A week before her best friend’s wedding in Florida, Gia is stranded in New York with the wedding dress. Also with her is Bennett, the best man at the same wedding, who is carrying the wedding rings. A winter storm has cancelled flights for the next few days, so they decide to road trip the journey instead.
I love Jenny Holiday’s Bridesmaids Behaving Badly series, and I’m sad that Three Little Words is the final title. I absolutely love this quartet of friends — Jane, Wendy, Elise and Gia — and their unswerving loyalty and devotion to each other makes me nostalgic for my best friends back in the Philippines. Jenny Holiday is so good at depicting female friendship, and I love that the climaxes of all the books involve all the friends (and in this book, even the significant others from earlier in the series!) coming together to support the main character and nudge them towards their happily ever afters.
Jenny Holiday is also extremely gifted at combining sexy with sweet with funny, and somehow manages to craft a very emotional, complex, moving romance that still maintains a lighthearted, somewhat comedic feel throughout. Gia Gallo isn’t the type of heroine I usually relate to — she’s tall, super beautiful, and a successful model — but Holiday makes her feel so real that I can almost see myself in her while reading.
Gia is a few days away from turning 30, and beginning to realize that she may soon become too old for the modelling jobs she enjoys. As the story begins, she has just completed a photo shoot where she couldn’t fit into the clothes assigned to her, so she had to wear a less fashionable design intended for older women, while her original outfit was reassigned to a younger, thinner model. First: awesome that Holiday calls out the fashion industry for designing for young and thin women. Gia’s turning 30 and wears either a size 2 or a size 4, so she’s definitely not old nor plus-size, so it’s telling that she’s already struggling to meet the fashion industry’s standards.
But also, while I may not be able to relate to the struggles of being a model, I can certainly relate to being 30 and having mini-crises of faith about my career choices. I can definitely relate to Gia’s fear that the one thing she’s always been good at (in her case, looking beautiful) may no longer be good enough, and that she can be so easily replaced by equally beautiful rivals who have their whole careers still ahead of them. Gia’s afraid she may have reached the pinnacle of her career, and has no idea what she can do next, and more to the point, what she’s actually capable and qualified to do next. As with so many Jenny Holiday books, I read this, and feel so heard.
I also love Bennett, the chef with a checkered past and a heart of gold, who wants to someday open up a community kitchen to feed persons living in poverty. Living in New York City makes it difficult to save up enough, so for now, he runs a Pay-What-You-Can night every Thursday at his five-star restaurant, and basically gives away fancy, five-star meals for close-to-free. Like, how can you not love this man?
I especially love how kind and caring he is with Gia. In particular, when she admits to him that she “has issues with food,” he doesn’t judge her or get on her case about eating more, but rather simply cooks delicious meals and lets her eat (or not eat) as she chooses. I also love how he sees potential in her that she doesn’t realize herself, and knows how kickass she can be at a career shift.
And finally, the best part about Bennett is that for all his do-gooder traits, he’s not perfect. He has a wild past that has estranged him from his parents, and so a lot of his good deeds are motivated by somewhat selfish reasons, as he tries to assuage his guilt over stuff he’s done before. Gia and Bennett help make each other better, and are super sweet together. They also have incredible chemistry. I’ve always loved Jenny Holiday’s steamy scenes, and the ones in this book are fantastic.
Three Little Words is probably my second favourite of the series (my all-time favourite is still the novella Merrily Ever After). It’s a wonderful, fitting conclusion, and brings back all the characters we’ve come to know and love, while still giving Gia and Bennett their full due at a love story.
Thank you to Forever Romance and Netgalley for an egalley of this book in exchange for an honest review.