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Just the Way You Are Paperback – June, 2003

3.9 out of 5 stars 116 customer reviews
Book 1 of 4 in the Lost Hearts Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Shining with all the humor of her historical romances-but with a sassy edge that reflects the story's modern setting-Dodd's (My Favorite Bride, etc.) first foray into the contemporary arena is nothing short of a success. Separated from her siblings since her parents' death seven years earlier, Hope Prescott works as an answering service operator and dreams of getting a job that will finance her search for her family-not to mention socks without holes. While calling in for his messages, Zack Givens, a Boston CEO notorious for his cold manner, accidentally leads Hope to believe that he's his butler, and her scorn for the rich and heartless as well as her warm, caring manner encourages him to continue the charade. Upon meeting Hope in person and realizing that she has a heart of gold, Zack's focus turns possessive and sexual, and his stratagems revolve around getting her in bed and then showering her with wealth. But secrets from Hope's past and Zack's distrust conspire to ruin their happiness. Zack's poor estimation of Hope's moral strength may disturb some readers, but his bewilderment and agony when he realizes his mistake will soften hearts. Aside from one farcical side trip-when Hope is kidnapped by a crime lord-Dodd's surefooted story is lively, sexy and certain to expand her readership.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

From Booklist

When Hope Prescott was 16, tragedy destroyed her family and sent her across the country to Boston. Seven years later, as a student and answering-service operator, she saves every penny to search for her sisters and brother. Takeover king Zach Givens, an aristocratic, technophobic snob, meets Hope through the answering service. Positive that the nice man on the phone is Givens' butler, Hope allows a telephone friendship to escalate to a hot encounter. When she is wrongly arrested for embezzling money from a local gangster, Zach sees her with one of his enemies and decides that she was just after his money; at the same time she discovers that he has been lying to her about his identity. By the time he comes to his senses, she has been kidnapped, so Zach and all the friends Hope has made answering phones band together to conduct a zany rescue. The warm characterizations and caperlike plot make Dodd's hot contemporary romance a delight, and the cliff-hanger ending will leave readers eager for the sequel. Diana Tixier Herald
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Pocket Books (June 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1417721332
  • ISBN-13: 978-1417721337
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.8 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (116 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #843,200 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
Seven years ago, under suspicious circumstances, Hope Prescott's parents disappeared and were declared dead. Hope was sixteen at the time with three younger siblings. All the siblings were separated and put in foster care homes across the country. Now Hope attends college, and works for an answering service to fund her ongoing search for her brother and sisters.
Boston CEO, Zack Givens, who takes over other companies, is known for his cold, calculating and ruthless demeanor. He's also a technophobe. His secretary sets him up with an answering service to take his calls. Hope is the first person he speaks to when checking his messages, and he's immediately drawn to her sultry voice. Hope doesn't believe for a minute that Zack would lower himself to retrieve his own messages, so she believes him to be the butler. He decides to continue the charade, even when she shows up unannounced at his home. Once Zack realizes Hope's beauty goes further than her voice, he's determined to make her his mistress. Noting she dresses in rather worn clothing, he decides to shower her with what his money can buy, while she's warming his bed.
After things heat up between them, Hope is mistakenly accused of embezzling and arrested. But Zack's distrusting nature kicks in and he doesn't initially believe in her innocence. Realizing his mistake, he plans to set things straight, but before he can do this, Hope is kidnapped by a crime lord. Will Zack ever be able to convince Hope he now believes in her, especially after his deception?
I believe this may be Ms. Dodd's first foray into contemporary romance. She did have a very early book called "The Lady in Black", which I haven't read, but it may have been a contemporary.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is Christina Dodd's first attempt at contemporary romance and I have to say, she scored big. Just The Way You Are is a great story and if it is any indication, Dodd has a great contemporary future ahead of her.
This book is about Hope Prescott who lived in Texas until she was 16 and her parents were arrested for embezzeling, a fact which no one in the Texas town wants discuss. Her younger sisters and brother were seperated from her and put into foster homes and Hope drifted for 7 years until she decided to get her life back together. She came to Boston and enrolled in college and got a job as a telephone switchboard operator where she "met" Zach Givens.
Zach was enthralled by Hope's voice from the first moment he heard it, and being a rich man who always got what he wanted, he went after Hope, pretending to be his own butler. They got to know each other and fell in love. Unfortunately, events outside of their control pushed them apart.
The romance was the best part of this book. Zach and Hope had instant chemistry and it was great fun and very romantic to see their romance evolve. The owner of Hope's switchboard operation provided a wonderful secondary character, as did Zach's Aunt Cecily and Sven.
The only part of this story that put me off was the embezzelment storyline and the absurd "kidnapping" attempt at the end of the story. It just kind of ruined the buildup of the romance and all that had come before it.
But besides this minor story problem, I have to say this was a great great story. There will be a second one, and hopefully a third. Though I have always admired Dodd's historical romances, it takes great courage to break out of habit and Dodd's breakthrough into contemporary romance is a great one. She has a great future in both historicl and contemporary romance. This book is a keeper.
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By A Customer on July 1, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
What can I say? I'll start with the high points since it is always good to start with a compliment. Dodd retains her sense of humor that you expect from reading her historicals, and that is good. The book moves fast so it can be read in one sitting (If you chose to finish it, that is) I don't however, believe that most people upon hearing that a child's parents had been accused of embezzlement would blame the child for the crime, especially in a modern city like Boston. That is just too unbelievable for words. Combine that with an irrational contempt for Wal-Mart (Hey, dosen't Wal-Mart sell her books?) and community colleges, and you have a reciepe for alienating most of your reading public. I think this book was a good attempt to write a contemporary, but you cannot use the same formula for a modern story as you do for a historical -times and values change and they will not ring true, which sadly is the case here.
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Format: Audible Audio Edition
I really enjoyed the beginning. Hope works for a phone answering service. When rich guy Zach calls for his messages, she thinks he is the butler. They develop a neat relationship over the phone. When she meets him he continues to pretend he’s the butler. They fall in love. It was a fun story.

Then in the middle it dragged. It was repetitive thinking about each other and dragging out some pre-sex scenes. The con man part of the book was incomplete and not finished. See Spoiler below. I think the author should have spent time on that instead of doing the romantic filler in the middle.

Then the crisis: I hated it! I was furious. It ruined the book. Zach jumps to a wrong conclusion without even asking what was happening. And then he was mean. It was STUPID on his part. The author should have thought of something better.

The end was ok. I liked all the groveling Zach did. But I did not like the slapstick scene with a crime lord. It did not fit the tone of the book.

This felt like a regency/historical romance. Zach the rich aristocrat. Hope the feisty beautiful virgin orphan. It is set in contemporary Boston with limos. But change the limo to a carriage and you’ve got a regency.

CAUTION SPOILER:
A con man hired Hope to do some secretarial things for him. He embezzled money and the police arrested Hope. She got out on bail. That story was not finished. Did the con man admit she was innocent? What kind of evidence was brought up and used? How did she get proven innocent?
END SPOILER.

AUDIOBOOK NARRATOR:
Natalie Ross is one of the best I have ever heard. I couldn’t believe how good her voice was for Zach - a man. She also did great for the rest of the story and characters.
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