Heat Factor: Not even a kiss in the first third
Character Chemistry: Lust—but it’s *forbidden*
Plot: Miri gets stranded in Aspen after a meeting with her billionaire boss
Overall: DNFed this one
One of my reading goals for this year was to more aggressively DNF books, and it’s made my reading life much better. While I only read the first third of this book, there are some elements of it that other readers may be interested in (or may want to aggressively avoid), so here I go with my review.
You might be wondering, why did I stop reading this one? I could not handle the writing style. There are tons of big fancy words and the whole thing felt very overwritten. None of the words is used incorrectly (this would be a great book if you want to build your vocabulary!), but the end result felt wooden, particularly the dialogue. I don’t recall having this reaction to the other book by Marcella Bell that I read, so it could be that she was going for something more erudite with these characters and it didn’t quite hit—or it could be that this book is suffering in comparison because the few books I read before it were quippy and fast, so I wasn’t in the headspace for this slower style.
On to the good! I liked the Bell went all-in on the Jewish content here, without getting too insidery. Miri works for a large Jewish non-profit in LA, and Benjamin is the Board Chair, so it’s understood without saying that they’re both Jewish. When they begin to have conversations about their identities and what being Jewish means for them (such as eating jelly donuts—sufganiyot—during Hanukkah), that means that they can go deeper and talk about their families and how their familial losses are intertwined with their faith. (Benjamin is an orphan; Miri is a convert whose family doesn’t quite understand.)
The other good is the tension inherent in their relationship. Not only is Benjamin the Board Chair of the non-profit where Miri works, but the previous person who did Miri’s job had an affair with the former Executive Director which caused a big ole scandal—so bedding the boss here is super-double-ultra forbidden. Juicy!
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the irritating: Benjamin is an extremely irritating billionaire hero. There are hints that he might be reformed because Miri finds some of his high-handedness extremely irritating as well…but she also is all gaga over his fancy house and his good looks, so the jury’s out on this one. Just…how could he not see how incredibly inconvenient and thoughtless it was of him to insist that she fly to Aspen from LA just to have a meeting where they hammered out the logistics for a party? This is what videoconferencing is for. (I mean, this is a Harlequin Presents, so I should not have expected something else, but it was really too much for me.)
Look, I am vaguely interested in how Miri and Benjamin square the impossible circle of their work relationship, but not enough to wade through clunky prose and Benjamin being kind of annoying. But if you’re looking for a Jewish-centered holiday special and don’t mind billionaires and adjectives, you might enjoy this one.
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.
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