3.5⭐️ – This isn’t an easy book to review. I both liked and disliked it, and it’s the same with the characters.
A few years ago, Erin was an up and coming young painter, whose personal and artistic lives fell apart at the same time. Now she’s struggling to make ends meet. Her best friend Nat, a journalist, offers her a temporary job. She needs help with in the field research for an article on racist practices by a real estate agency.
I liked the premise of the story, yet I wish Nat’s investigation into the real estate agents’ prejudiced practices was at the forefront. The topic deserves to take precedence, not play second fiddle to Erin’s romance. That said, it’s the author’s choice to tell Erin’s story first, and within that choice, I think she managed to show how important Nat’s articles are. Erin is all in, not only for the money she desperately needs but because of her loyalty to Nat, even if she doesn’t understand how vital the investigation is.
Erin is white and aware of racism but she’s not directly affected by it. Her ignorance of the reality shows at time and the author didn’t cut her any slack. Nat is Black and there’s a very poignant scene in which she explains to Erin what daily life is when one’s skin isn’t white. That’s probably my main regret about this book, that Nat’s character wasn’t more developed.
The romance is well-done. Some events are predictable but that’s not unusual in romance. And I like the anticipation of wondering how the characters will be affected by the consequences of their decisions. As in her debut novel, Burns put her main character between two women. In this story though, one is very quickly out of the race when Erin realises how much the other woman has come to matter to her.
I’m usually a very character-driven reader, and I must say I didn’t feel much connection to any of the characters. What’s interesting though is that for once, it didn’t stop me from wanting to know what would happen to them. And I found myself unexpectedly moved when the investigation puts the budding love story in danger.
When I read the author’s debut, I felt there were too many details, too much minutiae. There are still too many descriptions for me, even though they didn’t slow my reading as much.
And kudos to the author for giving the cat-feeling-left-out-during-sex scene a try.