Reviewed: August 2, 2011
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Line: Harlequin Romance
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Length: 192 Pages
Formats: Mass Market Paperback, Kindle, Nook
Disclosure: An ARC of this book was provided to me by Harlequin via NetGalley. The rating, review, and all included thoughts and comments are my own.
She's been out of high school for ten years, but the moment Chloe McDaniels opened the invitation to her reunion, panic hit. Three girls had made those years the worst of her life, bullying her and ostracizing her. She never knew why they hated her so, but it left her scarred. If it hadn't been for Simon Ford, her best friend since third grade, she never would have made it through.
Relying on Simon for some much needed emotional support, she laid out her plan to improve herself in the six weeks until the dreaded reunion: lose weight, get buff, and get a gorgeous date, then sweep into the reunion with her head held high to show the three witches that she was over their years of torment. Problem is, Simon keeps insisting that she doesn't need to lose weight, certainly doesn't need to have her teeth capped or her hair straightened, and though he supports a healthy lifestyle, he keeps assuring her that she doesn't need to change to be lovely.
He's her best friend, though. He's supposed to say that. Um...his assurances aren't supposed to send a thrill through her that leaves her yearning...right?
Simon can't even begin to express his frustration. He's been in love with Chloe for years, so he's used to her being completely oblivious to his feelings, but she's also oblivious to her own worth, refusing to see how gorgeous and sexy she is. It's driving him crazy. And now she's asked him to set her up with a hot co-worker of his and the jealousy is killing him. There's no way he'd do anything to risk having Chloe in his life, but just once he'd like her to see herself as the perfect woman she is. Perfect for him.
Okay, I have a confession to make. I'm a sap. It's true. I love feel-good books with feel-good romances, where men and women are swept away by the awesomeness of their everlasting love. Yeah, yeah, I know...that doesn't always come across in my book choices or my reviews. It's a carefully guarded secret, believe me. It's the truth, though. Sap. Me. To make matters worse, I'm also a complete sucker for two particular themes in romance fiction, the friends-to-lovers and unrequited-to-requited love themes. And by 'sucker' I mean those themes are my kryptonite, robbing me of my ability to objectively review the books in which they are featured. If either one of those themes pop up in a book and are pulled off with anything remotely resembling competence, I love the story.
Mr. Right There All Along had not just one, but both themes, and Braun pulled them off far more than competently.
I loved it. I loved it even though Chloe's issues with self esteem would normally have annoyed me. Braun kept the tone light enough that it didn't bother me, and she injected a lot of humor into several of Chloe's improvement attempts that were...less than successful. I'm also a big supporter of books that don't peddle 'classic' beauty as the be-all-end-all, and loved that Simon was so staunch in his enlightened opinions of what makes Chloe sexy and desirable.
The only issue I had at all with the book was the end. It was very abrupt. The shorter length of the book may have been to blame, but the conclusion didn't give me the totally satisfied (*cough*sappy-happy*cough*) feeling I was hoping for. Instead, the characters had a complete reversal of situation without any explanation as to why there was an about face and the relationship leapt to the HEA with very little discussion and negligible development.
Eh, it's a minor complaint. Like I said - kryptonite. Braun's book was a delicious treat and I enjoyed it immensely. Her writing style is light, humorous, and fun. Her characters were likable and had great chemistry. The plot was quick to develop, well-paced, balanced, and entertaining. I enjoyed it immensely. Mr. Right There All Along was like a fudge sundae on a hot summer night...sans cherry, maybe, but still yummy and oh-so-good.
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