3.5⭐️ – My favourite Carsen Taite’s books are the ones in which her background as a criminal defence lawyer shows. This one falls into that category. Everything about the MCs’ jobs was exciting, the inner workings of the courthouse, the atmosphere, the differences between the PD office and Wren’s high profile law firm but also the differences between the PD office and the DA office. The way the philosophies clash yet both offices need the other, two sides of the Justice coin. Taite’s insider knowledge shows in tiny details, and I would happily have read more about cases and untangling facts and lies to reach as much of the truth as possible.
Wren Bishop is a young lawyer on loan to the Public Defender office. Lennox Roy is a very determined and driven prosecutor, set on never falling for the enemy ever again. Wren is kinda irresistible though, and when both women get assigned to the same arson case, albeit on opposite sides, it gives them the perfect excuse to get to know each other better, both at work and outside of the courthouse.
The attraction is instantaneous and very plausible on Wren’s side. I never had reason to doubt that Lennox got her attention or why. It’s more complicated with Lennox. I believed in her attraction to Wren because I wanted to, but until an event occurred that I won’t get into because I don’t want to spoil it for you, I didn’t feel it. After that event, however, it became a lot more credible and I loved it.
I like both MCs. I’m not sure I understand them but I like them. At least I like Wren and Lennox intrigued me at first, then won me over, albeit in a frustrating way. I don’t understand how she goes from acting bitchy to Wren one day to almost kissing her the next. The change of scenery (inside the courthouse vs outside) doesn’t explain it entirely.
Besides a few editing glitches, this novel feels a bit rushed both on the romance side and on the case. As I wrote above, Lennox’s behaviour towards Wren doesn’t entirely make sense and while I’m very willing to believe they belong together, I wish the progression from guarded to in love was more detailed and that the characters had more on-page time together. As to the case, maybe I’m just greedy but the outcome, while satisfying, comes from findings the reader doesn’t get to witness, which made me feel like it happened on the side of the story rather than within.
Trial by Fire is the first book in a new series set in the same universe as the author’s Crime and Defense series, which means there are cameos by beloved characters such as Morgan and Parker, and more than a cameo from Skye. And while this novel isn’t my favourite by Carsen Taite, I had a good time reading it and am looking forward to the next book in the series, in which I hope Nina, Lennox’s best friend and a judge, gets her own book, I want more than the glimpses we got here.
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