Sunday, January 24, 2016

ARC Review: The Imperfection of Swans

The Imperfection of Swans
From the blurb:

Kevin Bivanti’s dream is to open a wedding dress shop, a place with the stunning gowns to make every bride-to-be feel adored. At thirty-eight, he quits a successful advertising career to buy an old brownstone in a trendy Boston neighborhood and to make his dream a reality. When one of his cosigners drops out, fate intervenes, ushering in Casper James, who hopes to open his own bakery. With Casper willing to take the risk, their ambitions meld into a wedding dress and wedding cake boutique.

Extensive renovations to the brownstone, an affair with his ex-husband, family drama with his mothers, and the anxiety of significant life changes push Kevin to the brink of a nervous breakdown. In the midst of stress and uncertainty, Casper becomes more than a business partner, a mutual attraction that adds another layer of intensity and risk.

With their dreams on the verge of reality, Kevin and Casper must find the courage to face the stress of managing their attraction, the gamble of a new business venture, and the resurgence of Kevin’s personal demons.

Heather rating:

Looong, angsty, and full of feels, you need to be a patient reader to enjoy this one.

First, some important details. This book has a couple of things that seems to be a problem for some readers. For one, these guys date and have sex with other people after they meet but before they are a couple, though there is some very slight overlap. I know those details alone are a deal-breaker for some readers so I thought I'd put it out there. Also, there is almost no sex on page. If that is important to you, step aside because you'll be getting no nookie in this one!

I first heard about this book a few months ago at the GRL book retreat in San Diego. Brandon Witt told readers then that he had written a book that was loosely based on the experiences and dreams of Kevin, a close friend of his, who always dreamed of opening a wedding dress shop and struggled with anxiety and an eating disorder. I went into this book knowing that it was based on a real person, and I kept that in mind the whole time that I was reading.

I think the strength of this book is depth of the characters. These characters are extremely multifaceted and have so much more to them then what is on the surface. His depiction of everyone was very nuanced, and Brandon Witt got me to feel a LOT of emotion during the story. Kevin, in particular, was really touching for me. I think most of us could understand body image issues and pressure to feel "good enough," so Kevin's character really struck a chord with me.

However, this book also was a bit of a struggle for me to get through. It is a very long book, and it feels very long. It was beautifully and consistently written, but it took AGES for anything to happen. These guys don't really get together until 66% of the way through the book, which is a long time to wait, IMO, especially with no sex on page. The pace is also just very slow, with much of the details spent on time cleaning up their store and picking out decorations for their business. It felt a little tedious for me, and I had to keep reminding myself to read on when my attention wavered.

I think Brandon Witt did a great job honoring his friend's very personal story (and, *eek!* he is a hottie- his friend is the cover model!), but it wasn't a re-read kind of story for me. I hope others give it a try because there are some really touching parts of the story.

**Copy provided in exchange for an honest review**

Keep reading, friends!

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