Saturday 26 October 2013

Work in Progress (A Westwood Novel) by Christina Esdon - Book Review

From the Blurb:

Psychologist Reese Morgan is a feisty workaholic who has devoted her life to helping seriously ill children. But the work is just one of many walls she has put up to protect herself from a childhood trauma and heart-wrenching grief. When the family support program she has struggled to build at the local hospital is threatened, Reese must find a way to face her past, accept her grief and embrace her future. Sparks fly when she comes face to face with a handsome visionary: the contractor who is set to demolish the children’s wing. Can Reese break down the walls of her own heart to let love in?

The Review:

Work in Progress is an ensemble style romance that follows the stories of a number of characters including: Nikki, who works in marketing, is sick of her job and is in love with her flat mate's philandering brother, Chase, who has just moved in and who is trying to learn to stop running from his past; Julia, a nurse who is desperately seeking Mr Right, but has maybe spent a little too much time with her nose stuck in novels (Is that even possible?); Drew, Nikki's brother who is disturbingly reminiscent of Julia's gothic fantasy, except that he's also a bit of a hard nosed corporate type; not to mention beloved cats The Godfather and Holly Golightly, who rule their respective roosts. On top of that we have our main characters, Reese and Josh. Josh is a contractor, working on the hospital at which Reese works, and the two are instantly hot for each other. There are two problems though, Josh is a romantic and wants the lot, while Reese, a psychologist, is terrified of commitment and struggling to deal with her traumatic family history.

That might sound like a bit of a tangle, but Work in Progress is anything but a mess. Each of the storylines weave perfectly together in a way that makes this so much more than your usual romance. The benefit of this narrative style is that we get a romance with a hero and heroine who have actual real life friendships, and while the romance makes the arc of this story, the friendships are what bring it an extra dash of color and laughter.

An interesting point to note is that, unlike many books with multiple points of view, I didn't once find myself wishing I could return to a different storyline. The plot moved seamlessly from one character to the next as we followed Reese, Josh, and their friends.

At its heart, though, this is a romance and the main story is the development of Reese and Josh's relationship. I liked both of these characters. Reese is very real, with anger issues and a whole lot of trauma, but this just made her all the more relateable. Josh is really sweet and at times I just wanted to pinch his cheek, but he’s really sexy too and ready to push everything off his desk to throw Reese on top of it.

There is a lot of humor in the story, right from the beginning and Reese's "run-gasm", and I found myself laughing out loud throughout. BUT much of the journey is also quite heart wrenching (as Reese's commitment issues are rooted in the loss of her little sister when she was young), and for as many times as I laughed during this novel, Work in Progress also had me full on ugly crying. So don't read this one when you're in the mood for a straight feel good comedic romance, instead read this one when you want a laugh and a cry that will make you all the happier in the long run.

From its subtitle, I believe Work in Progress must be the first in a series of novels, though the rest are yet to be released. I hope this is the case, as I really want to know more about the future of Reese and Josh's friends.

Work in Progress was published by Booktrope in 2013 and is available from Amazon and Book Depository.

This book was given to Love Reading Romance in exchange for an honest review.