Marcus Caster-Rupp is the handsome, athletic star of Gods of the Gates, a Game of Thrones-style series loosely based on Virgil’s Aeneid. Like GoT, the show has reached its final season, which everyone but the show runners deem a disaster. Dryly referring to himself as a Well-Groomed Golden Retriever, no one imagines that Marcus, who’s considered a vapid pretty boy in Hollywood, has been writing Gates fan fiction under a pen name, Book!AeneasWouldNever, for years, reimagining the show as he thinks it should have been presented. If his alter ego is exposed, his 20-year career would end immediately.
April Whittier is an environmental geologist with a serious case of Gates fandom, and in her own words, fat. Not curvy, not chubby, but FAT. She’s outspoken and active in the Gates online fan fiction and cosplay community, adopting the online persona of Lavinia, Aeneas’ wife. When she tweets a photo of herself in full Lavinia cosplay, the cheers and jeers are defeating, but Marcus is floored by her beauty and brains. And, in direct response to a particularly nasty remark by a misogynistic fan, Marcus asks April to dinner via Twitter for all the world to witness.
What he doesn’t tell her is that he’s her long-standing online buddy Book!AeneasWouldNever, better known as BAWN, half of the most famous OTP (one true pair) of Aeneas and Lavinia.
Marcus is immediately attracted to April, but she regards him with a jaundiced eye, fearing his invitation was just a publicity trick, as she’s accustomed to rejection. However, as they tiptoe into the future, they learn how much they have in common, what stands between them, and how, or if, they’ll accommodate those issues.
The novel contains plenty of explicit sex. It also contains plenty of frank discussions about fat-shaming, intellectual snobbery, judgmental parents, perception versus reality, and the breathtaking possibility of true love. Spoiler Alert looks like chick lit, but it deftly addresses — excuse the pun — weighty issues with sensitivity and respect. It’s an excellent read.