The Spark by Sylvie Stewart
Publisher & Release: Self-published, November 29, 2016
Time and setting: Present Day, North Carolina
Genre: Contemporary Romance/Romantic Comedy
Length: 384 Pages
Heat Level: 2 Flames
Rating: 5 Gold Crowns
When your back is against the wall, can you change the person life’s experiences have molded you to be?
Fiona Pierce is many things to many people. Dutiful daughter to her loving parents, fiercely loyal friend to her very tolerant bestie, half-assed employee to her laundry list of bosses, and dedicated fashion goddess and spreader of good cheer to the world at large. But Fiona is hiding something behind her irresistible smile – something she’s determined to keep to herself.
Mark Beckett doesn’t do complicated. Saddled with lingering baggage from his childhood, Mark sails through life one girl at a time – with frequent gym breaks in between. He likes his life just how it is and doesn’t see any need to change his work-hard/play-hard attitude.
When an unexpected blast from the past threatens to turn his family's life upside down, Mark finds help in the unlikeliest of places – specifically the pint-sized princess who has a knack for pushing his buttons.
Can you overcome your fears and embrace the happiness you might just deserve? And, perhaps more importantly, can you really fall in love with someone who is so damn insufferable?
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Last July, I read Sylvie Stewart’s debut novel, The Fix and absolutely loved it. When Ms. Stewart asked if I would be interested in reading The Spark, I immediately agreed. This is another truly down-to-Earth kind of romance, and I am glad I had an opportunity to read it. Thanks to the author for an ARC.
The Spark is a well-written novel. It’s romantic comedy at its best. The pacing makes this a lightning fast read, yet it did not feel rushed at all. The dialogue zings and the characters have a good amount of depth to them. The plot is realistic and well-developed.
Fiona Pierce is a delightful heroine. She’s snarky and brings a smile to your face. She’s fiercely loyal to her friends and loves her parents. Fiona has a lot of depth to her character that is not normally found in romantic comedy. Her insecurities give her a vulnerable side she is determined to hide from the world, covering it up with humor, but underneath she is a very scared woman, afraid to allow herself to love since she believes she’s too damaged. I just wanted to grab her and hug her close.
Mark Beckett’s character is totally redeemed by the end of the story. Even though he is shallow at the beginning of the book, Ms. Stewart gained my empathy for him by showing his love and loyalty for his family and making him so fun and lively I could not resist his charm. While he has NEVER dated a woman, only had meaningless sexual encounters, he is totally drawn to Fiona’s sparkling personality and can’t follow his own self-imposed rules. I just loved his willingness to change his way of life for Fiona.
The chemistry between Fiona and Mark blasts its way off the page and threatens to burn you up. The down and dirty dialogue between them is off the charts real for their age and keeps the sexual tension going. I could totally see twenty-somethings talking and thinking as these two do throughout this book.
If you enjoy a light-hearted read with strong characters, a humorous story that will put a smile on your face, then you will love The Spark. I can’t wait to read the next book in this delight series. This one will have you laughing so hard it will bring tears to your eyes. Happy reading!