Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for the eARC to read and review! The Bodyguard releases July 19, 2022.
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Recommend to Others?: No
ABOUT: She’s got his back.
Hannah Brooks looks more like a kindergarten teacher than somebody who could kill you with a wine bottle opener. Or a ballpoint pen. Or a dinner napkin. But the truth is, she’s an Executive Protection Agent (aka “bodyguard”), and she just got hired to protect superstar actor Jack Stapleton from his middle-aged, corgi-breeding stalker.
He’s got her heart.
Jack Stapleton’s a household name—captured by paparazzi on beaches the world over, famous for, among other things, rising out of the waves in all manner of clingy board shorts and glistening like a Roman deity. But a few years back, in the wake of a family tragedy, he dropped from the public eye and went off the grid.
They’ve got a secret.
When Jack’s mom gets sick, he comes home to the family’s Texas ranch to help out. Only one catch: He doesn’t want his family to know about his stalker. Or the bodyguard thing. And so Hannah—against her will and her better judgment—finds herself pretending to be Jack’s girlfriend as a cover. Even though her ex, like a jerk, says no one will believe it.
What could possibly go wrong???
Hannah hardly believes it, herself. But the more time she spends with Jack, the more real it all starts to seem. And there lies the heartbreak. Because it’s easy for Hannah to protect Jack. But protecting her own, long-neglected heart? That’s the hardest thing she’s ever done.
REVIEW: A good bodyguard rom-com that lost me at times. But I liked the story’s theme of realizing your self-worth, loving yourself, and taking chances.
Hannah is an Executive Protection Agent, the best of the best. This quirky workaholic with an endearing personality often desires escape when things become too much. Sometimes it was hard to grasp who Hannah was and what she really wanted or feared, lots of back and forth. But it’s clear she’s closed off her heart to love or close relationships given the few she has/had. I like her character though and hated seeing her doubt herself or her worth.
Jack is an uber famous actor who has lived isolated and emotionally distant from everyone and everything due to survivor’s guilt after his younger brother’s death. I liked getting to know the real Jack. Not the Jack Stapleton, renowned, beloved, charming actor extraordinaire that everyone thinks they know. But Jack, a simple, ordinary man who loves his family.
Some of the best moments of the story were during the humorous interactions between Hannah and Jack, especially knowing how much of a hardcore fan Hannah is of Jack’s film career. I liked how as they got to know each other better it put their pasts into perspective enough to reconcile and move forward. Because Jack is so widely famous and liked it’s hard for him to relax or be the real Jack. Hannah makes him laugh, happy, and relaxed. Hannah in turn slowly learns that it’s okay to take a break and enjoy life (something we should all remember to do, especially when it comes to work).
To me, there was more telling than showing as a whole. I didn’t like that there wasn’t much guessing or inferencing for the reader to do as it was continuously indicated when something bad or adverse was about to happen. Lots of “and that’s how this” or “I was going to do this” or “I was doing this when blank happened” or “ when blank entered the room” type of language. You learn pretty much far too early on what happened to Jack’s younger brother, Drew, because it’s very obviously said.
I also didn’t like the last 15% of the story. I’m not sure if we needed that last section of tension and pain, especially for Hannah. Didn’t add much value to the story given the state of Hannah and Jack’s relationship at that point. The story could’ve easily ended there. I will say, there was one line in particular that was too real in a good but heartbreaking way. Otherwise, I wasn’t a fan of this section of the book.
All of Hannah’s coworkers (except for one) I adored. Glenn Schultz is the best, grumpy boss ever. Kelly is a hoot. I also adored Connie, Jack’s mom. Despite being diagnosed with cancer, she still shines so bright with such unwavering strength.
So this was a good, maybe okay read. I had some issues with how it was told. But there were enough lighthearted, enjoyable moments that carried me through to the end.
CW: cancer, survivor’s guilt, gaslighting