‘Big Girl Panties’ by Stephanie Evanovich


Rating: 4 stars

In “Big Girl Panties,” Stephanie Evanovich will endear herself to the millions of women who are not happy with their bodies (and studies show that’s 75% of women — lots of future readers).

This story raises an interesting question: Can a man who is a perfect specimen — handsome, wealthy and confident — fall for a woman, Holly, who is overweight and insecure? And to make the question more intriguing — imagine that, because of her body type, this woman will never be svelte and model-like.

The characters are well-drawn. Many of Holly’s insecurities will have women who carry some extra weight (or have ever carried some extra weight) nodding their heads as Holly tries to fit (squish) into her tiny airline seat.

In Evanonich’s effort to give Holly excuses for gaining a lot of weight, she throws a few too many challenges into her past. Losing a husband, having an unloving, detached family, and being something of a social misfit (a loner), all detract a bit from the essence of the story.

Also detracting slightly from the romance between Holly and Logan, a personal trainer to the stars, are the secondary characters of Amanda and Chase. They have a “nasty” secret — that Chase has a hankering to spank women and Amanda, his wife, doesn’t mind.

Now that Chase and Amanda are married, he confines his spanking to her — but the subject is explored in a way that might make some readers uncomfortable. At one point, “He peppered her bottom with firm, well-placed swats, indicating he meant business.”

Amanda’s generous curves don’t seem to detract at all from her beauty. Yet while Logan thinks Amanda is beautiful, Holly’s rather over-generous curves don’t elicit the same response.

In spite of its flaws, the story is charming and humorous, and many will enjoy the not-very-surprising ending. Love trumps all — and that’s why women read romances.

Please note: This review is based on the final hardcover book provided by the publisher, HarperCollins, for review purposes.