By: Lisa Cach
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: June 2012
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Review Date: July 17, 2012
Grace Cavanaugh is planning on a relaxing summer. She has agreed to stay with her great-aunt Sophia, a one-time B-movie star, who is now an elderly woman facing hip surgery. Grace will keep Sophia company, finish up her Women's Studies dissertation on how beauty leads to misery, and have plenty of time to relax. How hard can it be? Boy, is Grace in for a surprise!
Grace has only met her great-aunt once, back when she was ten and Sophia was a very intimidating woman who wore too much fake jewelry and insulted Grace to the point that Grace ran from the house and spent the rest of the day sulking. Surely, Grace reasons, her elderly aunt has softened through the years. The first hint that Sophia is not what Grace imagines is the Pebble Beach house of Sophia's, which is actually a mansion. Combine that with an 85-year-old woman who still exudes a charm and confidence that draws the attention of all the males around her, and it's clear that it's going to be one very interesting summer.
Sophia doesn't mince words when Grace arrives with Cat, a friend who Sophia doesn't particularly like. The old woman manipulates the situation so that Cat, insulted to the point of tears, leaves the next morning. Sophia also makes it clear that she doesn't like Grace's frumpy way of dressing, nor does she care for Grace's dissertation topic.
That first day at Sophia's, Grace also meets two handsome men, Declan, a womanizing, good-for-not-much, but VERY easy on the eyes, hunk of flesh, and Andrew, a good-looking and respectable doctor. Grace and Declan have a private, and somewhat steamy encounter that first evening, and things take off from there. While discussing the men with Grace, Sophia makes her great-niece a deal the financially strapped PhD student can't refuse. Sophia will pay her $50,000 at the end of the summer if Grace agrees to transform herself into a woman men can't resist. As an added enticement, Sophia argues, it'll be great research for the dissertation. Can Grace make Declan fall in love with her and then dump him like a hot potato? And what about Andrew? Is he the marrying type? Would he be the perfect match for Grace?
Grace agrees to the proposition and is soon taking classes, dieting, exercising, and learning the fine art of man-teasing. She tells herself that Declan is a slime, that she hates him, and yet, she is definitely attracted to him. The scenes with him are quite hot and passionate, but he's a womanizer and will surely move on once he gets Grace into bed. Andrew, meanwhile, is reliable, educated, and, well, honestly, boring. But he's safe and would be a good provider.
Declan is clearly the more interesting of the male characters and the reader will quickly look forward to the scenes with him and Grace. While the plot isn't particularly original, and the outcome is fairly easy to predict, the story is quite enjoyable. Grace is a very likeable character, one who uses quite a bit of humor in her diary writing and is shown with all her vulnerabilities exposed.
Quill says: A fun, witty story about a woman who learns how to lure a man, and learns a lot about herself along the way. The perfect book to keep you company while you lie on the beach, dig your toes into the sand, and soak up the sun.