Fit to Be Tied by Karen Kendall doesn’t begin like a conventional romance novel—it starts with a proposal. When Tom proposes to Jen, it should’ve been one of the happiest days of her life. But instead of ending the day having great monkey sex, Jen breaks the happy news to her parents just after they announce that they’re getting a divorce.
The story skips to the wedding where a frazzled Jen is trying her hardest to cope with various things going wrong on her big day—one of her shoes goes missing, her hair is horrible, she’s breaking out in hives … and Tom seems to be more than a little tipsy. But that’s nothing compared to discovering that Tom had been married before. And that his ex-wife is trying to crash the wedding party. And that he wasn’t actually divorced yet when he’d started dating Jen.
To cut a long story short, Jen decides she wants a divorce. While they’re on their honeymoon.
If you think the plot is ridiculous, that’s because it is. If it sounds a little funny, that’s also because it is—a little. I like the premise of the story. I think that Jen really does have personal issues and fears that could’ve motivated her to want out of the marriage so quickly. Unfortunately, the emotional honesty of the story often feels drowned out by the hijinks and attempts to get laughs from the reader. Jen comes across as so highly strung and unable to properly communicate with Tom that it’s difficult to understand what Tom sees in her.
At the same time, Tom’s character isn’t fleshed out enough for me, and in that sense, Fit to Be Tied has a bit of a chick-lit feel to it. Tom tries to explain why he kept his first marriage a secret and why he was drunk at the wedding, but he isn’t really made to do much more than apologise to Jen. It’s as if her flakiness is supposed to excuse his behaviour, and to me, it wasn’t enough, especially when he’s mostly drunk throughout the honeymoon and at times acts like a total prick.
All that said, the story gets a little less shrill and bit more enjoyable in the second half of the book when Jen and Tom start talking a bit more rationally, and when they start to show some real emotion and vulnerability.
He moved into the corner of the couch and pulled her back against him while he listened. Unfortunately, his hands started to roam. Worse, it felt wonderful. She couldn’t allow this to happen again.
Jen grabbed his hand and held them still. “Don’t, please,” she whispered. “It’s too confusing. Can’t we … can’t we just be friends?”
Tom remained still for a long moment. Then he disentangled himself from her and stood up. “No.” He shook his head. “No, babe. We can’t be friends. It’s not in me to be friends with you. It’s all or nothing, Jen. You have to make a choice.”
She stood up, too, and pressed a hand over her mouth so she wouldn’t bawl. “I’m sorry,” she said. “I shouldn’t have called you. I’m really sorry.”
He closed his eyes and rubbed the back of his neck. “Yeah. Please don’t do it again. I can’t say no to you … and it’s not fair.”
The story is supported by a cast of characters who, while at times interesting, sometimes competed too much for attention. I would’ve liked a few more quiet moments between Jen and Tom, and a bit more self-awareness on Jen’s part. The ending where they reconnect and communicate and rediscover gentleness around each other is actually quite lovely, and I wish there’d been a little more of it throughout the novel.
A note on the cover. The copy I read has a quote from Nicole Jordan on the front, and the Carly Phillips quote is on the back just above the blurb.
Where you can buy this book
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