Shelter My Heart by L.G. O'Connor
The Two Sentence Description: Jenny is summoned home to New Jersey for a family emergency, and it’s a good thing she was—she needs space from the fiancé back in San Francisco who she’s just lukewarm about. A chance encounter with Devon, a millionaire businessman who does Jenny a kindness, spurs her to help him keep his business safe from forces trying to take his company—all she has to do is pretend to be his girlfriend for two weeks.
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series? Standalone in a Serial Universe
Primary Tropes: Fake Romance, Man in Peril, Illness
Secondary Tropes: Return to Hometown, Retribution
What Makes it Stand Out: This book serves up surprise after surprise on top of the fake romance that is introduced at the beginning, showing the reader that there is much more at stake than was originally believed. Early on, it seems like a relationship of convenience—one in which Jenny is enlisted merely to prove to Devon’s Board of Directors that he is leading a normal life of stability. Yet, as the real story unfolds, there are a number of heart-pounding moments.
What You’ll Love About It: “Shelter My Heart” shows characters who act out of love for one another without fail, even before fully understanding, let alone admitting, their feelings for one another. It avoids the common trap of rash, selfish characters who work themselves into dilemmas of their own creation. The beauty of this book is Jenny’s and Devon’s respective maneuvering to each work the other out of sticky situations.
Truisms, Complexities, and Other Themes: As mentioned in my review of “Caught up in Raine”, core themes seen within all of L.G. O’Connor’s “Caught Up in Love” series seem to be settling vs. living your best life, sacrificing for others, and female self-empowerment. “Shelter My Heart” adds on themes that relate to money—Jenny is wary of Devon’s rich lifestyle, but Devon also feels suffocated by his responsibilities. This results in an in an exploration of the true consequences of money and what really matters in life. Ostensibly, Devon has everything, but with money comes specific problems. Skillfully woven in are universal problems—specifically, an illness—that doesn’t discriminate based on wealth.
The Standout Side Character: Devon’s twin sister is a great asset to the book, from both a plot and a character perspective. In an ironic twist of fate, she never stood to inherit the company Devon is trying to save because it was willed to him, the eldest male heir. The interplay between she (the shrewd businesswoman and the real force to be reckoned with) and Devon (the reluctant heir who wishes he were doing something else with his life) is brilliant. She is arguably, the cleverest and definitely the most dynamic character in the book, a powerhouse who is a lot of fun to read.
Our Prediction: This book just released to a ton of great reviews, and the next book in the series, “Surrender My Heart” is coming soon. The first book in the series, “Caught Up in Raine”, won an IPPY. We predict that O’Connor will become more recognized for her uncommon talent for writing vivid standalones in universes that feel connected and cohesive without diverting from the critical path of each individual book.