Vance has never known a day without wealth, however that has not defined who he has become. Using a small amount of his trust fund, Vance sets up a life where he is essentially debt free, a real estate owner, and able to pursue his real passion–sculpting art from metal. But he remains tied to his father’s architectural firm and bound to be his father’s lackey, something he hates fiercely. Unable to ever get a smidge of approval from his domineering father, Vance moves through each day waiting for the time when he can lose himself in the art he loves to create. Little is he aware that a freak accident will lead him to not only find the freedom he so desperately wants from his father, but to enter into a relationship that is both frustrating and invigorating.
Kyle has not had an easy life, but one marked with an abusive father, poverty, and uncertainty about the future. Nearing thirty, Kyle knows he can’t be a bike courier for much longer, yet the one thing that brings him joy will never make him the money he needs to survive. So he spends his day hating the rich clients he serves while delivering their paperwork and occasionally feeds his soul by creating impossibly beautiful airbrushed masterpieces on motorcycles. The only thing Kyle knows is he will never stoop to accept anything from those more well off than him and that includes the new bike that asshole who nearly ran him down has offered.
Kyle and Vance come from two different worlds and yet there is something that draws them together. In Ann Lister’s new book, Moved By You, we watch two polar opposites crash into each other and then spend a good deal of time fighting their attraction. For Kyle, the anger he feels toward Vance stems from assuming he’s a spoiled, rich boy who has never really had to work for anything. Vance, on the other hand, tries again and again to keep his frustrations in check when Kyle pushes every one of his buttons with statements that are never far off the mark and hit way too near home for comfort. It doesn’t help his determination to avoid Kyle when the guy shows up unannounced and seemingly ready to make nice. There’s also the fierce sexual attraction the two have for one another that keeps them coming back again and again, despite how much they argue.
I’m going to be honest and say I had a hard time liking Kyle. I willingly admit that this is all on me, but I can’t help but wonder why the author chose over and over to make him such a jerk. He rarely had anything nice to say to Vance and yet he kept coming around and Vance, unfortunately, just rolled over and let him. For more than half this book, Kyle treated Vance badly—making assumptions about him that were unfounded and mean spirited. I understood the intense lust the two of them felt for the other, but when, by novel’s end, there was still no solid basis or past incident that caused Kyle’s contempt for the wealthy, I was really confused as to why the author chose to use that as the foundation for Kyle’s hatred and cavalier treatment of Vance.
I also had difficulty with the way in which Vance allowed Kyle to make him feel guilty about his wealth. It wasn’t as if Vance had used it to advance himself—rather he carefully took and repaid any monies he used from his trust fund to set himself up in a way as to be self-sufficient and not need the money his father held over his head as a threat. I’m not saying he didn’t have certain privileges, but still he made sure to make himself financially independent of his father’s wealth. His real motivation for sticking it out at his dad’s firm was a need to feel accepted and loved by him. I was uncomfortable with the author choosing to have Kyle mock Vance for that desire even though Kyle’s endless derision spurred Vance onto a decision that ultimately set him free.
I will say that Kyle redeemed himself in certain ways the last half of the novel. When a big reveal is made about his private life, I felt Lister made ground in humanizing what had been up to that point a jerk of a character. There were tender moments between Kyle and Vance that had me hopeful the novel was going to pull away from the first portion where Kyle was so inexplicably mean to Vance. While I felt the reason for that contempt was never really resolved, it was a far better relationship that began to develop between them from that point on in the story. We began to see more compassion and tenderness on Kyle’s part and the romance aspect of the novel started to nicely develop. Then we hit the final chapters and lost the plot, literally.
Unfortunately, the ending of this novel and the final scene with Vance’s father was just too random and so far outside everything we had seen and gotten to know about his dad to that point that I just had to shake my head in disbelief. I apologize if that comment seems rather obscure, but I don’t want to reveal too much of the plot and ruin the story for future readers. For me, the ending solidified the idea that while this novel had some good moments, overall it was based on ideas that never were fully fleshed out and characters that were decidedly mean-spirited in the way they treated poor Vance as someone not worthy of their regard.
Moved By You is an enemies-to-lovers trope that led to a romance of sorts that some may find satisfying. For me, there was just too much pettiness and unexplained contempt on the part of Kyle to make this novel really shine.