Thursday, January 11, 2018

Review - - The Art of Running in Heels

The Art of Running in Heels
By Rachel Gibson
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: December 26, 2017
Reviewed by Janga

This book opens with characters beloved by fans of Rachel Gibson’s Chinooks Hockey Team series—John and Georgie Kowalsky (Simply Irresistible, 1998). The couple is watching Gettin’ Hitched, a reality TV show that is an exaggerated version of The Bachelor. They don’t expect to see their oldest daughter Lexie as one of the contestants. They are even more surprised to see where her appearance leads.

It seemed like a good idea to Lexie at the time. Her plan was to appear on the reality show to get some free publicity for her doggie couture business, Yum Yum’s Closet (Really!), and the plan worked. Business is growing. So is Lexie’s panic at the idea of marrying a man she doesn’t love on national television. When her best friend offers to help her escape fifteen minutes before the wedding is scheduled to begin, Lexie agrees. She becomes a runaway bride, one that people throughout the country are looking for everywhere--except in Sandspit, British Columbia, Canada, the scheduled stop for the chartered floatplane that Lexie boards, thanks to another old friend who owns the plane.

Sean Knox has chartered a floatplane to Sandspit because it is the quickest way to get in and out of the small town where his mother lives. It is strictly a duty visit. After growing up the victim of his mother’s hypochondria until his uncle rescued him, he is inured to her announcements that her death is imminent. He certainly never expects the “emergency” passenger who keeps his plane waiting to be his coach’s daughter in a poufy wedding-dress and five-inch stilettos. It is surprising that she doesn’t recognize him as the newest trade on her father’s hockey team, but he is not about to tell her who he is.

Since Sean is the only person Lexie knows (sort of) in Sandspit, she nags him into having lunch with her and letting her visit his mother. Sean and Lexie don’t like each other much, but they do have undeniable chemistry. It is hardly a surprise that they agree on a one-night stand. Despite their belief that one night will be the end, no reader will be surprised that the tabloids are tipped off that the Getting Hitched no-show bride is arriving in Seattle. The world, or at least that significant part of it that follows Gettin’ Hitched, sees Lexie as a heartbreaker; her business is tanking from all the negative response. Just when it seems that she may salvage her reputation and her company, a tabloid photo of her with an unidentifiable Sean surfaces, and the hunt is on to discover the mystery man. Lexie’s not happy when she realizes Sean’s deception, but she hopes a fake “Lexie and Sean, the perfect couple” presentation will solve her image problems. But the complications are just beginning.

I love Simply Irresistible, and the younger Lexie Kowalsky is one of the reasons I do. I was super excited when I learned that The Art of Running in High Heels was her story. I’m sad to report that I liked her better as a kid than I did as an adult. The grown-up Lexie is still too much the wild child, too opportunistic, and too careless of others’ feelings to be a heroine for whom I could root without reservations. I particularly disliked her lies to her parents.

I didn’t like Sean much for the first part of the book, but he improves once the fake relationship begins. He is essentially a good guy with some baggage that has left him with unresolved issues. Considering that he is forced to lie to the man who is not only the father of his fake fiancée but also his coach—and one who is just beginning to view him more favorably—Sean earns points for his behavior. He and Lexie are opposites in some basic ways, and I remained skeptical that all those differences could be resolved happily. Sean’s epiphany came too quickly and with too little evidence that his reserve had been breached to make a believer of me.

Maybe I was expecting too much from this book. Maybe I have aged out of the audience for romance with a wild and crazy element. Regardless, although this is not a bad book, it just didn’t leave me with a desire to reread it and to read more Gibson the way that the first-generation Chinooks books did. My favorite parts of the novel were the scenes with John and Georgie.

If you read and enjoyed the earlier Chinook books, particularly Simply Irresistible, I recommend that you read this book. You may find it a worthier successor than I did. If you haven’t read Gibson but like hockey-star heroes or impetuous heroines with obvious flaws, this one may lead you to a massive glom. I’m not sorry I read The Art of Running in Heels, but I won’t be adding it to my Rachel Gibson keepers.


  1. My feelings, exactly, Janga! I loved SIMPLY IRRESISTIBLE, mostly because of John and Lexie. I re-read that book at least once a year. This one fell way short for me. I kept looking for more John and Georgie and less Lexie and Sean. That's a big red flag. LOL

    1. Great minds once again, Irish! LOL I wonder if we would have liked the new one more had we loved Simply Irresistible less.

  2. I don't read contemporary books However, I did want to say that I love your new look for the blog.

    1. Thanks, Diane! I've been playing around with it. I'm happy to hear you like it. :)

    2. You're welcome, PJ. It's really lovely, and draws the eye in immmediately.

  3. It is good to know I am not the only one. I loved the early Chinook books. But, I tried one of the more recent ones and simply could not get into it. You have pointed out to me, it is probably me who has changed. Thanks for this review.

  4. I loved reading Simply Irresistible! I've seen this book out there but it didn't make me feel like buying. Thanks for the heads up.

  5. I haven't read this one yet, but struggled with her previous one - not a Chinooks book. I loved the Chinook books and most all of Rachel Gibson's early books. Maybe, like you, I have changed and can't relate to her more recent ones. Thanks for the review.

  6. I bought this book primarily because I loved the earlier Chinook books. I've reread and still enjoyed See Jane Score and The Trouble with Valentine's Day as well as the Truly, Idaho stories. However, I was disappointed with this one. I don't think it's because I've changed though. Reality dating/wedding shows are appalling.

    Laura R