Title: Now That It’s You
Author: Tawna Fenske
Series: – –
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Available: 6th Sept
Talented chef Meg Delaney hasn’t spoken to her cheating ex-fiancé, Matt Midland, for two years. Ditching him at the altar after blurting out “I can’t” instead of “I do” would sour any relationship. But now, just as Meg is finally ready to bury the hatchet, she learns closure is permanently off the menu. And the kicker? Matt’s brother, Kyle, is back in her life, stirring up feelings that are equal parts guilt and lust.
Meg was the best thing that never happened to Kyle. He couldn’t make a move on his brother’s girlfriend—even if Matt didn’t value her nearly enough. The situation is even more complicated now that Meg’s bestselling aphrodisiac cookbook has spawned a legal battle with the Midlands. Maybe he should stay away. But love, like family, plays by its own rules. And the one woman he shouldn’t want might be the only one who’s perfect for him.
Mild Spoilers below.
Source: ARC from Montlake Romance via NetGalley
I’m torn about this book. On the one hand, there were bits of it, particularly at the beginning, that made me laugh so hard (the pigeon really got to me for some reason, and the lepers moment), while at the same time dealing with difficult issues of grief and how it affects different people in different ways. On the other hand, everything to do with the recipe book made me so angry.
Matt casts a massive shadow over this book. Not just because of his death, but because he’s the reason why Kyle met Meg in the first place – all their memories are full of him. It’s his work on the cookbook that provides the main bone of contention between Meg and happiness. He’s also the reason why Matt’s family hates Meg, despite him being massively at fault in their breakup and the timing of it all. And, to top it all off, he was not even a nice person. Sure, he made people laugh, but he was also a selfish, attention-seeking asshole. He was absolutely horrible to Meg about her dreams. I know he’s dead and everyone’s shocked and all, but the way everyone is out to protect Matt’s legacy at the expense of Meg’s hard work… no.
There was clearly a lot more going on with Matt than is ever really explored in this book, and that irritated me a lot. Such as the parade of girlfriends. I thought that was going to lead to some major heartbreak revelation from his past that might explain he’s subsequent behaviour, instead it’s more like he just wanted free catering or something. And his depression. This lurks in the background but is never really explored beyond how he struggled when Meg left. I’m not even sure if it was the loss of her or the public humiliation that bothered him most. Matt is still a jerk, even if he did have a mental breakdown. I thought this too would lead to important revelations, but again, it didn’t. It’s just a semi-excuse for why Kyle feels bad about stuff.
Which is a shame, because when Kyle is with Meg, they’re so great together. He’s the complete opposite of Matt in the way he cares about her, and it’s obvious the two of them have always been mutually supportive of each other’s dreams, in spite of Matt’s competitive nastiness. They’re perfect for each other, even if they do talk about Matt an awful lot of the time.
Until Kyle isn’t so great, of course. I can’t understand why he never stands up for Meg. Yes, it’s because of him that the book becomes a success, but then he actively supports his mother screwing Meg over. If they were fighting over Matt being given credit for his work, fine (even though he didn’t want any part of the book because he thought it was a joke), but no, it’s all about the money. Which they weren’t entitled to, because Meg had already paid almost all of Matt’s vindictive bill – not to mention shouldering all the costs for the wedding that didn’t happen and all the rest of the costs she forked out for the book in the first place. Yet somehow they feel entitled to half the royalties. It infuriated me that Kyle could treat her that way, especially after they talk about it and he seemed to understand her point of view. All because he felt guilty for something stupid he did – which hurt Meg even more than Matt, because Matt is an adult and no one forced him to do anything.
MATT IS DEAD AND WHEN HE WAS ALIVE HE WAS A COMPLETE BASTARD! STOP STICKING UP FOR HIM WHEN HE DOESN’T DESERVE IT!
I am also at a complete loss over why and how Meg forgives Kyle at all, let alone so quickly. He betrays her so deeply in so many different ways because apparently he loves her so much(?!). Sure, he also helps to further her dreams, but the way he goes about everything is just wrong, wrong, wrong.
Which is a huge shame, because I am a big fan of Tawna Fenske and I loved how the humour in this novel mixes in with the darker moments to prevent them from ever getting too bleak. I liked both Meg and Kyle most of the time, and I really felt for Meg and just wished Kyle had been in her corner instead of uniting against her with his grief-stricken (and spiteful) mother. The romance could have been sweet and satisfying, but Matt has too much presence and Meg wasn’t really given enough time to consider Kyle’s betrayal and truly forgive him.
So I’m conflicted. There were big chunks of the book that I enjoyed a lot, but my overall feeling at the end was anger at Kyle and sad confusion with Meg. The epilogue is cute and all, but I struggled with what came before. If not for some of Kyle’s questionable choices I think I would have loved it, as it stands though, I’m a little disappointed.
Now That It’s You is out September 6th.
Visit Tawna Fenske for more details.