Barely Even Friends

Alcove. Jun. 2024. 336p. ISBN 9781639107797. pap. $18.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
DEBUT Bennett offers a steamy, modern “Beauty and the Beast” retelling. Bellamy Price is the daughter of a famous house restoration expert, and the crumbling Killington Estate is her chance to make her own mark in the industry. Grumpy caretaker and heir Oliver Killington has been living at the estate nearly alone since the death of his parents in a car accident a decade ago and does not welcome the hiring of Bellamy by his grandfather. During the six months Bellamy and Oliver spend together for the renovations, they go from enemies to something more, but Bellamy has spent her life making homes for other people and then moving on, while Oliver still blames himself for the past. The novel’s relationships between the main and supporting characters are interesting, but how the other residents of the house came to be there could have been further developed.
VERDICT While the story delves into some difficult family relationships, Bennett’s debut is a good fit for those who enjoy sexy contemporary fairy-tale retellings and grumpy/sunshine tropes.
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