STARRED REVIEW
January 29, 2019

Three Little Words

By Ashley Rhodes-Courter
Review by

Nothing says romance like a crowded, grimy airport, right? Throw in a winter storm, cascading flight cancellations and snarky, utterly unhelpful desk agents and you’ve got the perfect recipe for, well, maybe not a meet cute, but at the very least, a meet desperate. And desperate is exactly what fashion model Gia Gallo is when her flight—scheduled to take her from snow swept New York to sunny, beachy Florida for the wedding of one of her closest friends—is called off.

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Nothing says romance like a crowded, grimy airport, right? Throw in a winter storm, cascading flight cancellations and snarky, utterly unhelpful desk agents and you’ve got the perfect recipe for, well, maybe not a meet cute, but at the very least, a meet desperate. And desperate is exactly what fashion model Gia Gallo is when her flight—scheduled to take her from snow swept New York to sunny, beachy Florida for the wedding of one of her closest friends—is called off.

Riding (reluctantly) to her rescue is restauranteur Bennett Buchanan, best man at the wedding and also ticketed on the flight that was cancelled. He’s not happy about the flight, or the weather, or Gia in general. (The way she chewed out the guy at the ticket counter made a lousy first impression.) But his personal code, burned into him through hard lessons in his younger years, won’t let him leave her stranded. It starts as a strained compromise—literally “any port in a storm”—when he offers her somewhere to stay for the night. It leads into a tentative partnership when their shifting travel plans result in them renting a car to drive the rest of the way. It develops into respect and appreciation as they get to know each other better and see different sides of each other. And then, through shared meals and shared confidences and plenty of shared intimacies, it blossoms into something more.

The roadmap for the story is pretty straightforward. Hollywood has been making bank for the past century or so on the idea of seemingly mismatched couples finding love on a road trip. But as with any really worthwhile voyage, the destination matters less than the journey along the way. And this journey shows some lovely thoughtfulness and insight in the places where Holiday pauses to reevaluate the characters and dig deeper into what’s made them who they are. I’d have liked the story to go even further—it only skims the surface on bigger issues, like the sexual harassment that’s par for the course in the fashion industry, or the way that toxic privilege encourages spoiled rich kids to become the worst possible versions of themselves. But I understand that at the end of the day, this story has a goal of Happily Ever After to reach, and it can’t linger too long at any of the stops along the way. And since that HEA is reached with warmth, humor, steamy interludes, excellent friendships and really delicious-sounding food, I couldn’t bring myself to mind.

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Three Little Words

Three Little Words

By Ashley Rhodes-Courter
Atheneum
ISBN 9781416948063

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