Brown Eyed Girl is the fourth novel in Kleypas’s Travis family series. This one centers on Joe, the final brother to find his match in the rambling family of wealthy but down to earth Texans. Joe’s happy ever after comes in the form of Avery, a wedding planner extraordinaire with a serious guard up when it comes to matters of the heart.
I adored this book. My only complaint with it was that it ended too quickly – just after Avery had her “ah ha!” moment about Joe and her true feelings about him, the book ended. I could have read about these people for a couple hundred more pages at least.
Avery – who I envision as a version of Sara Rue’s character from Less Than Perfect – is a full-figured woman who has decided that the best way to handle her body is to hide it. She dresses in tent-like structures that may work well for her profession, but do nothing for her self-esteem. She is clearly the only one who sees anything wrong with her body, but also the only person who sees anything correct with how she dresses. This tension is one of the drivers of the story – Joe relishes in Avery’s body and all of her friends encourage her to dress more for her body instead of against it.
Full disclosure, I am also what one would consider a full-figure woman. I know the mental battle of how to dress to feel good but also not to hide, I know how odd it feels when someone finds you attractive even when you can’t stand the look of yourself. Kleypas could have been writing my internal monologue from when I met my husband when she was describing Avery’s confusion about Joe’s enjoyment of her body. That part, in particular, was wonderful.
Avery’s past is very present in this story – she was left at the altar after a lifetime of abandonment by both of her parents and that legacy is hard to shake. Joe does his best to disarm it, as any proper romance hero would, but I’m sure as they go into their happily ever after, it will be a continual work in progress.
Joe’s family, who readers of the series know well, is alive and wonderful in this book. We learn a little more about them as we see them through Avery’s eyes as she juxtaposes their functioning family to her fractured one. Her life has taught her that people will leave, but despite that she has learned how to love others well. Letting them love her is a bit more a challenge. But that makes watching Joe do that all the more wonderful.
This charming book is both solid and light at the same time. Therefore, a Gin & Tonic is my choice. If you’re in the U.S., my recommendation is Bombay Sapphire with a lime, but if you can ever find Shortcross (from Northern Ireland) or Caorunn (from Scotland), enjoy them with a grapefruit or apple respectively. FeverTree is the best tonic out there, but whatever you get your hands on can suit.
- Wedding Planner: Maybe hiring Avery is a little out of your budget, but maybe this wee book can help channel her genius.
- Fine Photos of Texas: If Joe’s description of photography had you curious, check out here for how beautiful Texas can be.
- Ten Books about Weddings: If reading about Avery’s business has whet your whistle for more tulle, then check out these books.
I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.