Katerina Wilmot and Christopher Petruchio shared backyards as kids, but as adults they won’t even share the same hemisphere. That is, until Kate makes a rare visit home, and their fiery animosity rekindles into a raging inferno.
Despite their friends’ and families' pleas for peace, Christopher is unconvinced Kate would willingly douse the flames of their enmity. But when a drunken Kate confesses she’s only been hostile because she thought he hated her, Christopher vows to make peace with Kate once and for all. Tempting as it is to be swept away by her nemesis-turned-gentleman, Kate isn’t sure she can trust his charming good-guy act.
When Christopher’s persistence and Kate’s curiosity lead to an impassioned kiss, they realize “peace” is the last thing that will ever be possible between them. As desire gives way to deeper feelings, Kate and Christopher must decide if it’s truly better to hate than to never risk their hearts—or if they already gave them away long ago.
Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew is not exactly the easiest play to modernize, what with the spanking and well, rudely sexist pall the entire story seems to have. Nevermind that “shrewish” behavior in women is still a thing that is perceived negatively by men and women, even though most shrewish behavior is really, just human behavior and even now, we’re more willing to excuse a bad temper in men than we are with women. *waves fist at the Patriarchy* But Chloe did give it the old college try–and all in all, it was not a bad re-telling of this comedy.
Chloe did take the time to share the nuances of each of the leads, showing vulnerabilities that I don’t think easily show in the original. Sure, Kate might be shrewish–but she has every right to be; and she’s saddled with angst and fear as she struggles to fit in with her family. Christopher can also be shrewish and judgmental–which secondary characters call out thankfully–leading to Christopher taking a longer look at himself to see if he’s the problem. He is. In his effort to keep Kate at a distance, he’s created his biggest enemy–and now he realizes she is like this because she thinks he hates her. Well, obviously he doesn’t hate her. Quite the opposite. That’s why he’s been acting like a complete prat. How could she think he hates her?
Enemies-turned-lovers is a challenging trope in my opinion. Mainly because it can be so fun to make the fights between them–but the clean up can be monumental. And I always am a bit suspect at the level of forgiveness I could have for someone who called me names or made me feel like shit about myself. But I know Jane Austen set that bar high in making the enemies-to-lovers an ideal in romance. All considered, Chloe does a fair job at having the characters clean up the messes they’ve made and make a clean slate going forward, stronger together.
What I think really holds this book together is all the delightful secondary characters who each in their own way mentor and hold up mirrors to the main leads so they can grow as individuals and as a couple. There’s also a lot of donuts and a love for Fall-themed snacks, which I admit was delicious to read. And Christopher knows how to make pasta from scratch–so there’s a little “Ghost-scene-at-the-pottery-wheel” with Kate and Christopher that is delightful. Best of all, both characters find a sense of home and belonging that they had both been missing…and that is the best happy ending of all.
I will also be going back to read the first of the books too because the secondary characters were so good. It’s a retelling of Much Ado About Nothing–which is my favorite of the enemies-to-lovers trope, and features Kate’s sister, Bea. And there seems to be an upcoming story about Juliet–huzzah!--though the play seems to be a Midsummer’s Night Dream (which considering how Romeo and Juliet ends, probably for the best.) At any rate, there’s plenty of great stories here for your TBR piles!