Genre: Contemporary women’s fiction
It was harmless enough: her best friend’s wedding. But for California girl Phoebe, forty-eight hours in North Carolina changed her life.
As Phoebe keeps up long-distance romances with the two very different men who captured her heart–gloomy hotel concierge Mason and fun-loving groomsman Frankie–she also juggles her growing attraction to her dad’s married friend. Throw in two old flames from her past and a hunky masseur and you’ve got a most complicated love hexagon!
Thrilled by her unexpected adventures, Phoebe jumps from one love affair to the next to preempt pain and disappointment. But an unplanned pregnancy and the abandonment of the man she’s learned to love forces her to face the tragedies of her new adult world in this cautionary tale about love, sex, grief, and growing up.
Like a Closed Fist is a book that makes more sense to me now – in my thirties – than it ever could have in my twenties or late teens. Heads up, this story borders between a modern relationship drama and occasional mild sex – but how it does this is probably the most interesting aspect.
To briefly cover some possible red flags; the main character got pregnant during college, aborted, moved away, left the original boyfriend behind, develops a very heavy crush on a married man eighteen years older, tries to get away from that and ends up sleeping with two people while out of state for a wedding. To make it complicated; thanks to the magic of the internet, she keeps in touch with both of these new people – then it gets even messier. (This isn’t all at once exactly, but it does get muddled). For the most part, this stuff can be derived from the story blurb.
The story itself focuses on those relationships and how she’s torn in multiple directions trying to figure out whose serious, which one really cares, which one won’t cause people to get hurt, how to handle her own issues and so on. Some factors were a stretch for me to get into – but for anyone who’s bounced around while considering who to commit to – it might make more sense. She keeps trying to connect but we see the attempts fall apart for different reasons.
These lifelike disconnects are what really got my attention. Each of the men has very distinct reactions, they don’t feel fake like some relationship stories do – and the internal monolog at times had me laughing. Amusingly enough, most of my laughter was during the sex scenes – so if you’re not capable of handling adult interaction and “please let’s be done” this book probably isn’t for you. Those items were great to me – because once again they felt lifelike and perfectly human.
I write with as much sincerity as I can muster – for anyone who wants insight on how disarrayed a woman’s view might be regarding sexual hang-ups, messy relationships, dating expectations, while still attempting to eke out an iota of happiness – this book is a good one. I’m going to round up and say five stars; not because I love the genre (I need explosions and wizards or dragons) and not because I was bribed with cookies (I wasn’t) – but because the story feels amazingly real and that hit me like a closed fist (feel free to groan here).
I received an advanced review copy of this fiction in exchange for an honest review.