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150 of 155 found the following review helpful:
A wonderful story, uplifting and heartwarming!Nov 04, 2000
By Barbara Deane
Just the Way You Are by Barbara Freethy Review by Barb Deane, Barb's All Romance Book Store
Avon author Barbara Freethy's November release is entitled Just the Way You Are. It is her seventh contemporary romance for Avon and definitely my favorite so far. Here's our review:
Allison and Tessa are sisters, only two years apart, whose parents were killed in an auto accident when they were still young. After the accident, the girls move to Tucker's Landing, a small town on the Oregon coast to live with their aunt Phoebe. And next door to Phoebe lives the town founders, including the proverbial boy-next-door, Sam Tucker.
From the moment they met, Sam and Tessa are best friends, inseparable and in love. Unfortunately, Allison also falls in love with Sam from the moment she sees him and is constantly chasing after Tessa and Sam, trying to keep up and fit in. The fact that beautiful Tessa is stunningly beautiful and begins a modeling career at an early age doesn't help Allie's increasing feelings of inferiority.
When Sam and Tessa were twenty, he intended to propose at Christmas. Tessa, however, takes a modeling job over the holidays and doesn't go home to Tucker's Landing. So, when a drunken Sam falls in bed with Allie and makes a baby, Tessa is crushed and furious with them both. When Sam tells her he is marrying Allie, Tessa leaves town and doesn't return until Aunt Phoebe has a stroke, nine years later.
However, when Tessa gets to town, she learns that Sam is back living in his parents' old house next to Phoebe, because Allie has kicked him out and asked for a divorce. No longer willing to live with a man who doesn't even tell her that he loves her, but only married her because she was pregnant, Allie cannot get past her feelings of playing second fiddle to Tessa. And with super model Tessa back in town and in Sam's arms, tempers flare and accusations fly.
Barbara Freethy has crafted a beautiful and emotionally satisfying story in Just the Way You Are. I was immediately drawn into these people's lives and was unwilling to let them go until I had finished the story. The secondary characters are compelling and perfectly compliment the emotional attachment and age-old pain that Sam and Allie have to deal with in order to decide what to do with their future. I cannot recommend this book enough - it is a lovely story that will touch your heart.
44 of 46 found the following review helpful:
Worth spending a few bucks on...Jan 05, 2001
The best romance novels are the ones that do not follow formula (at least in every aspect). Barbara Freethy has always been good at making her characters a little more realistic and a little less cookie-cutter. It is a great relief to find someone who does. This story is very well done. None of the characters is a saint, all have insecurities and doubts, and each is very flawed. Sam does treat his wife badly-he doesn't appreciate her and blames her for his life turning out different than he had planned. He sees himself as a martyr. He and Tessa are still holding a torch for one another. And Alli doesn't take it like a grown-up. She acts like a real person would to the same situation: angry, bitter and hurt (not just hurt). She doesn't just walk off to let Sam be happy-she goes about making it miserable about it. I really like this about her. Its probably what I would do...because she isn't perfect. The book works well, most of the tears were shed for the sisters relationship-not Alli and Sam's... but theres was well drawn, too. You won't be disappointed.
45 of 48 found the following review helpful:
Passible romance, interesting conceptJul 29, 2004
I wish I could give this 3.5 stars because it really is an above average romance read. Freethy has a way with descriptions and her characters were believeable and sympathetic. The concept of the book--two sisters who believe they love the same man--was also intriguing.
The book flounders, however, in the plot resolution. The dramatic set up is strong: After 8 years of small town marriage, Alli Tucker has separated from her much loved husband Sam, because she's tired of having never heard the words, "I love you" come out of his mouth. She also believes Sam has never gotten over his adolescent love for her beautiful, super-model, globe-trotting older sister, Tessa, the woman Alli "stole" Sam from 8 years before.
When Alli and Tessa's grandmother suffers a stroke, Tessa returns to the small town she fled 8 years before and the dramatic conflict begins. Alli still desperately loves Sam but is no longer willing to be what she believes is "second place" in his heart. Tessa is hearing her biological clock ticking and is having regrets she didn't stay with Sam when she had the chance all those years before. Sam is torn between his familial commitment to Alli and their daughter Megan, the child conceived as a result of Alli's seduction of him 8 years before, and the memories of his unfulfilled love for the gorgeous Tessa.
Freethy deftly shows the confused and conflicted emotions of all three characters. Her portrayal of the deep feelings between Sam and Alli is particularly good, but the conflict went on too long. That's all the novel really was, a continuing play on this love triangle that had the characters saying the same things to each other over and over again. It's also obvious very early in the story what the outcome is going to be and who is going to end up with whom.
