Rating: ★★ | 352 pages | Contemporary | Sourcebooks Casablanca | Release Date: 1/29/2019
When retired Marine Reid Griffith’s moving company gets some unexpected good press, Naomi Starr sees them as the perfect client for her new PR firm. She wants to keep it professional since mixing business and pleasure caused her some trouble in the past, but when she meets Reid there is an inescapable instant attraction!
I went on a journey with this book. Marie Harte wrote some of my favorite contemporary romance novels so when I first picked up this book I was excited to be back in her world. The dialogue was snappy, the characters were ambitious and complex, Harte’s knowledge from her own time in the Marines shone but then….this book turned into a giant clunker.
There were just all these weird side storylines that bloated the story and never get fully resolved. We have the poorly executed mentally ill mom plotline, family drama, ex-boyfriend drama, work drama, abusive pasts, oddly aggressive middle-aged man bullies and then they foil a robbery? There are also just so many characters. I’m not sure why we have to meet every mover they hire and get the tedious intricacies of how they work with another mover. I looked it up, none of these movers get their own book and most don’t even have much dialogue.
I was also really irked at just how poorly the inclusivity in the book is executed. It felt like every minority character had a point where they turn to this cishet white man and verbally tell him that they are black or gay or a lesbian. We then get Reid saying he doesn’t care they are a minority (which I think is supposed to make him look like a good guy but saying you “don’t care” someone is a minority is literally the least you can do ) and then we never hear from that person again. I also think it was extremely tone deaf make your one explicitly Latinx character end up being a criminal.
I wanted to like The Whole Package but it left a bad taste in my mouth.
*Received for review from NetGalley