The Hartigans, Book 1
Heat Factor: Might need a firehose to put out the blaze
Character Chemistry: he has phenomenal arms and she’s adorable
Plot: Butterface kind of says it all, right?
Overall: Recommended if you’re looking for some arm porn, steamy love scenes, and avoidable romantic angst
Butterface is the story of a wedding planner who’s got a bangin’ bod but a funny face and a smokin’ hot cop. It’s a pretty standard hottie-with-the-nottie sort of story. I told my husband I was reading this book, and he looked all kinds of confused.
“Because everything is hot but her face. Haven’t you ever heard that before?”
“No,” he said, still unclear as to why this would be a thing. (❤️)
“Oh. There was a girl I knew of in college that guys referred to as butterface….”
My point, of course, is that even if you’ve never heard this term before, it’s 100% a thing.
Gina Luca is an upstanding citizen and small business owner who also just happens to be a member of a family well known for organized crime. Ford Hartigan is a rule-following detective who apparently doesn’t realize he’s hot. They meet cute (ish) because Gina planned a wedding that Ford is attending, and drunken revelers turn a live video stream into a kiss cam. Sounds classy.
Gina is extremely sensitive about her appearance and frankly doesn’t value herself very much, although she keeps saying she’s satisfied with her life (she’s single and slaying it!). Ford is attracted to Gina, but he’s totally clueless about her appearance even though everyone around him (except his family) is pretty much reprehensible when it comes to treatment of Gina. Example:
By Tuesday, the box of supposedly bleach-enhanced Chapstick left on Ford’s desk in the squad room had been swapped with a new kind of supposed gift. There, on his stack of case files, was a brown paper bag with eyeholes cut out. Ford stared down at it. The fuckers had even done a half-assed job of drawing a pair of women’s open lips below the eyes, with an opening cut into the middle.
What makes her so ugly, you ask? She has a really big nose and protuberant eyes. In the scope of unattractive features to overcome, I think hers are… manageable… And the level of commentary about her appearance by others seems a bit severe. It’s like no one in the town has ever seen people with–IDK–growths or skin conditions or too much or too little hair in places where we don’t typically consider hair should be.
Ford is attracted to Gina from the beginning, but when she rejects an overture after the kiss cam incident, he wallows in a little self doubt because he is the least socially adept in a large and gregarious family. Of course she rejected him because to have lower self esteem she’d probably have to find some space below sea level. I was personally a little frustrated that Gina simply assumed for most of the story that there was no way Ford would be into her, culminating in one of those I-just-learned-your-dirty-little-secret-and-I’m-walking-out-before-I-let-you-explain moments. Plot, I guess. I also don’t have a great deal of patience for people not advocating for themselves OR experience with the sorts of social biases that would result in such terrible self esteem. Why not just take Ford at his word and say yes to one drink? Wonderful things could happen. Assuming the worst just closes doors.
The plot is driven by the protagonists making choices that may make your cringe. Or you might find them relatable. I was in the, “okay, but are you sure?” cringe camp, personally. Sometimes that’s fine for a little emotional escapism. And Ford and Gina get things sorted pretty nicely, so my stress while reading was entirely rewarded.
This is one of those books that one might read for a little escape. It’s somewhat relatable–probably to others more than to me and maybe to me more than to others–and it’s pretty well written, and it’s a nice story, and, and, and. It’s on the warm side, and it’s full of fun colloquial language. (I love to learn new vocab words.) Do not read if you are offended by profanity.
The descriptions of Ford’s arms were also something special.
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