Chasing Perfect by Susan Mallery
Series: Fool's Gold #1
Also in this series: Almost Perfect, Finding Perfect
Published by Harlequin
Publication Date: June 15th 2012
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary
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Welcome to Fool's Gold, California, a charming community in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. There's lots to do and plenty of people to meet, especially women. Because there's just one tiny problem in Fool's Gold: the men don't seem to stick around. Maybe it's the lure of big-city life, or maybe it's plain old bad luck, but regardless of the reason, the problem has to be fixed, fast. And Charity Jones may be just the city planner to do it.
Charity's nomadic childhood has left her itching to settle down, and she immediately falls in love with all the storybook town has to offer—everything, that is, except its sexiest and most famous resident, former world-class cyclist Josh Golden. With her long list of romantic disasters, she's not about to take a chance on another bad boy, even if everyone else thinks he's perfect just the way he is. But maybe that's just what he needs—someone who knows the value of his flaws. Someone who knows that he's just chasing perfect.
This book started out very well. I loved the small town of Fool’s Gold and both the main characters. Charity has come to the small Northern California town to start over and grow some roots. Since her mother passed away she has no family and no real connections. She’s determined to change that when she takes over the job as city planner for Fool’s Gold.
Josh Golden is a retired professional bicyclist. He quit racing after he was traumatized by an accident. He’s Fool’s Gold’s resident Golden boy, but he’s hiding a secret..he can no longer race. This haunts him. He wants to get back to his old life, but he isn’t sure how he can do it.
Josh and Charity form a sort of friendship – with a major dose of attraction on each side – and as the novel progresses become closer and closer. They lean on each other and give to each other what no one else can. I really loved how they played off of each other and the slow progression of the relationship. I felt like they got to know each other, and we as the reader got to know them as well.
I also adored the town of Fool’s Gold and its inhabitants. I just spent a lovely week in Northern California and I could perfectly picture this town nestled up there. The secondary characters all added additional flavor, especially Marsha, Charity’s new boss, and Pia, the party planner (who I believe gets her book third).
The issue of the town being full of women and short on men could have crossed the line into too cheesy, but Charity’s reaction kept it just this side of silly. She mostly thought of it as a huge joke and kept waiting for the punch line. When she realized one wasn’t forthcoming, she good naturedly poked fun of the town for the problem. I thought that was handled well.
Sometimes the insecurities of the main characters bothered me, but I was able to set that aside for the most part and enjoy the story. Until the last 1/4 of the book or so. Then Charity starts making assumptions about Josh and his character based on..I’m not exactly sure what, misconceptions of his intentions and her own hangups I guess, and Josh acts like a complete and total moron. I was really loving the way the characters were falling in love and the progression of the story, along with the setting and secondary characters, but the end very nearly ruined it for me. The characters mostly redeemed themselves at the end, but their earlier actions left a bad taste in my mouth.
Despite my issues, I’m very much looking forward to the rest of the series and returning to the town of Fool’s Gold.
3.75 out of 5
This book is available from HQN. You can buy it here or here in e-format.