Title: Hot Desk
Author: Zara Stoneley
Publisher: 31st August 2021 by HarperCollins UK, One More Chapter
Pages: 300 pages
How I Read It: ARC book
Genre: romance, contemporary
My Rating: 4 cups
Same desk, different days. A post-it note is just the beginning…
A must read for fans of Beth O’Leary, Mhairi McFarlane and Sophie Kinsella!
Alice loves her job and wants to keep it – whatever the price. But then she’s told the company is switching to flexible working and hot desking … Alice’s desk might look a mess, but she knows exactly where everything is. Or she did. Until she found out she’s going to share it with the most annoying guy in the office.
Jamie can work from anywhere. He’s quite happy to sweep his work life into a box at the end of the working day. But can sharing a desk with Alice be as much fun as teasing her in person?
With no option but to try it and see, will their relationship turn into open warfare or will it ever progress beyond a post-it note?
‘This is so unfair; this can’t be happening. Not now. All the Covid chaos and living in lockdown hell is finally supposed to be over. I need my job; I need to be back in the office. I need normal. They promised us normal!’
In a post Covid world (well … almost) Alice's office has to down-size and she has to share her desk with co-worker, Jamie. Whilst on the surface this may seem a fun-loving enemy to lovers read, there is in fact much more to this hot desk experience. Yes, there is romance in a fun unique way through post-it notes, however, this also tells the story of personal growth through experience.
‘What matters is what I’m doing with those experiences, what I’ve learned. What matters is the way I live my life today, tomorrow. What matters is who I let in, who I share with, where I draw the lines.’
First off, this is fun … just plain ol’ fun! The post-it notes had me grinning from ear to ear as it was sharp and witty, not all sloppy and sappy. Their written conversations were lively! It was also interesting to appreciate how words can be misconstrued and talking things out is always the best way forward.
‘You never really know people, do you? The hurt they carry, why they are like they are? I should be kinder, I should listen more to what people are really saying, not just the words I hear. We all should.’
Many readers were surprised by the Covid inclusion, but really it was hardly a feature at all. It seemed natural to have it in the background but it is often only referred to in passing and the global pandemic was definitely not front and centre. At times the writing could be a bit drawn out especially concerning Alice’s inner monologue and some of her issues I must confess, I was not truly on her side. The ending also came around a bit quick given all her indecision.
‘I need to start doing things differently. I’ve hung on to absolutely everything, because it has connected me to the times when I felt really happy.’
What I truly enjoyed from this read was all that the characters overcame. It really was a journey not just for Alice and Jamie (together and apart) but also for Alice’s sister for example - this all adds good depth to what could be viewed as an otherwise ‘fluffy’ novel. I was more engaged with Alice when she was learning to set boundaries in her personal life of which her desk at work was just the tip of the iceberg. Her character arc went from fear of confrontation and being a people-pleaser, to taking charge over what she truly wants in her life.
‘I’m a work in progress,’ I say, smiling as it hits me just how much progress I have made with my line-drawing. ‘But getting better.’
I found the concept of this book to be both fun and clever. The ‘hot desk’ was the perfect entry into a possible new office life post pandemic and how we must learn to be open to new things. A funny, light, heartwarming and poignant read for our times.
‘Those Post-it notes had been the highlight of the day for a while, reading them, and even trying to come up with a witty response had meant I’d rushed in each morning to give myself extra time before the office filled up and it all got too chaotic.’
This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release.