Circling Back to You

Avon. Jul. 2022. 352p. ISBN 9780063069848. pap. $15.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
In Tieu’s (The Donut Trap) second novel, Cadence Lim and Matt Escanilla are coworkers at Prism Realty. While Matt is an extroverted broker with top sales, Cadence works behind the scenes, crunching and analyzing data for Matt and the other brokers. There’s always been a bit of chemistry between them, but they’re not even friends outside of work…until they’re sent to San Francisco to meet with a high-profile client. Both have family in the City by the Bay. Matt is close to his large, extended family and is looking forward to seeing them. For Cadence, the trip coincides with the anniversary of her mother’s death, an event which further distanced her from her brother and father. An argument with her father pushes Cadence into Matt’s hotel suite for the remainder of their trip, and the forced proximity breaks down the barrier between the coworkers. Is this just sex? Or can their relationship outlast the business trip?
VERDICT A workplace romance whose likable, well-developed Asian American protagonists have layered, realistic backstories. The dialogue is witty and insightful, with plenty of entertaining banter. Topics of grief, family relationships, and workplace harassment bring depth to the fast-paced, well-written storyline. A solid addition for libraries, especially those that want to diversify their romance collections.
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