I received a copy from the publisher for review
Title: The Hating Game
Author: Sally Thorne
Published: 9th August 2016
Synopsis: Nemesis (n.)
1) An opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome.
2) A person’s undoing
3) Joshua Templeman
Lucy Hutton has always been certain that the nice girl can get the corner office. She’s charming and accommodating and prides herself on being loved by everyone at Bexley & Gamin. Everyone except for coldly efficient, impeccably attired, physically intimidating Joshua Templeman. And the feeling is mutual.
Trapped in a shared office together forty (ok, fifty or sixty) hours a week, they’ve become entrenched in an addictive, ridiculous never-ending game of one-upmanship. There’s the Staring Game. The Mirror Game. The HR Game. Lucy can’t let Joshua beat her at anything-especially when a huge new promotion goes up for the taking.
If Lucy wins this game, she’ll be Joshua’s boss. If she loses, she’ll resign. So why is she suddenly having steamy dreams about Joshua, and dressing for work like she’s got a hot date? After a perfectly innocent elevator ride ends with an earth-shattering kiss, Lucy starts to wonder whether she’s got Joshua Templeman all wrong.
Maybe Lucy Hutton doesn’t hate Joshua Templeman. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game.
A refreshing take on what happens when two people who start out hating each other and competing, fall in love, and the journey they take towards their happily ever after, or at least, a happily ever after that could have a few curve balls thrown in. Sally Thorne’s debut takes the reader on a fun journey, where the relationship unfolds as Lucy and Joshua work together, and compete against each other for an upcoming position at their recently merged publishing companies, Bexley and Gamin.
As the romance evolves as a result of the events of the storyline, as a reader, I found that this made the characters more relatable. In allowing her characters to be more than just eye candy and in a will, they, won’t they get together in the end, and in allowing them to teeter on that fine line of hate and love, and compete with each other as colleagues, Sally Thorne has written a realistic story about relationships. Lucy and Joshua’s relationship is not purely built on physical attraction, though that does come into play. Instead, it explores the intellectual games they play at work and out of work – the games that build their relationship, and that start to give the other insight, albeit slowly, into whom the other person is.
Writing in first person from Lucy’s point of view allows the reader to experience it first hand, and paves the way for information to be revealed when the reader and Lucy needs to know. Even though I had an idea of where the story was headed, it was still enjoyable because it avoided the use of clichés such as the perfect main characters or the bad boy, and instant love. Instead, the love evolved from hate to respect and friendship. Joshua wasn’t the typical bad boy. And both characters had depth and complexity that made them who they were and made them relatable.
As a reader who prefers romance as a subplot, I found this story that gave the romance and the other aspects of plot, the office story, refreshing. It allowed me to engage with the characters in a way I could identify with, rather than reading a story about two people who are too perfect for flaws. Here were characters with flaws, with interests beyond each other and with ambitions. It is a well-rounded story, and one I did enjoy reading.