Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: "Losing to the devil himself has never been sexier"
The Downfall Of A Good Girl is a classic enemies to lovers trope centering around “good girl” Vivienne (Vivi) LeBlanc and “bad boy” Connor Mansfield. Vivi is a quintessential southern debutante. A former pageant queen, she now spends her time running her gallery and working on committees to better her fair city. When she is elected Saint of the annual New Orleans Saints and Sinners Pageant, she is determined to win the coveted title and huge trophy that comes with it. When Conner Mansfield is named the Sinner to her Saint and who she has to compete against, Vivi nearly suffers a complete meltdown. Convinced her nemesis has deliberately come back to town to humiliate her once again, Vivi hardens her resolve and heart against the sexy bad boy.
Conner Mansfield left New Orleans and achieved fortune and fame with his sultry voice and phenomenal piano skills. Though an acknowledged player, the tabloids have painted him as the devil himself and a particularly bad scandal has him coming home for some R&R. When asked to help chair the annual Saints and Sinners Pageant Conner figures that the publicly can’t hurt, especially when paired with Vivi. Her goody two shoe ways will serve as an excellent polish for his tarnished reputation. Conner doesn’t know why Vivi hates him and he doesn’t care. But when he starts spending more time with her, he realizes that there is more to Vivi than meets the eye and suddenly he wants more than to win the pageant…he wants to win her heart.
A light hearted yet over the top (dramatic wise) romantic contemporary by Harlequin’s new KISS imprint that showcases two strong, independent, people whose hidden vulnerabilities mirror each others. Both feel “defined” by their talents and when faced with the prospect of no longer having them, feel at a loss. Vivi was raised a pageant girl and always does the right thing. Twice she has essentially shown out and each time was left embarrassed and humiliated. After losing a major pageant, she decides that she will no longer give in to temptation and throws herself into her good works, making herself indispensable to the town. Connor has also suffered from temptation, which has been cataloged by the tabloids, blowing up everything he does on and off stage. While he hasn’t done a complete turnabout like Vivi, he does wish people would see him for who he really is.
The sparks fly between these two from their first meeting to the last page. The chemistry is palpable and you instantly know when these two get together, it’ll be off the charts. They often say hate is the flip side of love and I certainly believed it after meeting these two. Both are overly vocal in their dislike of one another and I found their reasons for disliking each other juvenile and overly dramatic at times. Vivi still harbors a grudge from high school and is also jealous of Conner. His dreams came true while she lost hers. I liked the fact that she knows her reasons are silly and that jealousy is a prime motivator and she readily admits it. When she begins to see a change in him, she is able to admit that she, like a lot of others, only looked at the surface. Connor comes to realize as he spends more time with Vivi that she isn’t the shrew she seems to be and that he may have done some things in the past he should apologize for.
The setting of New Orleans and the pageant plotline adds a sense of realism to the story. Romance thrives in New Orleans and no one, even our prickly couple, is immune. Various personable characters round out the storyline, offering advice and dissent to Vivi and Connor’s relationship, causing our couple to look into their hearts for what they really want from their lives and one another. The catalyst is properly turbulent and the ending is sweet though predictable.
My only problem was one I addressed earlier. Vivi and Connor’s arrogance and dislike of one one another presented childishly and very dramatic (especially Vivi) and I honestly had a hard time liking either of them until they began to settle down and act like adults.
Overall Rating: C