Tags: , , , , , , ,

Wendy the Super Librarian‘s review of Oh-So-Sensible Secretary by Jessica Hart
Contemporary romance released by Harlequin Romance 16 Mar 2010

Sometimes all I want is a nice, traditional romance.  No acrobatic monkey sex.  No serial killers stalking the heroine.  No shape-shifting vampire fairy wood nymphs for heroes.  Just boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, boy and girl live happily-ever-after.  You’d think I would have caught a clue and started picking up the Harlequin Romance line before now.  But I didn’t, and that’s where Jessica Hart has been all this time.  Seriously, I could kick myself in the teeth.

Summer Curtis is an executive personal assistant and works for an upscale department store in the London.  She’s Type A, wound a little tight, and is one of those types that lives by the motto “A place for everything and everything in it’s place.”  She’s smart, she’s practical, and extremely good at her job.  She was working at the bottom of the totem pole in the CEO’s office when she gets the opportunity to work for the CEO’s younger brother, Phin Gibson.  Phin is a minor celebrity, having hosted a Survivor-like reality TV show, and has a bit of a reputation as a playboy adventurer.  Summer cannot imagine he’s cut out for a desk job, and she figures he’ll be a trial to work for, but the job comes with a nicer salary, and she’s looking to buy her own flat – which don’t come cheap in the London real estate market.

Naturally it all heads south rather quickly.  Phin is carefree, free-spirited, and not your typical executive office-drone.  Summer is the kind of person who cannot abide clutter, lives and dies with an appointment book in her hand, and is very buttoned-up.  As the reader we know that these two opposites are perfect for each other.  Phin teaches Summer to let loose every now and again, and Summer teaches him that structure and organization aren’t four-letter words.

By my count I’m one of five romance readers who adore first-person narration.  If there’s anything that’s going to hold readers back from trying this story, that would be it – as it’s told entirely from Summer’s point of view.  Here’s the important thing though: there’s a world of difference between excellent first person, and terrible first person.  Hart writes the former.  I never, for one moment, missed Phin’s point of view because the author does such a good job telling me the story from Summer’s perspective and in turn, her character does a good job of showing me Phin through her eyes.  It’s quite lovely, and the author does a bang-up job.

What I truly loved was the Phin and Summer talk to each other.  There are no silly misunderstandings, no big secrets, no nonsense mucking up the works.  The conflict is largely provided by the fact that they are so different in personality, and in a past relationship disaster that Summer is still licking her wounds from.  I also loved that by the end of the story, Summer realizes some things about herself, and that her falling in love with Phin doesn’t magically fix all of her issues.  She grows as a person, has new adventures, and falls in love, all over the course of this slim little book.  Seriously, does it get any better than that?

I loved this story.  I loved it so much I want to marry it, have babies with it, and toss all my other books out the window so I can reread again without feeling TBR Guilt.  I firmly believe that category romance, done right, is one of the most joyous reading experiences a romance reader can have.  That’s what I felt when I finished this story.  Pure, unadulterated joy.  It’s simply, breathtakingly wonderful.

Wendy TSLGrade: A


You know when you meet the most gorgeous guy and get butterflies in your stomach? Well, that’s what it felt like the first time I, Summer Curtis, laid eyes on my movie-star-gorgeous boss Phin Gibson. I was starstruck!

I’ve got to get a grip! Phin might be delicious, but he’s always late, totally disorganized—my complete opposite! But somehow he’s making me, the oh-so-sensible Summer, want to let down my perfectly pinned-up hair!

Read an excerpt.