London Bound by C.J. Duggan

In brief: Kate was planning to go to London to take on the city. She didn’t expect to be a virtual prisoner in her nana’s house. But when next door neighbour Jack Baker nearly runs her down, things start to change for the better…

The good: So much – Jack. London. Fashion. Even grumpy Nana Joy.

The not-so-good: I devoured this book faster than a Crème Egg.

Why I chose it: Really enjoyed the other Heart of the City novels, thanks to Hachette for the copy.

Year: 2017

Pages: 322

Publisher: Hachette

Setting: London

Rating: 8.5 out of 10

C.J. Duggan’s Heart of the City series is like an all-chocolate buffet – I simply can’t get enough of this new adult series of standalone books about young women in a big, beautiful city. I was eagerly awaiting the release of London Bound as it’s one of my favourite cities to read about. The story certainly doesn’t disappoint, mixing fashion, elegant hotels and a hot gentleman.

We first briefly met Kate in Paris Lights, holed up in her grandmother’s house in London. Back then, we had an inkling that something wasn’t right in Kate’s life. But as she tells her story, we know that her London dream is more like a nightmare of boredom. It sounded really cool, staying with her grandmother in a hip part of London. But Nana Joy is anything but – she wants Kate in her sight at all times. But after their next door neighbour Jack Baker nearly runs her down in his Aston Martin, Kate’s life is about to change for the better. First, Nana Joy’s carer Vera conspires to get her out of the house – which ends up as a cider covered disaster with Jack! But then there’s the secret discovery that sets Kate’s creative juices flowing for her blog and who better to help than Jack?

London Bound is a little more sweet than steamy than the other books in the series, perhaps because Kate herself is a bit more sweet and quiet. I found her quite refreshing. She doesn’t talk back to everything, only where the situation truly deserves it. She is also focused about bringing her blog forward with a rebadging as ‘Kate on the Thames’ on life in London. Jack is a bit of an enigma, but like Kate I didn’t question where he got the money for the Aston Martin from nor his exceptional IT skills. He’s just a regular guy, with a knack for the sweet and thoughtful, in addition to charming elderly ladies. But I have to say that my favourite character of all was Nana Joy. She has exactly what she thinks, especially if it isn’t complimentary. It’s not clear what her bitterness is due to (or if it’s just lack of a tact filter) but there are some signs that she’s bitter about succumbing to age. I loved how she could stop a room with just a few words. (Plus, she has the best wardrobe ever!)

As for the romance, again it starts off very sweet with a friends to lovers theme. Given the close proximity of their balconies, it soon turns to a steamier, sneaky romance between Jack and Kate. The finale of the ball and the misunderstanding was a little more understated than I originally thought. Kate accepts Jack’s apology very quickly (but then again, why wouldn’t you with the Presidential Suite of a 5 star hotel at your disposal) and I thought there might be some jealousy with the other women directed towards Kate. Still, it’s a sweet end to a sweet story.

I’ve really enjoyed this series and I hope there are more to come. They are a wonderful escape read that I love to binge on.

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