NetGalley Review: “Know You by Heart” by Tif Marcelo

Series: Heart Resort #2

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Steam: 🔥🔥

Release Date: April 5th, 2022

Add to Goodreads | Amazon.in (Available in KU)

CW/TW: mentions of an ectopic pregnancy

As the oldest child in his family, Chris Puso has always taken his responsibilities seriously. He’ll do whatever it takes to ensure Heart Resort’s success. Four and a half years ago, that meant marrying Eden, a woman he admired but didn’t love, to access a family trust that benefited them both.

Eden Puso, a.k.a. romance author Everly Heart, believes in true love—in her novels, at least. But her marriage to Chris was more about funding her writing career and supporting her family than finding her happily ever after. And despite their mutual attraction toward one another, they stayed loyal to the contract…for the most part.

With six months until the end of their contract and with their careers taking off, their marriage of convenience has become, well, a little inconvenient. A competing resort threatens to usurp Heart Resort, and Chris and Eden band together to preserve its reputation, including doing a retreat themselves. But as the retreat uncovers their history and their hidden love for one another, can their relationship survive so their partnership reaches its natural conclusion?

 

I fell in love with the Puso family when I read It Takes Heart last year and I really enjoyed reconnecting with all of them. I was definitely curious about Chris and Eden through all the little glimpses we got of them in book one and now that we finally get their whole story, I’m even more curious to see what else we have in store for us!

Know You By Heart is a marriage of convenience that turns into a marriage in crisis, forced proximity, slow burn romance that features a CEO marrying a romance novelist so they can both achieve what they’ve set out to do with their lives. Chris and Eden were so interesting and while I was confused about the flow at first, I have to say that I really liked that after the first chapter, the book picks up right when the conflict and crisis in their marriage kicks in. The author took a familiar set of tropes and twisted it up to keep you on your toes!

When she overhears a conversation Chris is having with the family lawyer about his trust coming to him only if he’s married, she suggests that they get married. After all, being married will benefit them both. They don’t have to love each other, anyway. So they draw up a contract with all kinds of rules and stipulations and they get married. Only their best friends know the truth, to everyone else it looks like they’re happily married and chugging along. Fast forward to four and a half years later, and things are steady, but all kinds of chaos starts mounting. With a rival resort poking at Chris in hopes of buying him out, things escalate. The Heart Resort is famous for their couples retreats to guide relationships in the right direction, so to preserve the family business, Chris and Eden participate in the retreat. Except, all the things they’ve been holding back and hiding suddenly comes to the surface and things get a little difficult before they can get better.

While the book felt slow and repetitive at times, I really love the whole concept of The Heart Resort and what they set out to do with couples. So that element of the story really got me excited. With flashbacks to show us how the relationship started and builds, you get a better feel for Eden and Chris’ relationship—it’s contractual, but it’s also got all of the feels that they keep ignoring. It’s helped Eden build her career as a romance novelist under the name Everly Heart and it’s allowed Chris to work on the resort without people breathing down his neck. But their relationship has taken a hit. And I loved that you could feel just how much work was going into putting on this show regularly. I also liked seeing the moments when they slipped up and did or said something that would completely upend the balance they’ve set in place.

There were a lot of moving parts, with moments of the other siblings and the mystery behind Beatrice’s life and everything to do with Gil. I did miss seeing a lot of Brandon and Geneva, but given that they got their own book, I think we can let them have their peace and quiet. I’m definitely curious to see what happens with the remaining two siblings, because I love their family dynamics. I love how they come together every single time and try to fix things as a family, as opposed to doing things individually and then announcing what they’ve done.

Thanks to Tif Marcelo, Montlake and NetGalley for the advance copy. I am voluntarily leaving an honest review.

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