Rude Boss Meets His Mouthy Match – Review of “Office Grump” by Nicole Snow

With the craptastic day Sabrina is having she’s entitled to the cinnamon latte she’s enjoying on her favorite park bench. After being “right-sized” out of another advertising job and a measly $40 in her checking account, finding another job soon is critical but right now she just wants to enjoy the sunny day. That would’ve worked except for the too good looking, arrogant suit that ordered her to vacate the bench she was sitting on and make way for his film crew because the good light wouldn’t last much longer. Brina isn’t having what he is selling and his ‘tude is not to be tolerated. Not being one to mince words, she tells the suit what he can do with his problem and then proceeds to decorate his expensive Italian leather shoes with her last mouthful of sugary cinnamon latte. Only then does she vacate ‘his’ park bench.

As CEO and owner of the largest, most successful and prestigious advertising agency in Chicago, Magnus Heron has a reputation for being a shrewd and yes, ruthless businessman and he’s also noted for his unspeakably rude, condescending and sometimes cruel manner, barking orders to whomever he is addressing.  ‘Please’ and ‘thank you’ are not in his vocabulary. But he does take care of his employees and they are unfailingly loyal to him. Given his propensity for ordering people around, it’s no wonder he goes through Executive Assistants (EA) every couple of months and, yes, he has HR looking to hire yet another one for him to badger.

Magnus is struck by Sabrina’s stunning beauty and coupled with her smart mouth, he is intrigued enough to offer her a job as his EA. It’s not hard to believe she turns him down flat until he ups the ante to an unheard of $200,000 a month. That kind of money will solve her problems and then some, even with a demanding ogre for a boss and the long hours it requires. Brina has no qualifications for the job but Magnus is sure she can handle it. And if not, well, he’ll be looking for yet another EA. But she proves to be a fast learner and never complains (within Magnus’ hearing) about the long hours and his oftentimes unrealistic demands. Besides, she gives as good as she gets, never backing down or complaining at his outrageous demands and downright belligerence. Brina keeps her nose to the grindstone, banking her six-figure salary and despising her grumpy boss right up until he shows her his softer side. And then she is lost. What’s a girl to do when her ogre of a boss really isn’t an ogre at all and he kisses like a Greek god? But the bossman is borderline obsessive about avoiding interoffice gossip. Apparently there are skeletons in his closet and he’s determined to keep them there. But when he takes in his teenaged half brother that no one knows about, all bets are off.

“Office Grump” by Nicole Snow is an amusing romantic comedy. Billed as an enemies to lovers romance, I found it amusing but not laugh out loud funny and it could easily have been shortened by a hundred pages with no critical loss in continuity. The character development gives the reader enough background so we understand the motivations and decisions of the dual protagonists. The narrative is delivered in alternating chapters by each of them which is a technique I enjoy. The dialogue is witty and amusing and the plot is adequate, if not unique.

The writing is mostly acceptable but as mentioned, could have done with some judicious editing to cut it from its 425 pages to a more reasonable length. There was far more self-talk than dialogue, dragging on and on, ad infinitum. While I’m on the subject of writing, author Snow needs a good copy editor to correct the dangling modifiers that caused this reader a few times to say “huh?” Her bio says she’s a WSJ “best selling author” which makes me wonder about the criteria for that designation. But then I’m a nitpicky reader and good grammar is important to me, even on KindleUnlimited ebooks. Three stars.

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