I still can’t past the name. I’ve read the entire book and I still chuckle like a teenager at Doukakis.
I mean. Come on!
Anyway this book is terrible.
Plot: woman with neglectful father sacrifices every ambition she has to keep his business afloat because the people that work in the company are also, for the most part, kind of useless. Some of them are useless for understandable reasons, but instead of helping them properly solve it, she basically just does all their work for them. Anyway, billionaire does a corporate takeover of the company because he finds out her dad is banging his little sister. He decides to keep her on to try and force her dad (and his sister) out of hiding even though he thinks she’s useless because she wears hot pink tights. Shenanigans ensue.
Where do I begin?
This book is well edited. It has a coherent, if stupid plot, and Grammar Supremacists will mostly be able to keep their blood pressure in the normal range. That also makes this book a perfect example of the kind of book that people mock the romance genre for. Sure, it’s easy to rag on something like 50 Shades, which is an incoherent, rambling mess start to finish, but this book isn’t complete garbage, which somehow makes it worse. What it is is a perfect storm of almost every problematic trope the genre has done exactly as you’d expect.
We have a heroine that’s a classic Super Hot, but Also Sweet and Loves Everyone and Everyone Loves Her and She’s Just So Under-appreciated But She Doesn’t Want the Attention/Recognition, She Just Wants to Help People.
We have a neglectful father who never experiences any consequences, because our heroine has to be lovable, and to be lovable to the reader she apparently has to be willing to “still love” a father who is straight up abusive (like, won’t even check in if she’s in the hospital kind of abusive, like forcing her to be fully self sufficient from childhood abusive, like hooking up with her friends abusive).
We have a billionaire portrayed as some kind of business Jesus like it’s possible to become a billionaire through nothing but hard work. Like you can have a billionaire who really cares about the people that work for him. If you’re a billionaire, especially one that specializes in hostile takeovers and famous for “redundancies” aka “streamlining” aka “firing everyone”, you’re engaged in modern day slavery both in the third world and likely in the first world too. Also, telling a woman how to dress outside is not charming, it’s a red flag. He is literally described as “pure alpha” that women just fall over themselves for. Gag. At least the book doesn’t actually say that he’s banged every other assistant he’s had and then fired them, even though it DOES say it in the book description. So. Make of that what you will.
There are other characters, but they are meaningless plot devices.
Start to finish, this book is about 3 weeks, 2 weeks of which they don’t see each other. In that time, they go from hating each other to HEA. Almost immediately, our hero, DOUKAKIS (who, to be entirely fair, is legit Greek but I am not mature enough to let this go and his first name is Damon, which is somehow even more painful) is totally taken with our Hard Working Heroine(‘s legs). He gives her the keys to his penthouse within hours of meeting, bails on a date to help her when she’s hospitalized a few hours after that, then has her stay in his penthouse, all while still thinking she’s an idiot. Then he watches her sleep and reads through her private journal. This is day 1.
The next day, they fly to Paris, because she has a meeting with a client that he happens to know personally. She charms the client while Doukakis continues to be a controlling party pooper (see what I did there?). He’s reluctantly impressed, she’s oblivious, they walk back to the hotel and bone, because hey, what’s a Billionaire-employer-and-Penniless-employee-with-no-social-capital tryst? After all, it’s P a r i s. And she knows that he wouldn’t endanger her career if things don’t work out, because of that history of his being a … *checks notes* temperamentally vindictive asshole who would buy and shut down an entire company to pressure his sister’s new boyfriend to break up with her.
Unfortunately, while they did use protection (not that it’s mentioned till afterwards), poor Doukakis still caught feelings. So the next morning they fly back after he promises not to fire anyone, and then he runs away to New York for two weeks. Then he comes back, apparently having reconciled himself to being in love with this woman he’s known for 48 not particularly great hours, and asks her out on a date because … *checks notes* it’s time he did something just because he wanted to.
The *billionaire with multiple penthouses, a private jet, and a history of womanizing* said this.
AND THERE IS NO APPRENTICESHIP. IN A BOOK LITERALLY CALLED DOUKAKIS’ APPRENTICE.
There’s MUCH more but you get the gist. It’s not only that the book uses well worn tropes like the employer-employee thing or having a Perfect heroine and the Alphahole she tamed dynamic. It’s that it uses those tropes to reinforce extremely harmful and very real societal issues. How many times do we need to throw women under the “gold digger” bus? How many capable women do we need to dismiss because they aren’t “likable” and have actual ambition? How many women need to be killed by the abusive men we romanticize? How many women do we need to pressure into staying in those abusive relationships because of some nonsense about unconditional love?
I think it’s so much easier to dismiss books like 50 Shades precisely because they are so bad as to be incoherent, but there are plenty of books like this, perfectly competently written books which tell the exact same story, create the exact same narrative, uphold the same societal cancers and do it while creating justification for people to dismiss romance, a genre predominantly written and read by women, as a genre for middle aged, unhappy housewives (which is its own troubling trope).
And because I can’t end a bad review without giving you something positive – if you’re interested in how to do a trope like the employer-employee thing in a really progressive, novel, interesting, funny, sweet way while supporting a phenomenal writer of colour, you should absolutely read Untouchable by Talia Hibbert (and the rest of the series too, it’s great).