Remember in my prior review (yeah, I doubt it, but I do) when I said that I had that I was feeling awfully grumpy at contemporary and this unknown to me author named Talia Hibbert crumpled up that feeling, threw it in my face then lit it on fire?
That.She is, without a doubt, a fresh (to me) voice in contemporary romance. There's something so true and stripped, yet beautiful about her style. Elegant with a flare of humor, minimalist with a touch of whimsy. As I've read her books I've felt more than with other authors who are low angst that the arc is a little different. It's not the why or despite-all-odds getting together love stories. It's a romance about how two people find each other, stripped bare, and become each other's. It's simple, it deals with the essentially mundane of a couple falling in love and deciding to be together, yet both books I've read of hers feel unique and like nothing I've ever read before. (And great humor!)
In Damaged Goods, we have Laura-wife of Daniel-becoming herself after surviving her marriage to Daniel. Her backstory is intricately woven in the story, but it doesn't detract or consume or add dependency to Samir and Laura's relationship (second chance type), it just is. It's painful, it's real, but it's something the couple deals with as a couple
and moves on. Samir is lovely too, and like Evan comes off a bit too perfect. I'm left feeling I know the heroines a touch better than the heroes thus far in her books (we did have his back story it didn't seem to be integral, if that makes sense)...but for me that isn't really a bad thing. That said, though Samir was a bit infallible, you can't help loving him or his smitten, torch-carrying self. Laura and her friendship with Ruth are highlighted, and so is a delicate balance of coming off one relationship into another. This 'rebound' wouldn't always play well with this backstory, but again, here it just is. We also get a glimpse of Hassan, Samir's brother and I have to say I would've loved to meet him and his husband in the story. I loved that interaction, and it added to Samir's character.
Honestly, two more perfect and idealized heroes have never existed in my mind (Ravenswood are her only books I've read), so I guess a kudos for that. I do have a strong desire to see one of her heroes with a really rough edge though, I believe Hibbert is the kind of author who could write me into love with anyone.
Parts of it are quite *ahem* hot, so you won't be disappointed there.
All this said, though Hibbert's Ravenswood series have become a beacon in the sludge of CR I feel like I've been wading through, I'm giving this a 4. It's a novella, though a hefty one, and I can always use a bit more depth. The 4 is also for the perfection of the characters-or at least the heroes. I love the snappy humor and writing style and can't wait to read the backlist & more from this talented author.