(Full disclosure: I received an audio review copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. Book links are Bookshop.org affiliate links).
Katherine Center’s The Bodyguard has been making the rounds on the bookish internet these days. When I saw that the audiobook was available to request on NetGalley, I was just curious enough to click request. I mean, a book about a modern female bodyguard? Count me in!
The Bodyguard follows focused professional Hannah Brooks on a somewhat unusual assignment — fake dating famous actor Jack Stapleton in order to keep him safe from his stalker without scaring his family.
I can never resist a good fake dating trope or a unique setup like a protagonist whose day job is professional protection, so I had a feeling I was going to enjoy this one. Many thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the advanced listening copy.
What I Liked
The narrative voice (and audiobook narration) is engaging and real. I love Hannah’s quick observations and no-nonsense approach to her work life. She is driven and determined and confident in her ability to do her job well. At the same time, she’s a real person, not a “ponytail too tight” businesswoman stereotype.
Jack is a down-to-earth guy who is charming from his first (shirtless) appearance.
The relationship between the two of them builds naturally and is primarily emotional for the majority of the book. It’s a nice, slow burn that’s clearly about bringing out the best in one another, not just sexual tension.
I won’t spoil anything here but there were definitely a few plot points I didn’t expect, which I really enjoy in a romance since they can be a bit formulaic and predictable.
What I Didn’t Like
Hannah’s ex-boyfriend was a bit of a cliche stereotype of a bad ex, which fell a bit flat considering he was around for much of the book. Ditto the best friend character and some of the other side characters at Hannah’s workplace.
There’s also a bit of a narrative tick that I didn’t notice until about 80% in, but which drove me absolutely bananas once I realized it. Hannah often describes people’s mannerisms with pharses like “He nodded, like, I know” or “She shrugged like, what can you do?” Once I realized how frequently the “like” followed by a description of what the other person might be trying to communicate came up in the text, it became a bit distracting.
Both of these are pretty small complaints, so I think it’s safe to say this one was a winner for me!
In all, I thoroughly enjoyed The Bodyguard and am really glad I chose to listen to it on audio, as it’s incredibly well performed and engaging.
I recommend The Bodyguard to fans of a good fake dating trope, found family, and small town romances. Not to mention those who enjoy a little extra plot action in their romance novels.
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