Rowena’s review of Crush on You by Christie Ridgway.
Hero: Penn Bennett
Heroine: Alessandra Baci
The Baci sisters are on a mission to save the winery that’s been in their family for generations-by transforming it into the perfect wedding destination. If only Alessandra Baci-affectionately known as the “Nun of Napa”-didn’t need the help of tempting neighbor and business rival Penn Bennett.
I’m a big contemporary fan. I love contemporary books, they’re my favorite. I’ve never tried any Christie Ridgway books even though Holly really enjoyed her Knitting series. I picked up this book thinking that I was going to love it.
Only I didn’t.
This book got on every frickin’ nerve that I have in my body. It found every nerve that I have and pounced right on it.
This book follows Alessandra Baci as she tries to fulfill her father’s dying request to save the family winery. Her father wanted her and her two sisters to come together to save the family business and she took it seriously because she loved the family business. It was a part of their family history and she wanted to save it.
The neighboring family, the Bennett’s are silent partners in the Baci family business and even though their father is long gone, they’re are two sons, 1 illegitimate son and 1 illegitimate daughter left to run their side of things. The illegitimate son, Penn Bennett is the hero of the book. He’s a Ty Pennington kind of guy where he’s the handy man on a TV show that specializes in helping out less fortunate families with building up their houses.
Anyway so we’ve got the dying wish of a father to his daughters, a new son coming to “claim” his inheritance and a whole lot of emotional issues going on between the hero and the heroine. The heroine is dubbed The Napa Nun because she doesn’t date and hasn’t since Tommy, her ex-fiance. Penn is that Billy Bad Ass who should be considered an asshole but you let him slide on a lot of asshole-ish behavior because he’s so hot dang charming. They’re thrust together when Alessandra seems to be the only person that actually wants to save the business and Penn decides to help her out even though he has no idea why he wants to help her out.
Penn is the only man since Tommy that has actually made Allie want to get back out there and she doesn’t like it one bit because she doesn’t care for Penn at all since he’s an egotistical jerk. Penn doesn’t have a clue why he’s so drawn to the woe is me little girl who has the entire town of Edenville wrapped around her little finger which is something he detests in women. He hates women who prey on suckers and fools because he aint no sucker and he aint no fool even though he got fooled and he got suckered in by a pretty face already but no more.
There’s also a secondary love story between Tommy’s sister, Clare and Allie’s cousin, Gil. Clare and Gil have been best friends since grade school and Gil is super in love with Clare but Clare is getting married to Jordan. I had such huge problems with this storyline that I wanted to hurl this book at the wall so many different times while I was reading it. I mean, you’ve you got your best friend who’s not just your best friend but the woman that you’re in love with and you’re supposed to be this big Italian stallion kind of guy who’s overprotective of her and what not but you see her fiance’ swapping spit with some other chick and you’re with your best friend and you don’t go over to the bench that her fiance’ is at and kick his ass for cheating on your woman? What the hell is wrong with you? What kind of stallion are you that you won’t stand up for your best friend? Why the hell wouldn’t you get up and whoop his ass? Why would you give him a chance to make things right with your best friend? You see someone cheating on your best friend, you don’t wait for them to fess up, especially if you’re a guy. You march your happy ass over to the clown, kick his ass because that’s not the kind of man you want your best friend to marry. If he cheated on her once and hurt her, he’s supposed to be dunzo. But does Gil do any of that? Oh no, he just rages on the inside and then ditches the dinner plans he had with her and her fiance’ because he doesn’t want to face the fiance or lie to the best friend.
Bull shit, you little you know what you are.
Then there’s Penn and Allie.
Allie is the happy nun of Napa but she’s not really happy because she wants to move on with her life but she doesn’t want to disappoint everyone because everyone treats her kiddy gloves because Tommy was the local town hero and his mother won’t let Allie move on without making her feel guilty.
Penn is the only person who treats her like a woman and she likes it even though she shouldn’t. Allie was so wishy washy about Penn at first that it was kind of annoying but over the course of their romance, I got over it because they were cute together. They bicker and they argue but it’s undeniable that they’re hot for each other and Penn is one sexy stud so I could totally see myself throwing myself at him no matter how bad I thought he was for me.
The thing about these two was that they were both conflicted individuals. Penn had issues trusting women because of issues that stemmed from the way that his Dad left his Mom to raise him all alone. Growing up, Penn and his Mom were always broke and he went out of his way to help his Mom starting at a really young age while his brothers had their Dad’s money to make life easier. It would have been easier for Penn to hold a grudge over his brothers but meeting them and getting to know them made him realize that they didn’t get away without being dicked over by their Dad and seeing them become brothers was nice.
Allie wants to move on from her ex but the entire town is making it hard for her. The one leading the don’t get over Tommy train is Tommy’s mother and Allie doesn’t have the heart to move on without hurting her so she doesn’t. Until Penn comes into her life and she finds herself not being able to help herself where he’s around.
I liked Penn, his asshole-ishness didn’t take away from his likability. He was who he was and he made no excuses for himself. He didn’t care if you liked him or not, he was still going to be the Penn he was.
I didn’t hate Allie but I didn’t exactly like her either. She’s a smart woman, she gets what she wants and she works hard but what I didn’t like about her was the single-minded way she thought when it came to saving the winery. Her actions regarding that, the lengths she went to save the family business left a really bad taste in my mouth. I wanted to punch her in the face toward the end so many different times because first and foremost in her mind was saving the winery. Even after she realized that she loved Penn and knew that the only way to save the winery was to use Penn the way she did…I kept thinking, she’s not going to do it. She’s not going to go through with it because she loves him.
AND SHE DID! SHE WENT THROUGH WITH IT!
I may not have liked Allie very much throughout the book but at the end of the book, I hated the bitch. She didn’t deserve Penn and she didn’t deserve his love because she was selfish and she threw his love for her in his face and made him the one thing that he swore he would never be: a fool and what does Penn do? She says a few nice things about him in public and he caves to her? Everything is all peachy and hunky dory? Yeah right. I needed more than a declaration of love in public. It was all too nice and too easy of a closeout that it was totally anti-climatic for me. The same with Clare and Gil. She finds out that Gil knew about the fiance cheating on her and didn’t say anything and all Gil had to say is, “But I love you” and everything was right in the world.
I just couldn’t like this book. All of the misunderstandings and the stupidity between characters became too much and by the end of the book I wanted to hit something…not the kind of reaction I like to get from books so I’m giving this one a 2. There were things that made me laugh and things that made me saw awwww but those things didn’t save the ending and the actions of the characters.
Grade: 2 out of 5
This book is available from Berkley. You can buy it here or here in e-format.