Heart Failure by Chris Zett

Jess has a list—actual and metaphorical—for every aspect of her life. But what if there’s no list for suffering a major illness, moving home to her mum’s place, dealing with the tenant, and managing a baby? 

What was the book about?
Dr. Jess Riley’s life is perfect, ticking all the boxes—successful cardiologist, newborn daughter, and a luxurious condo. That is, until she suddenly collapses from acute heart failure. Her entire world crumples along with her exhausted body. Jess is forced to face facts—she can’t keep working endless hours, and she’ll have to move back home to recover. To her shock, her mother has already taken in Lena Walker, a struggling artist who isn’t a stranger to heartbreak either. At first, an unimpressed Jess resents Lena’s cheerful presence. Gradually, though, the two women form a tentative friendship over tai chi, picking fruit, and evening walks with the baby. A sexy massage leads to friends-with-benefits fun. But is it all too soon? Should two barely mended souls try to risk a future together?

Featured Tropes:
Enemies-to-lovers, rich girl/poor girl

Book Strengths:
Jess and Lena are giving distinct personalities. Lena is a sweetheart and is the perfect foil to Jess. The backstory for each woman is developed well, so we understand their motivations leading to the romance.

Book weaknesses:
Dr. Jess Riley is the ice-queen in this story. In the beginning, Jess is so mean that I couldn’t warm to her, or even hold onto hope that she’d somehow turn over a new leaf. I mean, she did, but I could have throttled Lena as she continuously forgave Jess’s behaviour. Luckily, Jess spent the remainder of the novel apologising, and every time she did, I muttered, “Damn right.” As readers, we see the underlying stress of the illness and work, a newborn, and having to move back home with your mum as definite reasons to send out angry sparks at the world.

Character Chemistry:

The chemistry that starts to simmer works but only because of Lena. Jess eventually, right at the end, becomes the woman she had the potential to be, and it’s lovely.

Heat Rating:
3 flames

I enjoyed the story. The medical terminology is not over-the-top. And after Jess gave herself a decent boot up the bum and pulled it together, the ripples in the story settled in the pages and the story absolutely flowed.

Star Rating:
4 stars

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