Title: Hot Copy
Author: Ruby Barrett
Published: April 13, 2021
Publisher: Carina Press
Content warnings: workplace sexual harassment, death of a parent, cancer, grief
I received a copy of Hot Copy from Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
A meet-cute gone wrong is the start of a surprising courtship in this fresh, modern take on the workplace romance from debut author Ruby Barrett
Corinne Blunt knows what people think of her—she’s an icy, unapproachable executive. It’s the price she’s had to pay to get to the top. But there’s knowing you have a reputation in the office, and there’s hearing your new intern laugh when someone calls you “Blunt the C*nt” in the elevator on his first day.
She’d hoped to finally find an ally in Wesley Chambers, but she’s not about to let him off the hook for joining the office boys’ club. Taking refuge in the professional boundaries between them, she relegates Wes to assistant work—which would do the trick, if he weren’t so eager to prove he’s a decent human being.
Wes is sincerely apologetic, insisting it was a misunderstanding, and to her surprise, Corinne believes him. Being forced to work together was one thing, but long hours at the office with what turns out to be a kind, thoughtful man soon has their business relationship turning personal, and things get complicated—fast. Could this be something more serious than either of them dared to hope for? Or is their relationship just playing into the harmful power dynamics Corinne’s had to endure her entire career?
I’ll admit, I have conflicting thoughts on Hot Copy, which I’d initially requested because I do enjoy a good workplace romance. I’m not sure if the content warnings were included initially in the synopsis when I first requested it or not (and if they were I completely missed them), but I think they’re hugely important to anyone considering picking up this book, mostly because if you’re thinking you’re going to get a light-hearted workplace romance, you’re going to be completely blind-sided.
Hot Copy is the workplace romance between Corinne and her new intern, Wesley. And their meet cute is horrendous and honestly had me wondering if I was going to enjoy the book. Which I did, but perhaps not for the romance.
Corinne is a prickly heroine who has been dealing with workplace sexual harassment for almost her entire career. Forced to be tough as nails, and branded as worse by her male colleagues, she’s fighting to just do her job well and be acknowledged for something other than her gender. When she first crosses paths with Wes, he’s brand new to the company and gets caught up unintentionally in a conversation with another intern, chauvinistic Mark, and being out of his depth, he’s blindsided by the comments Mark makes and Corinne mistakes his uncomfortableness for compliance. She then spends the first part of the book making his life a misery.
Wes is a total cinnamon-roll of a hero, who’s dealing with a ton of grief after putting his life on hold for two years to be the full-time carer for his mother in her terminal battle with cancer. The internship is his chance to get his life back on track and then he comes up with the formidable Corinne.
Now, I enjoyed both characters. Wes a little more, but only because I have a soft-spot for cinnamon roll heroes, but I respected the very tight-spot that Corinne was in. What I struggled with a lot was their dynamic. There is a significant power imbalance between the two of them – she’s his boss and they can’t be open about their relationship, and the back and forth really bothered me. Which is a bit of a problem in a romance, because part of me never really believed they could make it work.
I did like that it tackled the huge issue of workplace harassment and showed that the path isn’t always easy for women to stand up and hold the people responsible to account. Corinne was trying to do her job in the boy’s club, while dealing with her own personal issues and trying to keep a secret boyfriend. Had we spent more time on either the relationship or the workplace issues, I think I would have found it less jarring each time we switched theme.
It’s not a bad book – in fact, I think it’s doing some important work, but it was only just okay in the end for me.