A Heart to Trust – A.L. Brooks

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
I enjoyed this, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as Brooks previous release – Dare to Love. It’s a well written book – but it just didn’t excite me.

The production company Jenny is working for is bought out by another larger production company, putting Jenny’s job at risk, especially as her boss and mentor is already leaving the company. Jenny discovers that there are four people up for three roles, and their new boss has decided to make it into a competition. Jenny really needs the job so as much as she hates the idea, she has to roll with it.

One of the people she’s up against is Olivia, who in Jenny’s eyes is a stuck-up rich Brit. Olivia has a complicated situation, she’s married, but not for love. Her husband is Broderick, one of her closest friends, who is ace and aro, and their marriage is one of convenience to allow him to succeed in his dream career. This situation, plus a bad workplace experience makes Olivia very closed off.

The workplace scenario works in that you get to see Jenny and Olivia interacting regularly and meet the other key players in both of their battles to stay employed. The frostiness between the pair in the work environment makes sense with Jenny not trusting people and Olivia having something to hide, and the slow realisation that they found each other attractive plays really well.

I had problems with Jenny being written as a character that has difficulties trusting due to her family situation, but her then trusting a colleague straight away and not picking up on underlying manipulation. The manipulation storyline adds tension to the narrative and the relationship between Jenny and Olivia.

I have high standards for secondary characters in books, and this one does meet them. The workplace characters make the workplace parts of the book where we spend the most time interesting. Broderick and his family, plus Jenny’s best friends and ex-boss Adrienne are all well written and add real depth to both the MCs and the narrative. I’m intrigued by Brooks’ book on Adrienne and her partner – The Long Shot – and will be checking this one out soon.

Romance wise the two MCs don’t get together until around the 70% mark and they take it slow at the beginning too, definitely making this a slow burn romance. Once they’re together the book feels rushed as they cram in six months in the rest of the book and the epilogue, it also feels a little insta love, but I guess as it’s so slow burn this is kind of understandable.

All in all I would recommend this to romance lovers, as others may feel differently about this than me, as for me my rating is mainly due to a lack of the thing that would make this a real page turner for me.

I received an e-ARC directly from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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