Review of ‘Heart failure’ by Chris Zett
Dr. Jess Riley is a successful cardiologist who has just given birth to a baby daughter. She is single but determined to balance a demanding professional career with motherhood. However, when she is diagnosed with acute heart failure, she is forced to take time off and go back home to live with her mother. But Jess’s mother already has a tenant, struggling artist Lena Walker, and Jess isn’t happy about it. Jess is distrustful of Lena but slowly both women start to leave their differences aside to form a tentative friendship with benefits. Will they have a happily ever after?
‘Heart failure’ is part of the universe of Ms. Zett’s debut ‘Irregular Heartbeat’ and it starts by retelling a scene from the end of that book but, this time told from Jess’s point of view. Despite the repetition, this is a standalone novel though I recommend reading ‘Irregular Heartbeat’ because, in my opinion, it is the best of the two. Despite the title and the cover (but not the blurb), this is not a medical romance per se. It’s true that one of the protagonists is a doctor and there are a couple of scenes set in a hospital environment but don’t expect much in the medical drama department. If you need to put a label on this story, it could be a lesbian enemies-to-lovers romance book.
It’s hard not to compare this book with its predecessor as they share the same universe and some of the characters of ‘Irregular Heartbeat‘, especially Diana, have a very important role in this novel. Compared to the previous book, the leading couple didn’t appeal to me that much. Jess is a hard-to-love character, at the beginning she seems self-centered and cold, but eventually, the readers witness her transformation into a more agreeable woman. While I understand that motherhood and a serious illness change people so her transformation is justified, it took me a long time to warm to her. Lena, on the other hand, is a lovable and patient woman who had a difficult childhood. I felt she was too good to be true and definitely, too good for Jess. So, for me, the chemistry between them was just there but not enough to reach hot levels.
As I had the expectation of a medical romance, I was a bit disappointed that there wasn’t much hospital action. Again, I couldn’t help to compare to the previous book, though this is not the author’s fault. I just couldn’t empathise with the characters’ conflict and I wasn’t invested enough in their relationship. Having said that, I like Ms. Zett’s writing style and will definitely read her next book.
Overall, an ok enemies to lovers romance book, 3.5 stars.
ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.