The Rule Book
Have you ever worked a job where the employee handbook would rival the thickest tomes in the Library of Congress? If so, you’ll relate to the heroine of this funny, quirky office romance.
As the newest employee at public relations firm Starr Media, Lainey Taylor, the second assistant to CEO Brogan Starr, gets a crash course in company culture and etiquette via the voluminous employee handbook. After reading page after page of instructions that range from sensible to ludicrous, she determines the author can only be labeled a tyrannical monster.
Or can he? Brogan likes order and runs a tight ship, but that doesn’t mean he’s not tempted by his newest employee. Lainey is smart and capable. She challenges him. And she’s the one person who can make him break his own rules.
This book is more like Chick-Lit than straight contemporary romance. Lainey is the first person narrator throughout, providing the reader with her observations on everything from moving to the big city to where to find the best garlic bread near her office; which is unfortunately taboo according to the Starr Media manual. Lainey is a strong narrator, her voice witty and insightful. I enjoy Chick-Lit, so this was right up my alley, although readers who prefer more of a focus on the relationship development between hero and heroine might grow annoyed with Lainey’s day to day interactions with her roommate and coworkers. For me, her voice and sense of humor worked. The email exchanges between Lainey and Brogan are a hoot and her interactions with her roommate depict female friendship in a positive light.
Lainey initially moves to Seattle in order to secure a job that pays well so that she may financially assist her mother who is undergoing cancer treatment. Lainey’s conflicting emotions in regard to wanting to help her mom financially and wanting to be home to help her with the side effects of her chemotherapy are touching and I teared up more than once at her dilemma.
Brogan is more of an enigma and a somewhat inconsistent character. He’s alternately warm and cold, perhaps signifying his own conflicting emotions. I would have liked to have seen more exploration of his past issues as his need for order in all areas of his life is not adequately explained. Still, he’s the sort of solid guy that Lainey needs while her life is in flux.
Funny, though tinged with sadness as Lainey struggles with being away from her mother during her treatments, The Rule Book is a different sort of romance than readers typically find in category lines. But it’s one I embraced, happy to find a fresh voice that amused me and tugged at my heartstrings. I’m glad I took a chance on a new-to-me author and look forward to reading more from her.