Good Girls Don't by Victoria Dahl

Library eBook

I heard of this book (and it's series) after listening to the Smart Bitches Trashy Books podcast in which they discussed "Strong Female Characters" and how there's some inherent sexism in that role - something I very much agree with, think about a great deal, and am on the constant look-out for. The author Sarah is interviewing, Jaye Wells, suggested these books as an alternative to a mass-murdering, misogynist hunting warrior woman heroine. I was very curious to see my pet theory in action, so I immediately checked it out. (I'd rather not explain on this post what I believe a "strong female" should be like, but suffice to say that I find the idea in vogue to be flat-out scary. I would instead direct you to the link above where they can explain to you much better than I can, if you have an hour to spare.)

I actually was fairly impressed with the characters in this book! No one was impossibly sweet and perfect to the point where I wanted to bludgeon them over the head! This is my #1 problem in Romancelandia*. Sure, it wasn't perfect. In fact it was pretty trite, with it's cheesy dialogue (both internal and spoken) and a pretty mundane plot. But what kept it from being truly terrible is that it was realistic. Though the dialogue wasn't impressive, it was common enough. The author obviously had human interactions, which is problem #2 I typically have with Romancelandia - the fact that the author doesn't understand when it's appropriate for heroes and heroines to be angry with each other and when it isn't okay (example: romanticizing rape).

This is the first book in a series about 3 siblings who run a family brewery in Colorado. In this book, their little sister Tessa; sweet, perky, seemingly-innocent Tessa, falls for a misunderstood bad-boy detective. Her very protective brothers do not approve. But let's bring it back to the beginning (sorry, my brother is watching Parks & Rec in the next room and it's really distracting). So the brewery gets robbed early on, which is how we're introduced to Detective Luke and his Very Pregnant Partner, Simone. (Note - I love pregnant cops, they're literally my favorite things ever.) On one hand, one of Tessa's brothers (I really can't keep any of Tessa's brother's names straight - their names are very generic) f*cked up (literally) their chances of breaking into a huge business deal. So now Tessa is hard at work trying to fix the problem without letting their other brother find out.

It was entertaining. Not what I typically like to read, but it was as promised in the podcast. There was a reliably "strong female" who does what she must to get work done. She's not all "brains and beauty" who eventually proves to just be beauty with nothing else to back up the first claim. And she's strong without being frightening, and she's flawed because that happens! Women Men People are complicated and a whole mess of good and bad things! Sometimes the good can actually be bad; it depends on the situation! So story wise, it passed the time, but I wasn't enthralled. However, it gets high marks from me because it was still really well done and refreshing. Also, because it's a Romance novel, I should say that there was some nasteh goin' on, and it gets high points from me, too.

*Romancelandia - blanket term covering all of the Romance genre, including YA romance & Chick-Lit, but focusing on cheap paper backs, the kind one might find on a great aunt's bed side table, or yellowed and dusty in used book store shelves.

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