4 out of 4 stars
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Miss Fancy Pants by Alicia Gargaro-Magana is a romance novel with a twist of adventure. This is Gargaro-Magana's first novel, but she draws on years of experience as a movie and TV show producer as well as owning her own publishing company. She has also written for several magazines over the years.
From the first page, the reader is thrown into the dream life of the main character, who remains nameless throughout most of the novel. Once out of her dream, the reader learns that her life is less than extraordinary, although she tries to make a living by bringing adventure into the lives of tourists in the Los Angeles area. After an unexpected encounter with Bill Boxem (who gives her the nickname of "Miss Fancy Pants") and a drunken visit with a psychic, the main character's life is turned upside down. She becomes acquainted with John Tower, an associate of Bill's, who wants to offer her a lucrative job offer that will promise lots of adventure and travels. Being in a bit of a financial crisis, and with some encouragement from her best friend, Clarissa, she decides to accept the offer. From that point forward, the reader follows her new secret life, working for a company that is trying to make the world a better place, while trying to hide her feelings for the very attractive John Tower. This is a book you have to read to see how things turn out!
At first blush I thought this book would be more of an erotic romance novel since it starts off with a very erotic fantasy adventure involving a chandelier and a cleric. After that introduction, I thought the story was a bit slow and choppy. It was rough enough that I had resolved to just reading the book so that I could say I had finished it. I am very happy that I stuck with it because it gets so much better once the main character meets John Tower! The action and intrigue picks up after chapter six and continues through the end of the book.
On a technical level, I only noted a couple of minor typographical errors. What was most frustrating while reading was that the main character is only referred to as "she" during narration and assorted nicknames by those that she encounters until being dubbed as "Fancy" much later. When the main character interacted with other female characters, it was confusing at times which "she" was being referred to within the narration. However, I believe the absence of a given name plays into the central message of the story.
Amidst the romance and adventure that takes place in Miss Fancy Pants, there is a thread that weaves throughout all of the characters, and the main character in particular. It is a message about knowing who you really are and embracing who you really are. In the beginning, the reader is introduced to a character that dreams of living a "fabulous" life full of excitement and adventure. However, she concedes that that particular lifestyle is not meant for her, nor is she meant to find love. When she is finally offered a job that gives her (almost) everything she could have ever wanted, she doubts herself and says she does not belong there. She also refutes the possibility that she is meant to love John or that she is even good enough for him. Along the way she is given the nickname of "Fancy", which she assumes as her name. In the end, Fancy finally learns how to embrace her true self, but is it too late? Readers can relate to this message, because it challenges them to question who they really are and identify what is holding them back from being their true selves.
Despite the rocky start, I believe that Miss Fancy Pants by Alicia Gargaro-Mangana has earned 4 out of 4 stars. I love the message behind the story and the story itself is quite riveting once the real action begins.
Miss Fancy Pants
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