Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Spotlight Article: Plus Sized Women in New Fiction

Spotlight Article: Plus-Sized Women in New Books
Big Boned (Heather Wells Series #3) by Meg Cabot
Not Even If You Begged by Francis Ray
By Meg Cabot
Published by: Avon A, An Imprint of Harper Collins
Publication Date: November 2007
Price: $13.95
304 Pages
ISBN-13: 9780060525132
Four Star Rating ****

By Francis Ray, Egon Ronay Organisation
Published by: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: January 2008
ISBN-13: 9780312948177
Four Star Rating ****

“When I am in a relaxed position, my thighs feel spongy. This is partly due to the fact that I don’t run, swim or play Frisbee of any kind, and also due to the fact that I will eat anything if it has chocolate sauce or ketchup on it. Or even if it just plain, as in the case of Krispy Kreme doughnuts (which Tad will eat too, because they are fried in vegetable oil, not animal lard. Although I notice that when Tad eats Krispy Kremes, he enjoys just one and seems satisfied, where as I have to consume the entire box, as I cannot stop thinking about them until I know all of the Krispy Kremes are gone. What’s up with that?).” (Pp 3). Big Boned

“Man had fallen from grace again…just as Traci Evans knew he always would.
Standing amid the hushed and tensed selective few in the wings of the auditorium at one of the largest churches in Charleston, South Carolina, Traci watched her client, Andrew Crandall, struggle to maneuver his wheelchair to the lone microphone positioned at the center of the stage. The moment he’d appeared, the standing-room only audience had surged to its feet, applauding loudly. The ovation was deafening…

People need to know the high price he had paid, was still paying for his adultery. (Pp. 1-2). Not Even if You Begged.

Plus-sized female characters have started to appear more and more often in some of the more recent novels from new and established authors alike. Two new novels reflect this trend to more accurately portray the living majority of real women.

In Big Boned, Former teen pop star Heather Wells attends New York College. To pay for her tuition, Heather works as an assistant dormitory director at the Fischer Hall residence dorm better known by the residents as the “Death Dorm” following some recent murders there. Heather is also dating her remedial math instructor Tad Tocco although she admits only to herself she still loves private investigator Cooper Cartwright. Someone murders Fisher Hall's temporary manager Dr. Owen Veatch. The police immediately suspect graduate student Sebastian Blumenthal, a protest leader, who had public run-ins with the deceased. When Heather receives a tip that insists Ted is innocent, she begins to investigate, but ends up in trouble from a murderer who would not mind killing the somewhat slimmed down but still a plus-sized Heather. --- The third Heather Wells’ big is better amateur sleuth (see SIZE 14 IS NOT FAT EITHER and SIZE 12 IS NOT FAT) is an entreating New York murder mystery due to the antics of the precocious heroine. Heather is at her best as she squeezes into dangerous situations that are to tight for comfort yet continues to do so. Sub-genre fans will enjoy this big woman’s escapades as she makes inquires that concern the two men in her life.

In Not Even If You Begged, Widow Traci Evans happily sits in on meetings with the lovely ladies of the Invincible Sisterhood solely because they reached out to her first. A loner, Traci feels for the first time she belongs. All of the official members are sweet older women who have lost the love of their lives, their husbands. Unknown to them, Traci is more angry than she is grief-stricken because her husband died in the midst of cheating on her with another woman.

Her husband’s deception has hardened Traci’s heart so much that even close friend and next door neighbor Maureen can't convince her to open it again. But when a playful kiss with Maureen's gorgeous son Ryan turns passionate, Traci starts to rethink everything she knows about love. This is an interesting case study of a May-November romance.

Francis Ray has written more than twenty novels in the romance genre and has been one of the top romance authors for most of her career. Although romance novels are not this reviewer’s genre of choice I have been known to enjoy a good love story every now and then. Not Even If You Begged is one of those times. Francis Ray has written a story that showcases her talents very well. It’s a smooth read. The characters find their way into your heart and there they stay. Although the main characters are Traci and her next door neighbor and friend Maureen the women of The Invincible Sisterhood have you chuckling at their antics, agreeing with their views on men, love and life and enjoying the way them empower and encourage one another. These women are sassy and classy and they don’t intend to allow Traci to wallow in her misery. The men in this novel, Maureen’s handsome son, Ryan who is taken by Traci, and Simon, a younger man who has his sights set on the older Maureen are more than just eye candy. The author has done a marvelous job of crafting these men in a positive light. Ray’s love scenes, though tasteful, sizzle with every caress, every kiss and every explosive encounter. This was my kind of romance novel Will Traci, Maureen and the widows in the sisterhood find love the second time around? Read Not Even If You Begged to find out. You’ll be entertained from chapter to chapter until the story ends. This reviewer is pleased with this trend and hopes it continues. Art should reflect life, and these novels reflect life as it is.


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