- 320 pages
- Fake Dating
- Small Town
- A-List Actor
Reviewed by several major book bloggers from Kirkus Reviews to BookRiot (check out The Bodyguard on this BookRiot Recomendation list)
In Katherine Center’s new release, The Bodyguard, Hannah Brooks meets Jack Stapleton, a household name actor who’s just moved into town. Hannah might look like a kindergarten teacher, but she’s far from it—she’s actually a Executive Protection Agent, aka bodyguard ,and Jack is her newest client.
After her mom dies, her boyfriend/co-worker breaks up with her, and her best friend is found sleeping with said boyfriend/co-worker, Hannah is ready to jet off to literally anywhere else. When her boss gives her a new job protecting an A-list celebrity from a middle-aged corgi-breeding stalker in their hometown, she isn’t exactly thrilled–but, it’s just a few weeks and then she can jump onto the next plane to escape…right?
Except, when Hannah meets Jack, she’s pleasantly surprised. He’s nothing like she expected and his only goal isn’t making movies, but to stick around while his sick mom gets better. Hannah’s job is to protect the family (and Jack), but Jack doesn’t want to worry his mom, so they come up with a plan—Hannah will secretly be his bodyguard while pretending to be his girlfriend.
The Bodyguard is an adorably romantic, laugh-out-loud funny comedy with perfect summer vibes.
*sighs* The Bodyguard. Katherine Center’s new release was my pick for my Book of The Month Subscription this month (I’m not sponsored by them but I totally should be because I love BOTM!), and I was so not disappointed. Rom-Coms are probably my favorite genre recently and The Bodyguard did NOT disappoint.
Hear me out– the classic ‘90s, early 2000s, romcom. Pretty Woman. There’s Something About Mary. How To Lose A Guy in 10 Days. Two Weeks Notice. All the best guilty pleasure movies—they don’t make them anymore. I don’t know why, but I’ve noticed the rom-coms in the last 10-15 years have been crap. They’re poorly made and they just don’t live up to the hype (except for a very select few) and they certainly don’t live up to the CLASSICS. But, I’m a millennial so I digress.
The Bodyguard gave me early 2000s rom-com vibes and I’m here for it. The book starts off introducing Hannah’s character, a brunette with an affinity for poorly tailored pantsuits. Early on, Hannah tells us that her mother, who she wasn’t exactly close with, has just passed and she’s struggling to cope. The same night as the funeral, her boyfriend of one year (and fellow bodyguard co-worker) tells her that not only is he breaking up with her—but that he thinks she’s a bad kisser. Hannah’s ready to forget it all ever happened, jump on a plane to Seoul and disappear into her next assignment. But, there’s one caveat–her boss wants her to take some time off.
Reluctantly, Hannah complies and takes four weeks off where she awaits her next mission, chomping at the bit to escape Texas. When she finally is allowed to come back to work, she’s pleased to learn that she’ll be the head bodyguard on a new assignment, until she learns that she’s staying local to protect A-list actor, Jack Stapleton.
The Bodyguard had all the perfect notes of a timeless rom-com and I loved it. While I’m not usually a fan of the fake dating scenario, in this case, it worked. There were a lot of well-thought-out concepts in this book that I enjoyed, and I could easily see it becoming an extremely popular Netflix movie.
There’s several areas of conflict in this book, from Hannah starting off her story breaking off her relationship with Robby, to her mom dying, to Jack’s mom getting sick, and then the stalker issue. Usually this much conflict is too much for a book, but I didn’t feel that way about The Bodyguard. In fact, I think it needed it since there are so many sweet scenes between Hannah and Jack. I actually really enjoyed the fact that Katherine Center brought the conflict to the plotline instead of to Hannah and Jack’s relationship, as many other rom-coms do.
That being said, the conflict scenes have nothing on how hilariously adorable Jack and Hannah’s relationship is. This book is a slow-burn, but it doesn’t feel like it. I normally can’t stand slow burns, but The Bodyguard is broken up well with some fantastic banter. I loved Katherine Center’s sense of humor. I’ve never read any of her other books, so I’m uncertain if this is something she normally adds to her books, but I was literally laughing out loud during certain portions of this novel, especially towards the middle of the book as Hannah and Jack are getting to know each other on the ranch.
I enjoyed that Center included an author’s note in the back of this book that described what she was aiming at for The Bodyguard. She says, in the author’s note, that she hoped that this book was something fun and light for readers that have been struggling because of all of the events in 2020, and I completely get that gist from this novel.
I was 100% in Hannah’s corner and rooting for her and Jack. I loved how fun their relationship was, especially given how uptight Hannah can be, and I really wanted the “ordinary” protagonist to get the happy ending. So often, rom-com characters are pretty blondes, or a character with a super successful, unrealistic job (not that being a bodyguard is entirely realistic), or there’s a makeover element where the main character suddenly comes out of left corner smoking hot. That wasn’t the case for Hannah. She was offered a makeover by her boss, and she turned it down–which I absolutely LOVED and am here for it. Through this whole book, she was unapologetically herself and we need more characters like her.
Now, the one thing that necessarily got me with this book was the first line:
“My mother’s dying wish was for me to take a vacation.”
I understand what the point of this first chapter was, and in establishing Hannah’s need to stop devoting herself to her work so much, but she never really does take that vacation, at least in the way she expects. I wouldn’t necessarily call her time at the ranch with Jack a vacation, even though it certainly seems like it at times. If I had one note, it would probably be about that first chapter. This book was a little disjointed in the beginning and I wasn’t entirely sure where it was going, although it does pick up speed remarkably fast.
The other part I wasn’t necessarily able to figure out was the timing between the beginning and end of this novel. At the beginning, Hannah claims that she gets tickets to Toledo for Valentine’s Day because there’s a special. But when she meets Jack, it’s supposedly Thanksgiving in four to five weeks. So, I’m not entirely sure where the time went there, or if maybe I misunderstood the timeline. If anyone has read this and wants to clear that up for me, I’d be eternally grateful because it’s been driving me crazy since.
While I won’t spoil the ending, The Bodyguard does have a totally unexpected twist towards the end that readers will love. It was not the ending I was expecting and it was totally out of left field—absolutely perfect and exactly what this book needed. That’s all I’m going to say on that. I promise I’ll save my gushing about the twist for friends who have already read the book.
Overall, I really enjoyed The Bodyguard. It’s tough for me to critique this one because I did really love it. Was it a little unrealistic? Sure, but all the best rom-coms are. I loved that Hannah is considered “ordinary” but she ends up being anything but. I loved how funny this book was and how Katherine Center really brought humor to the forefront. There were so many positive attributes to this book that I really enjoyed. I also have to mention here how ADORABLE the cover of this book is. 12/10 the prettiest cover of a book I’ve read this year, and the different fonts inside the book are just as beautiful.
For some reason, though, I didn’t feel as connected to this novel as some other rom-coms I’ve read, and I’m not entirely sure why, so that’s why I’ve decided to knock a half a point off the star rating. I’m wondering if it was the low spice level for me. Either way, it is still one of the most enjoyable rom-coms I’ve read this year and I’ll be recommending it to anyone who loves a good romance.
Not sure what to read next? Check out last week’s review on Moonlight and The Pearler’s Daughter.