REVIEW: “Look the Part” by Jewel E. Ann

Before reading “Look the Part” I was already a big fan of Jewel E. Ann.  She’s an author I discovered with “When Life Happened” in May 2017.  That book knocked me for a loop not even halfway through and I couldn’t put it down.  I laughed out loud, cried and yelled, “WHAT THE… WHY?”  I was blown away and wondered if this was a fluke.  I immediately read another book.  Again I found myself sitting riveted behind another Jewel E Ann book.  Laughing like a loon one moment then calling my daughter to console me over one sentence that absolutely broke me.  I loved every minute and every word on the page.  Then I girded my loins and binged away a weekend that almost killed me, with the Jack and Jill trilogy.  Followed immediately with the spin off “One” which kind-of-has-to be read after the Jack and Jill trilogy.

Believe it or not this big wind up does me lead to “Look the Part”.  Because the curmudgeonly Hero Flint Hopkins appears in “One”; all grumpy, rude, curt, yet with a soft gooey center.  His “only friend” is the books Hero who you meet briefly in “Look the Part”.  However the plot is set up for “Look the Part” at the end of “One”.  Jewel E. Ann might be a good fit for fans of Colleen Hoover.  Both authors tackle tough subject matter with deft touches and heaping helpings of humor.  Jewel E. Ann packs some steamy sex in her books thereby tagging all the bases with her Grand Slams.  The Heroine in “Look the Part” is tough, kind, vulnerable, a survivor, and a nurturer.  Ellen Rodgers’s quirky, intelligent, serves up witty banter, and is an Olympic level “button-pusher”.  Flint is wound tight, so it’s immensely gratifying.

The large cast of characters is chockfull of personality.  Flint starts out as a grumpy, regimented, attorney who’s set in his ways.  He fires his extremely competent and sassy secretary Amanda daily.  Flint’s twelve-year-old son Harrison is autistic.  He’s socially awkward with little patience for things he deems arbitrary.  In addition to his Aspersers-induced social issues he’s a typical prickly pre-teen boy.  Elle blows into Flint’s life and for once he hasn’t done his research.  Elle’s a music therapist and she’s renting her office from him.  Apparently he doesn’t realize instrument-playing would be involved in the therapy sessions of a music therapist.  Flint can’t handle banging drums and screech-like-singing happening over his office and immediately informs Elle he’s evicting her.  Harrison didn’t get Flint’s football-playing-gene but he did get one for music.  Soon they discover that Harrison is a guitar prodigy and he almost instantly bonds with Elle.

These two main characters dwell in their own special sections of Hell before meeting.  Their experiences are very different as are the paths they took to get there.  Flint is a recovering alcoholic.  One night he got behind the wheel, with his wife and a two-year-old Harrison in the car after drinking.  It was raining and he wrecked the car.  It was Flint’s “only friend” Cage Monaghan who got Harrison out of the car.  Unfortunately Flint’s wife was trapped and didn’t survive.  Flint feels that being a single father to a child with autism is part of his punishment for living.  Until now he’s only been living his life for Harrison.  That is until a constantly humming, button-pushing, musical dynamo invades his office building, and his life.  Making things more complicated Harrison claims Elle as “his friend”.  He doesn’t condone the idea of Flint wanting to date Elle at all.

The Special Section of Hell Elle dwelled in is even more twisted.  Elle was married to an adventurer and lived a carefree and almost nomadic life.  Then tragedy struck her husband was caught in an avalanche.  He survived but lost most of his hands.  He never touched Elle again and didn’t want her to touch him either.  It reminded him of the hands he lost.  Elle lived without touch for two years of her marriage and endured emotional abuse before her husband divorced her.  Her father, a tailor, whose father was tailor is all she has left in the world.  But he lives in Cape Cod while she now lives in Minnesota.

Flint’s parents and Elle’s father plain significant role’s and they are equal parts lovable, hilarious, wise, and touching.  Elle has five pet rats; four are named after classic composers.  The fifth and only female is a hairless rat named Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta – Lady Gaga.  This rat enjoys watching humans having sex…as does Elle’s grandmother.  But that’s something you should read.  Harrison’s a big fan of Elle’s rat babies; the very meticulous Flint … not-so-much.  Flint and Elle’s main conflict is he stubbornly wants to evict her.  She tries her best to manipulate, reason, and finagle a way to stay but Flint’s adamant.  It seems every time Elle has a new office catastrophe strikes and she has to stay longer.  Flint and Elle do start dating and although Harrison wants “sex to be off the table” it’s very much on.  A family emergency calls Elle to Cape Cod indefinitely.

The fact Elle has to leave is very difficult for Harrison and Flint who realizes he just found love again.  Flint breaks things off – full-stop; “cold turkey”, because it hurts so much to let Elle go.  However Harrison and Flint’s secretary Amanda are still in touch with Elle.  It’s Flint’s clever and feisty secretary in tandem with his father’s words-of-wisdom that make Flint “Go Get The Girl”.  Well that and some typical Jewel E. Ann plot hijinks.

“Look the Part” is a fabulous example of the magic that is Jewel E. Ann’s writing.  It’s sexy, hilarious, poignant, heartrending, and riveting.  I literally had to stop reading to go to the bathroom so I wouldn’t pee my pants.  Then another point I had to set the book down to cry.  Because one of the character’s “Special Place in Hell” hit me too close to home.  What’s amazing is I go through this with almost every Jewel E. Ann book.  I must say that “Look the Part” has the most amazing and engaging cast of characters.  They simply shine.  The twists aren’t the twistiest of her books.  However they are definitely there and their resolutions are clever and satisfying.  Within less than a year Jewel E. Ann has become a definite binge-worthy, One-Click author for my e-reader.  “Look the Part” is compelling, charming, and a red-hot read!

I’m giving “Look the Part” 5 Lightning Bolts and a Storm Warning.

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This novel was provided, voluntarily read, and honestly reviewed.

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