This is a loose adaptation of The Taming of the Shrew. Edie, the shrew, is an animal behaviorist, helping people with their cats. It doesn’t pay well, and she adopts almost every unwanted cat she sees, so she is practically a stereotypical cat lady. But as she sees it, “Just because girls happened to like cats didn’t mean they were hideous unloveable creatures.” Because of a ski accident, she has a busted up knee, so she wears orthopedic shoes and limps and has to sit and stretch her leg a lot. Her beautiful sister, Bianca, acts as Edie’s assistant and driver.
Edie’s friend Gretchen (a heroine from another book) is getting married, and Edie is in the wedding party, so she has to attend a pre-wedding dinner. Bianca drives them to a swanky mansion and immediately tries to land herself a man. Edie, meanwhile, overhears guys being jerks about cat ladies, and she gives them her best bitchy glare.
Then comes the setup: Bianca wants Levi, a software billionaire. She specifically wants him to chase her, and she claims that she can’t leave dear Edie’s side. Levi gets his brother, Magnus, to adopt a mean cat and then hire Edie to help him. While Edie and Magnus are busy with the cat, Bianca and Levi will get busy with other things.
Magnus was one of the jerks at the wedding party. He’s also a billionaire, having recently sold a video game that’s taking over the world. He likes to spend money just to make sure that other people know he has money. Edie does not care about any of this. She mainly wonders why he’s brought a cat into a boring home that doesn’t have any hiding places or soft surfaces.
So, I liked Magnus, mainly. He’s kind of stupid about letting his brother use him like this, but he knows it’s stupid, and he does eventually put a stop to it. He doesn’t have a billionaire attitude, one that would say “I have money, therefore you must fall at my feet.” He’s not a demanding alpha, although at one point he does apologize for feeling protective of Edie. He’s also very considerate of her knee, and doesn’t resent her physical limitations.
I have mixed feelings about Edie, though. I know she’s purposefully bitchy, and hard to love. I guess I don’t need to love her as long as I understand why Magnus loves her, right? But I feel that, as a reader, I’m supposed to be on her side. I liked that she liked cats, and I understood that her leg pain made her grumpy. But I also thought that she was really stupid about her sister. She was so smart and tough, but she allowed herself to be utterly dependent on someone whom she didn’t really like or respect, and that felt sad and dangerous to me.
Also, let’s talk about this:
She was just as normal as the last girl. Maybe a bit bitchier, but it was because people like Levi tried to offer her a wheelchair and everyone else acted like she was the jerk for being offended.
That’s the mindset that I can’t identify with, and maybe it’s because I’ve never had a physical disability. But she gets offended when someone offers her a wheelchair? Is it a pride thing? Has she been offered so many wheelchairs in her life that she just can’t handle one more offer? Is she raging against the presumption that as a woman she has to be polite to people, even when she’s tired and she doesn’t want to? Is the wheelchair offer her version of someone telling me to smile?
So I don’t get that, but Magnus understands. And that’s love, I guess.
The ending of the book has a lot of nice cat moments, and Magnus is head over heels devoted to her, which is really sweet. I hope they’re happy together.
*ARC provided by InterMix
Click to purchase: Amazon
The Taming of the Billionaire
by Jessica Clare
Release Date: July 21, 2015