I absolutely fell in love with the idea of The Accidental Pinup when I first found out about it. Talk about rivals to lover photographers who have to reconcile their differences to work together on a campaign. This dual POV story involves secrets, steamy photoshoots, and some light espionage. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.
Photographer Cassie Harris loves her job—her company Buxom Boudoir makes people look beautiful and feel empowered with her modern twist on classic pinup photography. Cassie’s best friend, Dana, is about to launch her own dangerously dreamy lingerie line and wants Cassie to shoot and direct the career-changing national campaign. But company politics and Dana’s complicated pregnancy interfere, and Cassie finds herself—a proud plus size Black woman—not behind the camera but in front of it.
Though she’s never modeled herself, Cassie’s pretty sure she can handle the sheer underwear and caution tape bralettes. She’s not sure she can work so intimately with the chosen photographer, her long-time competitor in the Chicago photography scene, Reid Montgomery. Their chemistry is undeniable on set, however, and feelings can develop faster than film…
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
There was no way I was not going to love Cassie. Her friendship group in The Accidental Pinup makes me jealous! I loved the ways in which they support each other and know when to prod each other. I now need books about each one of these side characters because it’s clear they have their own stories to tell. Cassie is driven, talented, and facing a ton of misogyny within the industry. And it’s meant she’s become outspoken and determined to make her space.
The rivals to lovers trope provides a foundation for their tension and some witty banter. Being dual POV, it allows us to get a sense of why Reid has been acting the way he has. What makes him tick and what has he lost track of. We can become so focused on that status quo that when things appear in our life to shake it up, that can cause room to wobble. He’s laden with burdens and unsure about how to take care of the people in his life – which leads to some pretty epic mistakes. My biggest pet peeve is a lack of transparency, so it took a while for me to warm up to Reid. But then again, it’s like the most common mistake so totally get it!
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Overall, I enjoyed the tension between the characters as well as the ways in which Cassie has to determine her own future. Sometimes we just need a push onto center stage to convince us we belong there. That our lives can take different turns and they might end up taking us surprising places. At the end I wish it felt a bit more balance in terms of character time in the resolution (I wanted more Cassie). But The Accidental Pinup does a great job of balancing steamy romance with character dynamic. Find The Accidental Pinup on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, Bookshop.org & The Book Depository.