conflict and angst. Readers who have enjoyed Penny Reid and some of Sophie Kinsella’s books would probably enjoy her style too because of the humor.

For example when Meg and Kyle meet in the beginning of the book, Fenske describes his face thusly:

He looked like a man who’d just seen a ghost, or maybe a squirrel humping an aardvark.

Both main characters are creative people. Kyle is a sculptor (the Damascus steel tutorial- fascinating!) and Meg cooks. A. Bunch. People who read and enjoyed some of Sonali Dev’s Bollywood series or Alice Clayton’s Hudson Valley series would appreciate the great food details. This book will make you hungry.

In the end I did not give this a higher rating because the hero does something unforgivable and I just can’t even with him. Also the aforementioned dead inside. Let’s just say I’m from the south and he gets a full throated “Bless his heart…” for what he does. But good on the heroine, she is a better person and they can find their HEA.

I read this on my Kindle with the whispersync audiobook. The narrator, Teri Schnaubelt, has a lovely voice and does a great job on the audiobook.

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Now That It’s You by Tawna Fenske

September 6, 2016

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