All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: Dirty by Kylie Scott

on April 26, 2016

DirtyDirty (Dive Bar #1)
Kylie Scott
Pan Macmillan AUS
2016, 275p
Copy courtesy of the publisher

Blurb {from the publisher/Goodreads.com}:

The last thing Vaughan Hewson expects to find when he returns to his childhood home is a broken hearted bride in his shower, let alone the drama and chaos that comes with her.

Lydia Green doesn’t know whether to burn down the church or sit and cry in a corner. Discovering the love of your life is having an affair on your wedding day is bad enough. Finding out it’s with his best man is another thing all together. She narrowly escapes tying the knot and meets Vaughan only hours later.

Vaughan is the exact opposite of the picture perfect, respected businessman she thought she’d marry. This former musician-turned-bartender is rough around the edges and unsettled. But she already tried Mr. Right and discovered he’s all wrong-maybe it’s time to give Mr. Right Now a chance.

After all, what’s wrong with getting dirty?

Every now and then, a book just ticks all the boxes you have. For me, Dirty was one of those books. From the very first page until the last, I was hooked. And even though it wasn’t perfect, it was written with flair and humour and I could utterly overlook things that might normally bother me a bit.

Lydia Green is about to get married – literally about to walk down the aisle. She’s wearing the big white dress and all. Then she’s sent a picture of her groom in a very compromising video clip with someone else – someone very unexpected as well. She flees over a fence and finds solace in the bathroom of a nearby house, sitting in the tub for hours….until Vaughan Hewson wants to take a shower.

Vaughan is at a crossroads and his return to his family home, a place that brings pain and bad memories, is supposed to be brief. When he finds a crying bride in his bathroom he offers her solace and security, drawing her into his world.

This book has one of the funniest ‘meet-cute’s I think I’ve ever read. Lydia is crouched in the bathroom and Vaughan arrives and is about to take a shower when, ripping back the curtain he encounters Lydia and Lydia encounters…. a part of Vaughan. I actually think that it’s quite hard to make a scene like that work and be hilarious and it’s a testament to Kylie Scott’s comedic timing and Lydia’s voice that this scene comes together in the way it does. I think Lydia has had enough shock for one day that encountering Vaughan in the buff just isn’t on her radar. She’s just….. matter of fact about the whole thing and for me, that was sheer brilliance.

Lydia has always gone the safe route before, wanting to be respectable and feel worthy. She was engaged to someone that she felt epitomised that, unable to see that the two of them had a relationship that was full of flaws and red flags from a long way out. Vaughan is definitely not the type of man that Lydia would normally go for – he’s a tattooed rocker who has left the road behind briefly and is working as a bartender for his sister. He’s also not particularly settled in life, longing to be back on the road, living a band life. For Lydia, who seems to crave precisely the opposite sort of life, it’s clear from the beginning that whilst there may be a simmering chemistry between them, there are some obstacles that make a long term option look a bit bleak.

But this is a romance, so not too bleak. Vaughan realises that sometimes, sacrifices need to be made and the thing you think makes you the happiest might not actually be. I really enjoyed the evolution of Vaughan and Lydia because it began with friendship. After her disastrous wedding day, he learns she has no where to go and so he offers her a place to stay, as long as she needs. They become friends, acknowledging the attraction between them but navigating it somewhat slowly which works for me. I really appreciate authors who take time to lay the groundwork for something long term, something that gives me a way to see how a couple will move through different stages of life and their relationship. I think Scott does a good job of this with Vaughan and Lydia.

As this is the first in a series, we’re introduced to Vaughan’s group of friends as well as his sister Nell, who runs the bar the series takes its name from. I found myself pretty invested in Nell’s story and I really hope she gets a book of her own. Her story plays out as a significant portion of this book and becomes more and more messy as this book goes on. Her and Pat though – I ended up so invested in them! They are intense and kind of make my heart break a little.

As firsts go, this one is a really good hook – for me, it was as good as Lick, the first in Scott’s other series and it vaguely crosses over here with a cameo appearance from one of the Stage Dive members. But it doesn’t need that, it stands well on its own. Vaughan is refreshingly free of douchebag behaviour, an interesting contradiction of bad boy looks but a tender heart. From the very first he’s understanding about Lydia and then helpful and protective and he’s really the way in which Lydia finds somewhere to belong.

Dirty is smart, sexy and very funny. Definitely a fave of mine for this year and it has me excited about the possibilities of future books.

9/10

Book #70 of 2016

AWWC2016

Dirty is the 25th book read for the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2016

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