The summary actually doesn't really give you a very good idea of what this book is about. This is a paranormal romance, of sorts, and one of the main characters, Berni, isn't mentioned in the blurb at all. It's also a (loose) Cinderella retelling. Knowing those two things I might not have picked up this book had I known because this book is really fucking weird. So the book opens with a funeral. Berni is a glamorous woman in her fifties (who still looks like she's in her twenties, ofc) who has just died of a heart-attack, presumably after boinking one of her young and studly lovers. She finds herself not in heaven or hell but in a spiritual half-way house called The Kitchen where she must redeem herself.
Her project? A girl named Nellie, living in late-1800s Colorado. Nellie spends all her time taking care of her cheapskate father and her total bitch of a sister. She's one of those fat girls with the beautiful face, and I'm only mentioning this because it is literally mentioned 23409234028 times how her face is so pretty, what a shame she's fat. Oh, and by the way, did you know she's fat? And Nellie emotionally eats when she's upset, which her younger sister knows and purposefully enables by intentionally triggering Nellie and supplying her with a literal endless supply of candy just to make sure she gains weight.
One day, while slaving away, her father's new business associate comes to the house for dinner. Her sister, Terel, assumes he's old and ugly and forces Nellie to get the door. But SURPRISE he's young and hot and he falls for Nellie instantly because not only is she pretty, she's nice to the point of having a permanent WELCOME stamped on her forehead. The only problem is, her father and sister don't want to lose their live-in slave and do everything in their power to thwart her budding relationship with Jace, whether it's telling her that she's loose and stupid, or even (in the case of her sister) buying a bag of marbles and spilling them so Nellie trips and spills something on herself before the big dance.
A lot of people in the reviews for this book are hating on Nellie for being so spineless. Fuck that noise. She's an abuse victim. Abuse victims get to be spineless if that's what their fucking abusers have forced them to be. I might not like it but at least I get it. No, I fucking hated Terel. She is literally one of the worst characters I think I've ever encountered in a book and SORRY NOT SORRY, but any ending that doesn't have her suffering for all of eternity is a bad ending. This was a bad ending.
I read this book in a single sitting and thought it was weird (although not as weird as LEGEND), but not weird enough to stop reading or put it down. It left a bad taste in my mouth though and I'm not sure I'd revisit. Major trigger warnings for emotional overeating, fat-phobia, and emotional abuse. I might have given this an extra half-star if the book had the 'nads to let the heroine have her happily-ever-after while still being overweight, but naturally the grandmother wishes her skinny. WTF.
3 out of 5 stars