CBR Bingo: Heart (’cause, romance, obvs)
I added this to my library holds list because I kept seeing it recommended seemingly everywhere I turned, so okay! fine! also because with all the serious reading I’ve been doing, I do need some books that lighten up the mood a bit. (Also, this came in when I had 7 hours of driving on deck, so I needed a good car listen.)
The summary is pretty straightforward: Delilah Green, struggling art photographer and love-’em-and-leave-’em lesbian, caves to the lure of a hefty paycheck that she very much needs, and returns to her Oregon hometown to photograph the wedding of her estranged stepsister, Astrid, which means hanging out for two weeks (Me: two weeks?!?!) around not just Astrid and her icy mother Isabelle, but also Astrid’s BFFs, Iris and Claire, all of whom Delilah remembers as deepening her loneliness and alienation as a bereaved kid in a town where she couldn’t find her place. Claire, a bisexual woman herself, has a soft heart and a perceptiveness that sees Delilah’s sadness underneath her prickly exterior. Sparks, of course, must fly, and they do, particularly once Delilah gets roped into Iris and Claire’s half-baked plans to break up Astrid and her douchebag fiance.
The plot unfolds pretty much as one might expect, but in a pleasant way: Blake knows what she’s doing as a writer, and lends enough spark and verve to the characters and interactions to keep things clipping along pleasantly. Claire and Delilah’s romance is perfectly nice, but I wouldn’t have minded lingering a bit more in, say, Astrid and Delilah’s gradual thawing and reconciliation, or Astrid’s realization that her mother was kinda abusive (though the next book is about Astrid, so I’m guessing that material is being saved for it). There are occasional moments of contrivance (one bed!! Claire’s ex disappearing!! etc!!) that strain the narrative a bit and the one thing I thought would be involved in the ending ultimately wasn’t, which I think was a touch of a missed opportunity.
The cast of the book is also whiter than that of the average Hallmark movie these days, so diverse this very much is not, if that influences your reading decisions. Very solidly narrated, with distinct cadence/vocal styles for different characters without doing goofy voices.