Beauty and the Brain - Elizabeth Bevarly

First off, I couldn't read this in one sitting. I don't advise trying.
Second off, this is not the sort of book I expected from this author.

 

I hurt for the h. She's 2 years older than the H - child prodigy - and got stuck with him as a lab partner in their Jr year in HS. Chemistry was not her strong suit. He was...not nice about it in his constant disparagement of her intelligence. Add to that, a mother who expressed disapproval at her failures... She's a travel agent now, who can't travel because she doesn't travel well. She never pursued her strengths - geography, art - because her self esteem got tangled up in her weaknesses.

 

He's back in town to study the comet. Her mother - mayor - generously offers her house (that the h rents from her) for him to stay in, forcing them in close proximity. He's still verbally abusive. It's because he's attracted to her and doesn't wanna be <eye roll>.

 

She tries v. hard to play nice, and when that fails, tries avoiding him. Every now and then, an olive branch of sorts gets extended, they have a few minutes of civility, then he manages to remind her that he thinks she's stupid. The night of the comet, they spend the night together, causing him to miss it. He doesn't react well the next morning.

 

More avoidance (not that I blame her). He reads her old school stuff and figures out she'd had a crush on him in spite of his being an ass when they were kids. Decides to make lots of amends, HEA, the end...

 

Do I believe the HEA? Strangely enough, yes. BUT...SOMEbody has his work cut out for him both in his own mindset and in building up that self-esteem he's systematically shredded. That actually might be the only reason I believe it - she has such a low opinion of herself that she'll take whatever crumbs he offers.

 

I just...wonder I guess...why these three women stayed here. The other one of the trilogy I read, the h's father was a patronizing ass toward her. This one, her mother considered her a colossal disappointment. The third one, I don't know if I have that one but what little I've seen of her, the town seems to have put her on a pedestal with a "do not touch" sign on its base.