Monday, August 15, 2016

Review: A Brit on the Side by Brenda St John Brown

A Brit on the Side by Brenda St John Brown
Series: Calder Castle #1
Published: August 15th, 2016
Publisher: Self-published
Genre: Contemporary New Adult Romance
294 pages (eARC)
Acquired this book: From the author in exchange for honest consideration
Warning: May contain spoilers
{GoodReads || Buy this book: Amazon US ~ Canada || Chapters/Indigo}

Bea’s English escape plan:
• Work in a real British castle
• Quality time with bestie
• Figure out what spotted dick really is
Fall for bestie’s older brother. Hard.

Bea Gillespie would rather do anything than teach summer school math two classrooms down from her ex-fiancĂ©. So when her best friend, Scarlett, invites her to England for the summer to work in her family’s castle-turned-hotel, she jumps at the chance.

Now Bea’s an ocean away from her problems at home, but she’s got a bigger one. A British one. Scarlett’s older brother, Jasper, is at Castle Calder for the summer, too. And he’s as sexy and smart as Bea remembers. Two years ago Jasper came stateside, and he and Bea shared a hot weekend. But that’s all it was — a weekend. One she purposely didn’t tell Scarlett about.

It didn't feel like much of a secret until now. As Bea falls for Jasper, what started off as a fling begins feeling more and more like the kind of thing you’d gush about to your best friend. If you hadn’t been lying to her all along.

Brenda St John Brown knocked it out of the park with her 2014 New Adult debut, Swimming to Tokyo, and she’s done it again with A Brit on the Side. Being obsessed with all things British, I couldn’t wait for this book, and it didn’t disappoint. Right from the beginning, I wished I could be at Castle Calder with Bea and the gang, working for the summer and falling for a cute Brit.

What I love best about St John Brown’s books is the complex, believable characters. These characters - as well as their dialogue, actions, and situations they’re in - are so real. They’re flawed and realistic, which made me love them even when they did things that pissed me off. Bea was a fantastic character; she was strong to begin with, but over the course of her summer in England, she learned and grew so much. I appreciated the way the author tackled Bea’s body issues - as someone who’s always been overweight and self-conscious about it, I connected to that aspect of Bea’s character. It was fun and rewarding to watch her gain independence and confidence, learn important lessons that were often difficult and painful, and also watch her fall for Jasper.

Speaking of Jasper...Oh, Jasper. *sigh* I loved how he wasn’t perfect. He wasn’t full of smooth, romantic lines or grand gestures. He was just a regular guy, and he made mistakes, did and said some stupid things, and even made me doubt him at times, but ultimately I loved him, partly because of those things. I enjoyed his relationship with Bea and how it wasn’t easy. The will-they-won’t-they pull added nice tension, and there were some hella sexy and steamy moments between him and Bea that I sure enjoyed!

Besides Bea and Jasper, A Brit on the Side was full of wonderful side characters. Everyone had a purpose, which I appreciated. Going back to what I was saying about St John Brown’s ability to write complex characters, she’s also spot on with her portrayal of realistic friendships and relationships. There were ups and downs, bumps in the road, things that made you wonder if everything would turn out okay, and I loved that because it reflected real life. It was easy to immerse myself in the world of Castle Calder and imagine I was friends with these characters. In fact, I got so emotionally invested that I happy-cried like a baby through the last chapter of the book.

Full of layered, realistic characters and situations, plus as many giggles as swoons, A Brit on the Side is the perfect summer escape.

Read my 5-star review of Swimming to Tokyo
Buy Swimming to Tokyo:  Amazon US ~  Canada || Chapters/Indigo

Have you read A Brit on the Side? What did you think? If you haven't read it, do you plan to? Have you been to England? Ever stayed in a castle? What's the best summer job you've ever had?

1 comment:

  1. Sounds cute. And you can't beat a book that takes place in England.


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