Review: Isn’t She Lovely by Lauren Layne

Isn’t She Lovely by Lauren Layne
Series: Redemption #O.5
Genres: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Date of Publishing: 28th October, 2013
Publisher: Loveswept: Flirt
Links: | Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks |
My Rating: ★★★

“Who knew that pretending you’re not falling for someone would be so much more difficult than pretending that you are?”

Stephanie Kendrick gave up her whole summer to ace her NYU film school screenwriting course, so she’s pissed to be stuck with a preppy, spoiled frat boy as her writing partner. Then again, with her piercings, black-rimmed eyes, and Goth wardrobe, Stephanie isn’t exactly Ethan Price’s type, either. He’s probably got his eye on some leggy blonde with a trust fund… or does he?

As the summer scene kicks off in the Hamptons, Ethan is desperate to make his snobbish mother forget the pedigreed girl who broke his heart. While Stephanie’s a stretch as a decoy, the right makeover and a pastel cardigan just might do the trick. She may not love the idea of playing Ethan’s brainless Barbie girlfriend, but the free rent and luxurious digs make a tempting offer. So does the promise of a ready-made screenplay idea inspired by their charade.

But when Stephanie steps into Ethan’s privileged world, the “acting” begins to feel all too real. The kissing and touching that were intended to fool the Hamptons crowd wind up manipulating “them.” And Stephanie faces a question she’s too afraid to ask: Is Ethan falling for the real her or for the dolled-up princess he wants to see?

RevieW 

That was the real kicker with the Pygmalion story. That was the conflict Martin Holbrook had talked about. Because you could dress up a hooker, and she was still a hooker. A flower girl was still a flower girl. And a grungy film student, was still a grungy film student. Even in a pretty dress.  

I have to be honest…the entire concept of a Pygmalion? Completely new to me. Of course, I knew what it meant before I read Isn’t She Lovely (barely) and it made sense to me when the synopsis mentioned Pretty Woman BUT an artist creating something only to fall in love with it? Or something?

Like, woah.

But I’d read Broken (Redemption #1) before Isn’t She Lovely and knowing Olivia’s story only prompted me to read where it all began from. And ERHMAFRIKKINGAWD. Best. Decision. Ever.

Stephanie Kendrick really doesn’t want to be stuck in a script writing assignment with Ethan Price of all people but there isn’t any choice. And she does NOT need the drama that would come with posing as his fake girlfriend—all blonde and refined and fake. But he’s hot, if she’s being honest to herself.

Ethan Price has been fucked over a lot. His best friend betrayed him, his (ex) girlfriend cheated on him with said best friend and he has wayyy too much information about his mother’s personal life that he’d like to be privy to. And yet, Stephanie Kendrick, this Goth, badass midget with her amazing cleavage and her smartass mouth has him feeling things he doesn’t need to. And now that they’re supposed to be working together, he’s going to have to figure out how to deal with her or risk losing his mind.

When his nosey mom gets it in her mind that his ex girlfriend is the best thing that had happened to him, he has to get her off his back. Who else to do that with but Stephanie? And when Ethan offers her a deal she can’t refuse, Stephanie has no choice but to roll with it. 

“Who knew that pretending you’re not falling for someone would be so much more difficult than pretending that you are?”

In the entire Redemption series, I’ve sympathized most with Ethan. His world—his entire fucking world—went to shit on the same day. One after another, the people he loved dropped out of his life like flies. And this is also the precise reason that he remains one of my favorite characters to date. He isn’t the suffer-in-silence type, but he also isn’t an asshole. Not really. His only problem is that he’s too accustomed to prim and proper and seeing life through a pipe; is he short-sighted? Yes. Does he care a little too much about what people think? Definitely.

But seeing it through his eyes made me understand where he comes from a bit better. I didn’t agree or accept his reasons and actions, but I understood them.

Stephanie, like Ethan, tries to run away from home. From her recently deceased mother and her newly married father and her new stepmother who looks a lot like her mother. She was angry and holding grudges, while also being simultaneously tired of fighting…everything. And in letting Ethan cajole her into becoming this rich Hamptons girl, she doesn’t realize how deep she’s falling for him.

It was only after I finished reading the book that I realized the metaphorical play on words that is the title of this book. “Isn’t she lovely?” would be something an artist would say to his audience, while standing back and priding himself on the piece of art he has displayed. And that’s specifically what Ethan tried to do. Make Stephanie into something she’s not and pride himself on having pulled it off well enough to fool his family.

Stupid? Immensely. But if you read the book, you’ll know how difficult it is to hate Ethan Price.

The only thing that didn’t work for me in this book was the predictability of this book. It didn’t add anything to the New Adult genre—considering most of the book revolved around the characters themselves, and not their experiences in college—and I hadn’t expected it to, really, but the entire book was obvious. There’s really no better way to put it. From page one to the end, I knew exactly where the book was going.

As usual, though, Lauren Layne wins with this book. She takes the character building to a whole new level and her type of writing leaves you in no doubt of her prowess. She’s always been nothing lesser than a conflict resolving Goddess to me and with Isn’t She Lovely, she’s proved herself all over again.

*I was provided a free eARC of this book in exchange of an honest review. This did not in any way, however, influence the content of this review.*
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