Even so, this is a well written and engaging read. It's the first Freethy I've read and I'm tempted to try another, hopefully with a bit more developed plot, based on this one's strengths.
34 of 38 found the following review helpful:
This book is a bit depressing...Dec 16, 2011
I bought the book because it got a lot of high reviews from other buyers
but I don't know maybe there is something wrong with me because I hated the book.
Sam, Tessa, and Alli grew up together. Sam and Tessa were apparently madly inlove
but during a Christmas break when Tessa decided not to come home Sam got
drunk and slept with Alli. Nine years later Alli and Sam are married and have
a little girl the product of that night. At this point Tessa is a famous model
and one day Alli finds a box full of pictures of Tessa among Sam's possessions.
Tired of being in love with a man that will forever love her sister Alli files for
a divorce. During all this drama Tessa and Alli's grandma is hospitalized due to health issues and Tessa has to come back home. Her return causes a lot of issues for Sam and Alli.
Let me tell you why I hated this book... Spoilers
I hated Sam through out the book he is just whining and complaining about
how much he loved Tessa and how Alli ruined his life and Tessa's. Get over it
it was nine years ago you have a beautiful daughter. So when he acts all fatherly towards his daughter it is kind of hardto believe he loves her so much when he hates the mistake he did nine years ago.
I also hated Tessa OMG she was such a Bitcha throughout the book. Okay so your
sister stole your bf I can't believe you are this awesome model and you have not
found the "one" because Sam was it. Tessa acts awful towards Alli the entire book you just hate her.
I feel bad for Alli but come on woman I just couldn't help hating her a little
also. She spent nine years of her life trying to get this guy to love her and not Tessa.She comes off as an idiot for always being there for a man who has never treated her with love.
Finally, what I hated most is that at some point Sam and Tessa decide to give
their relationship a go during a sailing trip. They talk, kiss and whine a lot together about how they wish things would be different. This did not feel like the novel was trying to bring Alli and Sam together it felt more like a Sam and Tessa's love story. And then when everything is over the author tries to excuse
everything by writing about how Tessa and Sam were drifting apart nine years
ago so they would have broken up anyways. What???????? Then why the heck is all
this drama taking place? Why are they still trying to get together? Ugh so in
conclusion it is up to you if you buy it but honestly i wouldn't recommend it
to any of my friends.
9 of 9 found the following review helpful:
Fabulous!!Jun 19, 2003
By R. Plaza-Gotay
Alli has loved Sam all her life. Sam has loved Tessa (Alli's sister) since they were children. Tessa and Sam were an item back in high school, and Alli always ended up as the 3rd wheel.
Then Tessa, the beauty of the sisters, is offered the opportunity of a lifetime to go modeling and she takes it leaving Sam by himself with a broken heart and a lot of alcohol. Alli took the chance she had been waiting for all her life, and comforted Sam in ways she had only dreamed of.
9 years later and Alli and Sam are unhappily married with a child that came from that night of broken hearts and alcohol.
Sam seems to resent Alli for tying him up to a life he never asked for (however he adores his daughter), but has grown accostumed to.
Alli, on the other hand, is sick and tired of being the cause of so much unhappines in Sam's life and to add insult to serious injury, she finds out that Sam has not forgotten Tessa after all this years and actually keeps wondering of what his life would have been with her in it, and without Alli and Megan (their daughter) in it. So she decides to set Sam free, even if it hurts her like crazy.
No, dont think she does it for the noble reasons, she is sick of loving Sam with all her heart while all this time he has never told her that he loves her, or anything similar for that matter.
Now, Sam is confused, and angry at Alli for separating him from his family and most importantly his daughter, after he has finally resigned himself to that life, but no matter what, Alli is not backing down. She is sure she deserves a man that loves her back, and she doesn't want to keep on going with her life without ever having experienced that feeling.
To add a nice twist to the story, Alli and Tessa's gradma suffer a stroke and Tessa and Alli must now face each other after 9 years of emotional injuries, hatred and tons and tons of resentmet.
The story is simply beautiful and so beleivable. I was so enthralled in the story that I simply could not put it down and had to finish it that same day I got it.
Alli is a real wounded woman and simpathizing with her is so easy, even when she is behaving like a child. And how could you not after putting yourself in her shoes, however, she takes control of things most of the time and does the right thing as well.
Tessa is not as likeable as Alli, but she is not hateable by any chance. You can see her point and understand why she is seeking for a second chance with Sam, the man she thought was meant for her, before her sister came crashing into her relationship.
Sam is a great man, he's so very real and palpable.
Overall the story is impossible to put down. It's funny, heartwarming, sincere, bealivable, sad and beautiful. I highly recomend it. My only complaint is that I wish the epilogue had been longer and gone into more detail!!
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