Saturday, December 12, 2020

Summer Heacock - The Awkward Path to Getting Lucky

Having sex wasn’t exactly high on Kat Carmichael’s priority list while her successful bakery was taking
off, especially since things hadn’t been working very well in that department. And the last time she and her boyfriend, Ryan, even attempted the act, they found it to be physically impossible — resulting in pain and disappointment for Kat instead of sunshine and orgasms.
With just over a month until their four-year anniversary, Kat calls for a break in her relationship with Ryan, encouraging him to see other people while she throws herself into physical therapy. Yet even with the well-intentioned (but wildly inappropriate) attempts at help from her best friends, Kat quickly discovers that a solo mission may not be the best approach.
Fortunately, physical therapist Ben Cleary, the shop’s best (looking) customer, volunteers to help out — strictly as a friend, of course. But as the line between love and friendship begins to blur, Kat stands to lose much more than a functioning set of lady bits if she can’t figure out what to hang on to…and what to let go.

Comment: This got on my radar because it would feature a heroine having a condition which made sex hurtful to her, something not seen that often in romances, and I was curious to see how the author would develop such a theme and how romantic the story could be.

In this book we have heroine Kat Carmichael, a young woman whose relationship with her boyfriend has stagnated and they have not been intimate in two years.The main cause, according to Kat, is her physical impossibility to have sex because of how much it hurts and although her boyfriend is apparently ok with it, she can't help thinking it's all her fault somehow. Besides this, she also has the worries of her bakery business which, along with her fellow co workers, keep her busy among competitions and mishaps on national tv... Still, Kat decides to finally solve her problem and she consults with her gynecologist again, who suggests therapy. In the meantime, on a mutual and consensual break from her boyfriend, she also starts seeing Ben, a costumer of the bakery who somehow makes her want to try some therapy techniques... this is all for saving her relationship but will Kat realize maybe the goal should not be that?

This is a tricky plot to describe, I'll say that, and to me the execution wasn't as well done as it could. I think the idea of this novel was a good one, original enough and, apparently, something the author herself went though which is why she thought about developing it in a romance novel. It's true physical female issues when it comes to sex performance aren't much developed in novels besides the basics and everything is magically solved by the right man. I just think it was a pity how this story had to many things for the reader to be distracted and, to me, in the end the romance was not that great.

I'd say my biggest issue with this story is the main character herself. Kat acts like a very insecure person and I can get that by the glimpses we have of her past here and there. From the start I believe it becomes pretty obvious why does she have vaginismus, how that ends up being a reflection of her worries and her lack of bond with her boyfriend. It's the path from this that I found a bit disappointing because the choices Kat does feel a bit misused by the author.

To me, the big problem is that the tone of the novel is one of comedy. Kat and her friends have silly conversations while at work, Kat has her misadventures while seeing the physical therapist, she has her sad performance on tv, all these things are there to give us the impression this is a sweet, easy novel when, in fact, there are some serious issues being processed. To me, this was jarring because I kept thinking how childish some elements were and the way Kat and the friends talk might be seen as the result of a deep friendship but also a little unprofessional and like other readers, I have to agree this doesn't make Kat seem like an adult person dealing with her problems.

While Kat goes on her life lessons, she also starts to spend time with Ben, a man who likes her she learns, and with whom she sees herself practicing techniques to see if she can have sex again. Now, I think that without the whole boyfriend detail (to me it ends up being pointless) this could be quite a choice for a romance and healing path. You know, someone who likes her, who has the patience to help her and in the process they discover they want to be sexually together even without the "therapy" thing. However, this aspect wasn't as romantic as it could.

One of the reasons is that Kat's character wasn't developed as well as it could. She went from acting like a grown up to acting like the star of silly comedy, I had a hard time being sympathetic to her. Even the way she spoke wasn't always conductive of seeing her as vulnerable grown woman who found a partner to help her. She also didn't act as professional as she could and although no one can control every single thing in a day or related to a job situation, the things happening to Kat were a bit over the top. I appreciated all the bakery situations, all the worry that certainly goes into it but it made the attention be diverted from her physical issue. 

I thought the story line would be more focused on her issue. I thought the author, since she went through the same condition, would develop things more on that area, that the story would offer much more content on that. It was good some secondary characters were there for Kat and there is some talk about vaginismus and what it can mean and how one could try to solve it but I didn't feel Kat as person evolved along her efforts. She did solve her issue but the way how wasn't as smooth and as romantic in relation to how Ben saw her as 'd have liked.

Everything considered, this was not a bad story, no, but Kat isn't the best of heroines (to me) and to have the whole things from her POV as well... anyway, it was an interesting story but not focused enough on either theme, the romance somehow is lacking and the main character not as likable as she could be, so this was a nice attempt but not as great as I anticipated.

Grade: 6/10

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