Review: Heartbreak for Hire by Sonia Hartl (2021)

Heat Factor: It’s a pretty juicy one

Character Chemistry: They’re an instant connection that kind of shifts and evolves over time

Plot: Brinkley is working semi-undercover as a Heartbreaker—she goes out and exacts revenge on men who are wronging women. She ends up flunking a mark (who is named Mark!) and is shocked to discover that Mark is hired to be her new trainee…but everyone is lying and it’s a real mess.

Overall: I loathed whole parts of this book but I’m pretty sure the author did it to me on purpose because it all kind of fed into the ending.

So. Let’s just say you took The Devil Wears Prada but instead of fashion it’s psychological warfare and social ruin for hire. Are you with me? That’s the very basic setup for this book. 

Brinkley was in a really terrible relationship that led to her leaving her elite Master’s program and losing most of her so-called friends. Right in the midst of her spectacular breakdown, she’s approached by the owner of Heartbreak for Hire and ends up working Egos, where she takes down big-headed men who mess with women who didn’t deserve it.

However. One day she goes out to meet her mark/Mark, and after a few tiny errors (he’s a really cute professor/metal detectorist who likes to wear argyle—SWOON, who could blame her), she very accidentally ends up at his place, with her boss trying to contact her, all kinds of in delicto flagrante. 

So Mark ends up getting hired by this really kind of disturbing boss to shadow Brinkley and see how she does what she does. In the process they end up discovering they’re a really good pair. Mark is really solid and thoughtful, and Brinkley is…she’s a hot mess. And she’s devilishly funny…like, I did a few choke-laughs out of shock/delight. She’s also a really sloppy main character, which was fun because you just don’t see many of those!! At one point, Mark thoughtfully hangs up an article of clothing in her closet and points out that it’s the only one there because the rest are on the floor.

Here are the things I loved about this book—she has REALLY complicated relationships with everyone and everything. So there was a lot to resolve, and it was satisfying. I would argue her relationship with her mother almost eclipsed her relationship with Mark in terms of disaster and development, which is saying a lot. She’s an aspiring painter and gallery owner hopeful, who has been saving up for ages and just won’t take the next step, and it’s so fun to watch her take the leap. Her psyche is just dang INTERESTING, and normally someone with this many loose ends would be aggravating. I don’t really know how she isn’t, but she’s really self-aware…so that could be it.

I loathed this book about ⅓ of the way through, because both the boss and the schtick were so slimy to me. I felt like the boss was set up to be this heroine avenger, empowering women by hurting men and that just felt really…gross. And I loathed it because I didn’t get any sense that the characters knew it! But, oh, me of little faith, the author weaves it all together and gathers up all the reader rage and rights all the wrongs and it turns out really well. There are absolutely some bits that I felt were a little unfair to men, and believe me when I say that not a single one of the characters is a bastion of moral character, so if you get really turned off by a Hero who, for example, lies to and uses the Heroine before he’s like, oh, perhaps I ought not treat someone that way, or if you get really disgusted when a Heroine is like, I lied to you and caused you harm and that is a-ok, but you did a lateral harm and need to be severely punished, you won’t walk away totally satisfied here. Like I said, it’s a hot mess but it’s a really riveting hot mess.

I voluntarily read and reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. We disclose this in accordance with 16 CFR §255.

Buy Now: Amazon | Bookshop

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