A fun summer read!
First I wanted to say to everyone dealing with this awful heat, please stay as cool as you can and stay safe. Secondly, I notice a couple of mixed reviews of this book by fellow reviewer friends, and with this constant heat putting me on the edge of irritability, I was a little worried about what my opinion might be. My brain is literally melting and I wondered is it too much to ask to read something fun, flirty, and entertaining? Well, thankfully the sapphic fates had this one lined up for me because, besides a bump or two, Guarding Evelyn was basically the fun summer read I was looking for.
Some of you might be familiar with or have a vague recollection of the title of this book. That is because it almost came out last year but was pulled before the main bulk of ARC copies had been released. Only a few had gone out, and I was actually only a couple of hours from getting mine when they went away, crushing my entire state of being:) Not only because I’m a Zak fan, but also because I love bodyguard stories. I love fantasy ones, especial when it’s a lady knight or NB knight guarding the princess, and of course the modern-day bodyguard stories of, let’s say, Radcyffe’s Honor series about the Secret Service (even though they seem to be in some big trouble in real life right now) or the amazing celebrity bodyguard stories, I just love them all. Anyway, I didn’t know why the book was pulled, I was just crushed and when a whole year passed still with no book, I had thought I lost my chance to read the Erin Zak bodyguard book.
Recently, I heard Zak was taking the courageous step of leaving a publishing house to self-publish and when I was offered a chance to read her next book, imagine my wonderful surprise to find Guarding Evelyn in my hands. To say I was excited was an understatement but I also craved answers to its original disappearance and to Zak’s credit, her Acknowledgments section explains what actually happened. The short story is that the book was originally based on The Bodyguard fanfiction. Even though the book was a sapphic romance and almost ready to be released, Zak was still worried that the pace was too close to the original. I have to say that I have so much respect for Zak, and Bold Strokes Books, for airing on the side of caution, and instead of pushing through and just publishing, they stopped and did the right thing. I then have even more respect for Zak for being honest and public about what really happened because a lot of authors come from fanfic roots nowadays so hearing this story might make the difference for another author, another time, another day. Zak then took that book that was pulled, rewrote it and it is now this new Guarding Evelyn we have now. While I didn’t read the first one, I can tell you that this new Guarding Evelyn is absolutely NOT ‘The Bodyguard’ 2.0. This is a new story that I enjoyed reading.
After all that you are probably yelling “well Lex what about the damn book?”! Well, it was just good fun. All it took reading for me was the prologue and I was in. It hooked me right away. I immediately had sympathy and cared about one of our mains. Our other main character could be a little icy, but I love that so she had me too. I was actually surprised that the book felt maybe medium angst but on the lower angst side for a Zak book. It is mostly one character driving you nuts with the push-pull in her mind. And it is a bit much, but with her history, I think it makes sense. You try having her ex-girlfriend and break-up story and not having some serious relationship issues, so I bought it. The important thing was that I enjoyed the chemistry of them as a couple and how it grew stronger as the bodyguard relationship grew since you want that out of this particular trope.
I enjoyed the secondary characters like an ex-con, and a cute kid that is kind of joked about how he is too smart for his age and the advice he is giving which is a theme in most books. I also liked that the book had a little suspense going on. There is a reason a bodyguard is needed so it kept me on my toes a bit, wondering who I could trust, and I liked not knowing.
With this being suspense and having a little mystery element of a stalker, well I’m going to be very careful here not to be spoilerish. There were some things I liked because they made the book feel very original. There was another part that seemed a little suspend disbelief or convoluted but it actually wasn’t really and I totally got it. I’m just a little worried since I think it depends more on what part of the world you live in, and anyway I’m leaving it at that because I don’t want to give anything away.
Overall this ended up being a fun and entertaining romance with a little suspense. If you are a fan of the bodyguard/protectee romance trope, I would definitely recommend this. I’m glad I got the chance to finally read this and I’m excited to see where Zak’s new self-publishing journey takes her. This book is currently available on Kindle Unlimited.
A copy was given for a review.