Ellora's Cave / April 16, 2014 / $5.95 digital
When Alice Evans finds a bona fide movie star on the floor of her living room, she has no idea what to do. Ordinary men are frightening enough, never mind someone as famous and frankly gorgeous as Holden Stark.
However, once she realizes that Holden is suffering behind that famous facade, she knows she has to help. He needs someone like her to give him a taste of sweetness and desire and love. He needs normality. The only problem is—Alice is hiding a secret that is far from normal. In fact, her name isn’t even Alice at all.
And once Holden finds out, the intense connection they are just beginning to build may well be torn apart.
Beyond Repair is hands down my favorite Charlotte Stein book so far. Period. We are introduced to Alice, a 20-year-old, hermit by the beach, as she encounters heartthrob Holden Stark, a.k.a. Captain Amazing. Stein has created a great timid-girl-meets-messed-up-movie-star story. The title, Beyond Repair, does not just apply to the messed-up movie star hero, but also the painfully shy heroine whose secrets we discover later on.
Stein has finally bridged the gap between her great first-person works and mastering the third-person POV. While the third person POV did not work for me in her last release, Almost Real, Alice’s insights read clear across the page and her relationship with Holden begins as one of friendship that gives way to the slow burn of sexual tension built up between the characters.
Readers may wonder about the setting; it’s a beach house in an undisclosed location somewhere in the States, but as with most of Stein’s work, the setting does not drive the plot—instead, it’s all about the characters. Holden is not an alpha hero or necessarily a beta hero, but moreso a deliciously dirty male willing to be Alice’s savior. The relationship between the pair may seem dysfunctional, but the book makes a great point that you don’t have to be all together emotionally and mentally to be loved.
I can’t go into a ton of detail about Alice’s backstory because that would spoil the book majorly. What I can tell you is that movie lovers and cineophiles will love this book. Even though he’s a movie star, Holden has a great appreciation for movies and Alice has an entire movie vault. The movies they watch together slowly become love letters bridging the two emotionally damaged characters together.
Surprisingly, movie stars are not often front and center heroes ,even in erotic novels. Instead the landscape has given way to rock stars, tattooed bad boys, bikers and billionaires. Only a handful of novels, especially in the New Adult category, have had movie star heroes or heroines. Holden's occupation is one of the reasons I liked him because he seemed to be a realistic representation of a young twenty-someodd actor, he’s damaged due to the pressure of his occupation and stars in realistic blockbusters that parallel some of the bigger superhero hits with Captain Amazing being the fictional equivalent or Thor, Iron Man, or Captain America.
Alice was also fun to meet; many New Adult heroines who come across a movie star or famous hero oftentimes have to act with an emotional maturity that distinguish them from all the other girls the hero has met. Alice is awesome because she literally freaks out about finding a movie star passed out on her nice rug. She doesn’t act like a rabid fan girl, but she doesn’t pretend to be immune to the fact that Holden Stark is, well, Holden Star. As she gets to know him, she tries to treat him like a regular person, but in the back of her mind she’s always conscious of the fact that her love interest is a freaking MOVIE STAR.
The resolution between the two protagonists is nothing short of angsty and heartbreakingly good. For those readers looking for the bad boy meets good girl tension of Sheltered will not find that in Beyond Repair. Instead, you’ll find a story of two broken souls who find each other and while they may not heal each other, their love is more than enough to make it in this crazy twisted world.
Sahara Hoshi reviews for Wicked Lil Pixie and is a lifelong reader of romance. Favorite genres include new adult, paranormal romance, contemporary romance and erotica.