A Heart To Trust – A.L. Brooks

Why fight a river that’s determined to take you to a happily-ever-after? Sometimes you just simply have to let yourself be picked up and carried off no matter what obstacles you put in the way.

What was the book about?
Change is not Jenny Quinn’s strong suit, but she’s happy enough with her easy-going life, friends, and job as a TV production assistant. That is until a company shake-up foists the infuriating Olivia Sinclair on her. The woman is uptight, snobby, and has some perfect and famous motor-racing husband. TV and theatre producer Olivia moved to New York from the UK to marry her longtime friend. It’s a sham marriage, a favour to a man she loves as a brother, but the strain is beginning to take its toll. How can she even meet women when she’s the picture of heterosexual bliss? Add in her stressful new job, an irritating colleague called Jenny, who thinks being goofy is some kind of admirable work ethic, and life can be a grind some days. The worst part isn’t the office politics or clashing personalities, but the fact there’s an attraction between both women that’s gradually becoming impossible to ignore. So should they stop ignoring it? That would mean learning to trust your heart that this is the right woman. And that’s a huge step.

Featured Tropes
Enemies to lovers, office politics, TV production assistant, workplace romance, fake marriage

Book strengths
It’s always so lovely to read a novel that has a great main story, and a sensible, logical sub-story that runs parallel until it doesn’t and they crash wonderfully into each other, and then a bonus plot rippling underneath that knows how to stay in its lane and not dominate the others. This book has all that. As a contemporary romance, A Heart To Trust works really well. Olivia Sinclair is the reserved, almost ice-queen character who falls for Jenny Quinn, a definitely not ice-queen character, and so initially they are not enamoured with each other at all. The enemies-to-lovers main story is well-paced, with the fake marriage (the reason for Olivia’s outward icy persona) driving it along. I loved (in a well-written, gosh-you’re-an-awful-person kind of love) the insecure, narcissistic secondary character who tries to undermine both women’s work situations. It’s the plot that ripples underneath. Brooks writes this stuff (technical literary term there) really, really well. Lots of layers.

Book weaknesses
Every now and then, Jenny, normally a with-it, catch-on-quick kind of woman, would be so completely obtuse to a situation that I wondered if she’d had a brain transplant and lost a few cells along the way. Could I reach into the book, slap my palms on her desk top, lean into her space, and shout, “Really?” Well, no I couldn’t, but I wanted to. It seemed at odds with how she’d otherwise been portrayed.

Character chemistry
It’s tricky in a contemporary romance to analyse romantic chemistry, because we know what’s going to happen in the end. I think in that sense we are hyperaware of any chemistry presented. Perhaps in a novel where you don’t know the end result for the two characters, chemistry of any sort comes as a complete surprise and so we elevate its importance. In A Heart To Trust, the chemistry is definitely present. In all its forms. The disdain that Olivia and Jenny have for each other in the beginning is a chemistry in itself. It’s palpable. Then it’s the jump to romantic chemistry and that’s yummy.

Heat flame
🔥 🔥 🔥
(2.5 flames)

Jenny and Olivia’s assumptions about each other are wonderfully flawed and real. When they give into that sense of trust, watching them overcome their preconceived ideas is really validating. And sweet. And romantic. The ‘awww’ factor is high. 


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