Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Reluctant Nude by Meg Maguire

Author: Meg Maguire
Published: 2011
A brief synopsis from Goodreads:
Chipping away at her resistance, one touch at a time…

Fallon Frost’s late foster mother had done so much to heal the wounds of her damaged childhood. So when a lecherous developer plans to bulldoze her old home to make room for a strip mall, the practical, ordered life Fallon has built for herself is threatened.

Then he makes a twisted proposal. He’ll leave the land alone if she poses nude for a sculpture that’ll end up in his collection. Seeing no other choice, she heads for Nova Scotia—only to find something totally unexpected. A sexy, hot-blooded, infuriating sculptor.

Guarded, sexually detached Fallon is a challenge Max Emery can’t wait to tackle. Yet with each tap of his chisel, he uncovers a woman who rekindles a dream he thought lost. Home, family…love. And the closer he gets to her core, the harder it becomes to accept that he’s carving her naked body for another man’s eyes.

As progress on the sculpture almost grinds to a halt, their fragile fantasy world collapses under the weight of reality. Threatening Fallon’s one chance to save her foster mother’s land…and any chance she and Max have to find love.

My Thoughts:
I really wanted to love this book. I've heard good reviews on it and it's been recommended to me several times. However, I had mixed feelings.

I hated Fallon. She grew on me once she loosened up towards the end of the book, but I could not stand her in the beginning. I think if her history and reasoning behind the sculpture had been introduced earlier, then I may have felt more compassion towards her. I wish her background had been discussed. Why was she an orphan until she was 15?

I liked Max from the beginning. He had a lot to put up with when dealing with Fallon. What I didn't like was his sudden temper at the end of the book. He had been sleeping with Fallon for weeks and then he suddenly gets pissed off because he's making a nude sculputre of the woman he loves for another man.

There are two secondary characters that play a big role in the story. Rachel, Fallon's best friend, was hysterical. I liked the fact that she tries to talk Fallon into loosening up. Donald left me confused. While I didn't like the fact that he was blackmailing Fallon into posing nude, I was on the fence on whether he was a pervert or just some guy that was hung up on her.

The Love Story:
I cannot say this enough...I freaking loved their romance. It is not the typical "lust at first sight." Max and Fallon don't jump each other on their second or third meeting. Instead, there romance blossomed from hating each other to hating being away from each other in several months. There are no outside forces pushing them together. They are thrown together in a remote location in Canada. The only other people around are an occasional town person and the phone calls home. There was no murder to push them together. There wasn't a family member's will that demanded one of them to get married. Instead, they simply grew on each other until love bloomed.

The Ending:
Without giving too much away, I can only say that I felt the book wrapped up a little too neatly. Donald's reasoning behind the blackmail was never explained. Why would a guy just hand over a million dollar estate for a sculpture? If Donald have never seen Fallon naked, why didn't she and Max just hire a model that resembled her? The ending would have been better with atleast one more chapter. All the "action" happened in one chapter and then it was over. If I blinked, I might have missed it.

Like I said, I really wanted to love the book. I didn't hate it, but it is not one of my favorites. I loved the romance between Max and Fallon, but the book just left me confused with too many unanswered questions. I haven't given stars on my blog yet, but I'd give this one 3 to 3 1/2 stars.

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