Sparks Can Burn You – ARC Review of “When Sparks Fly” by Helena Hunting

Avery and Declan have been best friends since college so  co-owning a condo was a natural progression of their relationship. Their careers are separate but most everything else is an extension of their friendship. That is, until Declan forgets his promise to drive Avery to her alumni reunion. He forgot because he over imbibed and brought his date home and now he’s hung over. On her way to the reunion Avery is rear-ended and the next time Declan sees her is in the ICU, her athletic little body battered and broken. He is consumed with worry and yes, guilt that his best friend is suffering because he failed her. So he sets about trying to atone for his sins by taking care of Avery himself, even though her two sisters want to bring her home to Spark House, the event destination the three sisters own and operate.

Declan and Avery are forced to confront their mutual feelings because of the intimacy of their respective roles, his as caregiver and hers as the patient. As her recovery progresses, it isn’t long before the lines between them blur to where they are all but indistinguishable. Forced to acknowledge their feelings for each other they glory in their new emotional bond until their pasts get in the way and complicate the situation. Can Declan get beyond the horrible example set by his parents?  Is there nothing Avery can do to salvage their friendship and avoid the train wreck their relationship is heading for?

I’ve read several of Helena Hunting’s novels and loved them all but “When Sparks Fly” is in my opinion, the best so far. It is so much more than your run-of-the-mill Rom Coms. The characters come to life and feel like old friends now. The witty dialogue is sometimes laugh out loud funny and at times, moving in its poignancy. I laughed and cried and commiserated with both Declan and Avery as they confront their feelings and cope with the reality of their relationship and the bigger fear of losing their best friend.

Hunting’s writing is always fresh and original and that originality shines in this friends to lovers story.  Even though the three sisters in business together in destination and event planning has been done before, it merely serves as a backdrop to the real plot which is the development and evolution of Avery and Declan’s relationship. The characters are refreshingly complex and as likely to mess up and make poor decisions as you and I are and we love them in spite of their foibles. And did I mention the sexy love scenes? Ooh la la! Careful you don’t get too close ’cause “When Sparks Fly” you could get burned. Four and a half stars.

The expected publication date is September 21, 2021 so check with your favorite bookseller and reserve a copy. This is one you don’t want to miss. My thanks to Net Galley and St. Martin’s Press for providing me with an Advanced Readers Copy. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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