All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Bella’s Impossible Boss – Michelle Douglas

on November 25, 2012

Bella’s Impossible Boss
Michelle Douglas
Harlequin Romance
2012, 192p
Copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley

Bella is the daughter of a wealthy Italian businessman who has been struggling to find her calling in life. She has tried several things and lost interest in all of them but now she thinks that she has found her passion: running a restaurant.

Her father has placed faith in her by appointing her restaurant manager of his new hotel, to be built in Newcastle on the coast of New South Wales. Bella is heading up there to begin putting all of her exciting plans into place but there’s just one little spanner in the works: her boss, Dominic Wright.

Dominic grew up on the wrong side of the tracks and now he craves stability and commitment more than anything else. He grew up having little and he will never not be without a roof over his head ever again. He isn’t keen to be babysitting the boss’ daughter, especially with her track record! What he wants is to get this hotel off and running, up off the ground and turning over successfully so that he can be off to his next project. He doesn’t stay long in one place, always moving on to the next challenge. When he and Bella are booked into an apartment together for their stay in Newcastle, there looks to be trouble. The sparks are firing between them but they’re two very different people with two very different goals and outlooks. Bella is looking for The One, the fairytale and Dominic is a love them and leave them type. Someone is going to get hurt.

I requested this Harlequin Romance (not my usual sort of read) from NetGalley because it’s set in a place I hold so dear – Newcastle in NSW, Australia. I lived there from 2003-mid 2006 and I absolutely loved every minute of it and if I could, I’d move back there in a heartbeat! Unfortunately my husband’s work keeps us pretty much tethered to this locality but I will be back there for the first time in 5.5 years next month, just for a night (alone!) with my husband and I cannot say how much I’m looking forward to being there again! And this book only increased my desire to be there again, as I recognised beaches and familiar landmarks and both Bella and Dominic discovered a love for the city.

However while I loved the location and the passion devoted to it, I didn’t much like either of the characters in this one. Bella comes across as a spoiled little rich girl who is supposed to have some hidden depth and drive and motivation and a plethora of abandonment issues relating to the loss of her mother in her teens and some misunderstandings with her father and her desire not to let him down but it was immediately obvious that she had very little experience in negotiating with her boss. She was late to the meeting, hadn’t even read through the information provided and couldn’t really give her father or Dominic much of an idea about her plans and then wondered why Dominic wasn’t particularly enthused about having to work with her. When he shoots down an exorbitant budget of hers later in the novel, she just about has a tantrum like a toddler, because how dare he, as her boss, responsible for sticking to the budget her own father stipulated, deny her what she wants? Dominic has to basically take her by the hand and sit her down and get her to think of other ways in which she can accomplish what she wants, or something close to it. Isn’t this her job? She’s supposed to be the restaurant manager, but the amount of times Dominic is basically the restaurant manager is hefty. Bella is also a 25 year old virgin, and much is made about that in this book even though I don’t know why anyone cares.

Dominic is the sort of driven businessman that comes from a childhood of not having enough to survive. His father was too fond of a drop and also too fond of finding a woman, marrying them and ending up losing half of what he had (or more) in the resulting divorce. As a result, Dominic is deeply cynical, unbelieving in love, bedding a never-ending stream of women and riding off into the sunset. I could better understand Dominic than I could Bella, but I do think that Bella had a good influence on him, particularly when she took him into Newcastle and made him see the city and what it was about in order for them to offer their customers something special. Dominic didn’t really care about the surrounding area, he just wanted to get his job done and then leave, so I think that Bella helped him see that sometimes, in order to better your work, you have to provide more than just a service, you have to provide that personal touch.

The romance between them though, if you can call it that, wasn’t really to my taste! I like a well developed relationship that progresses and develops the characters, this one felt rushed at the end. Ignoring your feelings only gets you so far and then the way in which he rectified it would’ve had a lot of women screaming in terror. But Bella thought it was romantic.

I did love all the glimpses I got of my old city in this one and it was worth reading for that alone.


Book #245 of 2012

I wasn’t sure whether to count this one or not because I’m not sure if the author still lives here but she did live here, and completed her Bachelor’s degree at the University of Newcastle (my old uni!) so ultimately I decided to include it. It’s the 80th novel read and reviewed for the Australian Women Writers Challenge!


2 responses to “Bella’s Impossible Boss – Michelle Douglas

  1. It’s a shame the romance wasn’t well developed and Bella wasn’t a particularly likeable character. I have one of the author’s titles on my TBR shelf that i won recently.

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