Kevin has always been fascinated by wedding dresses. When life became too stressful even at a young age, pictures of the clean, white lines of the gowns helped calm him. Kevin now has a successful career in advertising, but one day decides it’s time to go for his dream of opening a wedding dress store and he quits his job. A three-floor brownstone in the heart of Boston is quite an undertaking and fates brings him Casper, a pastry chef with dreams of his own cake business. With little thought, Casper invests and leaps into a joint business of cakes and dresses.
Kevin is focused and driven and riddled with anxiety. The renovations for the business, a fling with his ex-husband, and family issues all boost Kevin’s need to be perfect and in control at all times. Add that to spending any free moment at the gym, closely monitoring his food intake, health issues, and an intense attraction to Casper, all have Kevin on the verge of collapse.
Casper is all in however. He is all in with the business and he is all in with Kevin, but the war that Kevin wages within himself is most definitely trying to win.
Kevin is the star of the show here and it’s primarily his story. Kevin has tried so hard to be perfect his entire life, but how can he possibly ever achieve it if the idea of perfection keeps changing. Every aspect of his life is affected by his need to be perfect and he compares himself and judges himself to the point of making himself sick. He has severe anxiety, which is known and an eating disorder, which he tries to conceal.
Kevin was inspired by a friend of the author’s and Witt does a great job of exposing him to us. He gets us deep into his character where we are able to see all of Kevin’s anxieties brightly illuminated and how Kevin sees himself. He’s afraid of not succeeding and almost as afraid of actually succeeding. Kevin had a gorgeous husband and he never felt good enough no matter how many people complimented his looks. When they hook up again that is just another trigger that sends Kevin into panic mode.
The first quarter of this book was slow for me, but then it started moving forward. The relationship between Kevin and Casper is a slower burn as the men get the business off of the ground. Kevin has a big family and they all invest in his new venture. When some finances fall through, Casper is then able to step in financially. There was a lot of money being invested and, while I could possibly get on board with Casper taking this huge leap both financially and professionally for his dream, having all of Kevin’s family invest so freely wasn’t as convincing.
Casper is a good guy and sees the best in Kevin. He can’t believe that he is finally getting his dream and that it could possibly include Kevin as well. Casper is a great compliment to Kevin as he calms him, enjoys being with him, and falls completely in love with him. Their private time is romantic and just that, private, which fits the feel of the story and anyway Kevin doesn’t like people watching too much. But having a new lover as a new business partner is completely over the top stressful for Kevin.
Kevin is sick throughout the entire book with severe acid reflux that all of his family is aware of. He takes medication for it, but it continually gets worse and he continues to lose weight. Everyone is aware of this and while no one caught on to his eating disorder that he had for at least half of his life, I found it difficult to believe that his very involved family allowed the digestive issues to continue and were on board with serving him applesauce and liquid nutritional shakes without any further intervention.
Kevin’s personality is written so strongly as he is almost crippled by anxiety that it was difficult to see anything else and perhaps that was the point. This book tackles some real life issues and if you enjoy that with a mixture of romance, family, and a new business venture, this book may then be a good choice.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.