Personal Assistance appealed to me because of its volatile Middle East setting: an Arab nation on the brink of civil war and the book description’s promise of action, danger and romance. The author does not disappoint in regards to the book’s vivid descriptions of this place, its customs, and the barrage of dangers Hannah and Tom face in their endeavors to escape Prince Hakeem’s clutches. Because Hannah has inadvertently discovered secret intelligence that may prove vital in swaying the outcome of this war, she and Tom must work together to relay this Intel and get back to the safety of Britain. Time is of the essence and, overall, the author keeps the story moving at an effective pace so my interest never waned.
The relationship between Tom and Hannah is tenuous at best when they meet. Both are desperate and united by their mutual need for each other’s help. Tom is a member of SAS, Britain’s elite Special Forces, and he has the training and expertise to keep Hannah safe and get her out of the country. Moreover, Tom has a vested interest in helping Hannah because she’s his ticket back into his commander’s good graces and his means of proving his competence in the field. After Tom’s last mission went awry, he was pulled from active duty, but if he can deliver the information Hannah has back to his CO, his actions may go a long way in restoring his reputation. In the beginning, Tom and Hannah are wary of each other’s motives, and the elements of trust and fear of betrayal are primary themes that consistently arise as the story progresses.
However, there are some aspects of the book that proved problematic for me. First of all the intensity of this couple’s romance is too much, too soon, and their HEA is too fast for me to truly believe. Are they infatuated with each other? Definitely. But true love? No.
Second, the resolution of the climax seems rushed. Throughout the book, the author is descriptive and detailed until the end, when her narration shifts into a “telling” rather than “showing” mode.
Furthermore, although I expected the villains in the book to be flat two-dimensional characters, I had hoped the hero and heroine would be more dynamic and well-rounded than they are actually depicted. Readers get enough of both Tom’s and Hannah’s backstories to help understand how both ended up in the Middle East, but, for me, their circumstances seemed somewhat contrived. I just didn’t feel a strong connection to either of them, as if they were real people I might meet. I do, however, appreciate the dominant traits that define Hannah as spirited and determined while the quiet, reserved Tom is a man of courage and honor.
Source: I received an ARC ebook from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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