Published by St. Martin's Griffin on March 1, 2022
Source: Audiobook, Libro.fm
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
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Harper is anxiously awaiting placement into a top oral surgery residency program when she crashes (literally) into Dan. Harper would rather endure a Novocaine-free root canal than face any distractions, even one this adorable.
A first-year dental student with a family legacy to contend with, Dan doesn’t have the same passion for pulling teeth that Harper does. Though he finds himself falling for her, he is willing to play by Harper’s rules.
So with the greatest of intentions and the poorest of follow-throughs, the two set out to be “just friends.” But as they get to know each other better, Harper fears that trading fillings for feelings may make her lose control and can't risk her carefully ordered life coming undone, no matter how drool-worthy Dan is.
Blood, gore, and extra-long roots? No problem. The idea of falling in love? Torture.
A Brush with Love was kind of hit and miss with me and I’m still very much on the fence about how I feel about it. I found the first half to two-thirds of the book to be boring but the last part of the book definitely picked up for me and lifted it up to a 3.5 rating for me. I listed to the audiobook, which might have contributed somewhat to how I interpreted the characters.
A Brush with Love follows two dental students, Harper and Dan, who meet at school and have an instant connection. (ugh yes insta-love). They both have their own history of grief and trauma and end up embarking on an incredibly slow-burn relationship that quickly made me lose interest. I didn’t particularly feel connected to either Harper or Dan and the first half of the book really felt like a huge drag where nothing really happened – both relationship-wise and plot-wise. I did appreciate the dental theme throughout, as that’s something that I haven’t really encountered before in a novel and it brought an interesting and unique spin.
However, for much of the book, the characters didn’t really seem real to me and their interactions with each other sometimes didn’t feel like genuine interactions. This was particularly the case with interactions between Harper and her friends. I found her friends to be somewhat annoying (though this could have been the audiobook narration) and I just couldn’t really imagine having half the conversations they had with my own friends.
I found it difficult to like Harper as a character. I did appreciate how anxiety and grief were portrayed in this book through her character but I felt like she used it as a free pass to do and say whatever she wanted. I couldn’t really stand how rude she was to her friends at times and she treated Dan quite callously at several points in the book. I did enjoy her character arc throughout the book and she redeemed herself a little by the end of it, though I did wish we could’ve seen a bit more character growth in the novel.
I also didn’t feel connected at all with Dan, though he did come across as a genuine and straightforward person who was very honest about his intentions when it came to Harper. However, I did feel like he was a bit objectified in the book, which distanced me from him even as his character developed throughout the book.
Overall, A Brush with Love was a perfectly fine read if you’re willing to put up with a very slow-burn beginning half. I enjoyed the key themes of family, friendship, grief, mental health and trauma, but my lack of connection with the characters stopped me from fully enjoying the reading experience.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Thank you to Libro.fm for the audiobook.
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