2 out of 4 stars
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Curve Couture by H. M. Irwing starts with Claire Williams royally messing up! Claire has always stuck out in the cutthroat world of modeling, and being a plus sized woman surrounded by svelte and hunky supermodels day in and day out has done a number on her self-confidence. What started as commiseration and comfort with her sister’s fiancé, Colin, swiftly became her first time going all the way. Claire is consumed by guilt for betraying her sister, Janice. The problem is that Janice, a well-known supermodel, is also Claire’s one and only client. Upon deciding that she can no longer represent her sister after her ultimate betrayal, Claire approaches retired male supermodel turned agent, Erin Robertson. She begs Erin to take on Janice as a client; however, Erin refuses and shocks Claire by asking to sign her on as a plus sized model instead.
What follows is a swift and awkwardly produced romance between Claire and Erin. Claire, who has never attracted male attention until her slip up with Colin, has suddenly become desirable in the eyes of all single, straight men who cross her path. Erin is no different as he works to mold Claire into a successful plus sized model, complete with strict diet, exercise routine, and a professional styling staff. Their professional relationship rapidly turns into more as the reader follows the progression of Claire’s career and her cantankerous relationship with her sister/client.
Curve Couture had a really promising premise of a plus sized woman finding modeling success and love, but the execution fell about as flat as the characters portrayed in the novel. Claire’s disposition changes quickly enough to give the reader whiplash as she rapidly transitions between happy, furious, contrite, and dejected in the span of two pages. Claire is constantly becoming irrationally enraged with people and situations, only to dissolve into a crying mess at the slightest provocation. Erin’s character is portrayed as more of a sexual predator who won’t take no as an answer than as an attractive love interest. The couple’s relationship just sets the stage for a mixed up jumble of poorly written sexual situations, peppered with weak plotlines involving other poorly developed characters.
This novel has situations that could be a trigger for anyone who has been in an abusive relationship. At one point in the book, while Claire is waiting for Erin to find the valet in front of a busy night club, she is assaulted by an unknown character. Erin comes to her rescue and berates her with, “I leave you alone for two minutes, and you get yourself almost raped.” After blaming Claire for being assaulted, Erin angrily drags her back to his apartment for the sole purpose of sex. Claire seems to be okay with Erin’s unpredictable and irrational temper, thus allowing him to treat her more like a whore than a girlfriend.
I rate this novel 2 out of 4 stars. Irwing seems to be trying to pack too much into a simple story. Midway through the book, the author concocts a prescription drug problem for Erin that starts and resolves within the span of three pages, never to be mentioned again. It makes the reader wonder what the point was for even including it. The character development and plot do very little to make the reader identify with, or even like, the two main characters. While it does appear that this book has been professionally edited, the reader will notice an abundance of poorly used ellipses, wrong word choices (stood instead of stand, attire instead of entire), and plot inconsistencies centered around time and dates. I would not recommend this book to a friend, but fans of Irwing’s other work might find something to like in this novel.
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