Rating: 4.5 Stars
I can’t resist a book set in my beloved home state of Ohio, nor can I resist reading about professions that differ wildly from my own. Kerry Rea’s Lucy on the Wild Side takes place behind the scenes at the Columbus Zoo, so I never stood a chance at keeping it off my TBR.
Lucy is a passionate gorilla keeper who grew up aspiring to be like her hero — and surrogate mother figure, seeing as hers wasn’t really in the picture — Charlotte Kimber. Her mother may be a once-famous actress, but Lucy would strongly prefer never to be on that side of the camera. Which is probably why she’s not so thrilled when her hero’s son, Kai Bridges, chooses her zoo as the site for his popular show’s next season. Lucy tries to balance avoiding Kai and his cameras with angling after a promotion, but of course, nothing ever goes entirely to plan.
I confess I didn’t expect to love this book as much as I did. Enemies to lovers isn’t my trope of choice, and I expected the TV element to play a much bigger role than it did. But this book is a hilarious delight from start to finish, with a solid emotional core. Sure, it’s a romance, but Lucy is also working to heal some deep wounds and overcome her fears, both of the camera and of being away from beloved gorilla Zuri for any extended period of time. We really see her grow and change over the course of the book, with some hard-learned lessons along the way. Not to mention plenty of Diet Coke and cinnamon rolls.
This is a great book for fans of enemies to lovers romance, stories about personal growth and ambitious career-driven women, and anyone who loves animals. There’s definitely some tough stuff re: Lucy working in a zoo, so if you’re sensitive to potential risk to animals, it may be a tough hang for you at times.
On the whole, Lucy on the Wild Side is one of my favorite reads of the year so far, and all I can say is, “wowza!” (If you know, you know).
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