CW: talk of racism and sexism in Hollywood, sexual harassment at workplace, verbally abusive and homophobic parent
It’s either my bad luck or maybe I’m just not in the right mood that I’ve not really enjoyed the last three books I’ve read. And I’m quite sad this book is also getting relegated to that list. I was very excited to read a mainstream f/f romance and the Hollywood setting fascinated me, but unfortunately I was a bit bored.
My problem with this book is that I don’t have a lot of complaints. The writing is easy to read, the Hollywood setting feels both realistic as well as like a fantasy that we would love to explore, and the characters are sweet and likable. There is also a small #metoo plot line as well as talk about racism in the industry, which is a good addition to the story to make it feel more deep, but ultimately it wasn’t that significant in the larger picture. I also really enjoyed the depiction of friendship and sibling relationships in the story. And I was pleasantly surprised to see that one of the MCs is Chinese-American while the other is Jewish, because none of these aspects were highlighted anywhere in the book promotions.
But ultimately where the book faltered for me was the execution of the romance. It’s always tricky when it’s a boss/employee romance and I thought the author did an excellent job addressing the power imbalance. But due to this aspect, we get a slow burn romance which is way too slow for my taste. While the romantic feelings Jo and Emma had for each other was quite evident to us, there is not a lot of interaction between them and it felt to me like half the story was told just through internal monologues. I can handle angst and also a bit of miscommunication as the conflict, but both the characters just assumed things about the other and took a long time to have actual conversations. I think I just like it when characters get together a bit earlier than the end of the book.
To conclude, I probably had wrong expectations from the book (again.. duh 🙄) and that’s why I feel a bit let down. But I will still say that this was a sweet and enjoyable book with some lovely characters. And if you are a fan of very slow burn romances, then this would be the perfect choice for you. There is a lot more pining and less of talking here and if that sounds appealing, do check it out. Maybe you’ll find your next favorite romance.
PS: Thank you to Netgalley and Berkely for providing me with this advance copy. All opinions expressed here are unbiased and solely mine.