This review comes from Funmi, one of our favorite people on Twitter and in general. You can find her at @FunmiReadsHEAs.
In my fantasy filled youth, I always dreamed of a steamy stacks interaction. Maturity and reality have since taught me that the logistics of that are completely awkward. However, luckily I’m a member of romancelandia where fanciful fantasies can heat up the pages and almost give you the real thing. Charish Reid’s Hearts on Hold is a delicious, heartfelt, and comical dive into a sweet opposites-attract romance between two very different yet completely compatible book-worms.
Dr. Victoria Reese completely captured my heart. She’s incredibly high-strung and controlling to the nth degree. Dr. Reese is a black woman navigating the highly discriminatory and stressful world of academia. She exerts twice the effort and frets over every tense interaction. Charish Reid reveals a glimpse into the very tense but common work pressures that black women operate under. I found myself holding my breath during the strained interactions with her narrow-minded boss. I squeezed my eyes shut and often volleyed between “No, don’t say that!” and “Forget this, defend yourself!” It’s challenging when a book is so accurate you feel like a fly on the wall. Charish Reid’s writing had me rooting for Dr. Reese’s much deserved HEA.
Insert the dashing, nonchalant Mr. John Donovan. The flirty librarian is just what the doctor ordered for...the Doctor! He’s the head of the local library’s children’s department. Dr. Reese needs his expertise for a proposal, but little does she know he’s an expert at more than just children’s literature. It’s incredibly heartwarming and comical to see Dr. Reese let her hair down with John. My favorite part of this book was that John already knew how to be good for a black woman. John is navigating being a temporary dad for his angsty black niece. His step-mom, sister, and niece are black and mean the world to him. Dr. Reese has enough to deal with in her career. She doesn’t need a partner that also requires her to teach them how to treat her with dignity.
These characters are not perfect. Dr. Reese is a control freak who is scared to commit. John is a disorganized open-book navigating parenting, ADHD, and now love. It was refreshing to read about two fallible characters doing the work to communicate and bridge their opposite dynamics into a real relationship.
Charish Reid delivers a sexy and real romance between two-characters who successfully navigate society’s and their own hang-ups to find happiness with each other.
Content Warnings: ADHD, Racism, Sexism, Cheating (not main characters)