Author: Helena Hunting
Running the Spark House, a hotel/event space that has been in her family for years, has been Avery Spark’s lifelong dream. After years of working hard and making personal sacrifices, Avery and her two younger sisters have turned the Spark House into the premier destination in Colorado Springs. Avery is living her best life—she works with her sisters and loves every minute of it, she has a great group of friends, and she lives in a fantastic condo with her best friend Declan. She might not have any love in her life, but she’s happy.
But everything comes to a screeching halt when Avery is in a car accident, leaving her immobile for weeks. After nearly losing Avery, Declan insists that he will be the one to take care of her while she recovers. However, as Declan becomes Avery’s caretaker, lines begin to blur.
Avery and Declan have been best friends since college and always had an attraction to one another, but when she ended up dating his best friend, Sam, they successfully stamped down any feelings they may have ever had for one another. Now, as Declan and Avery spend more time together, they each begin to wonder what would’ve happened if she’d dated him instead of Sam. What starts as a friend helping out another friend turns into foreplay and, before they realize it, they recognize how deeply they care for one another. But when things get serious their past threatens to destroy everything they have built.
When Sparks Fly follows 28-years-old Avery Spark. She runs an event hotel, Spark House, which she recently took over from from their grandmother, who is now retired and traveling in Italy, together with her sisters, London and Harley. She lives together in a high-rise condo in Colorado Springs with her best friend and co-owner, Declan. The two of them met during her freshman year at the University of Colorado. Jerome and Mark are the other two members of her core friend group and the four of them hang out together, especially to watch Monday Night Football. Declan and Avery first became very close as best friends after Avery was dating Declan’s friend, Sam, during their university years and Declan stopped being friends with Sam after he is discovered to have been cheating on Avery. Declan also ties into Avery’s life as he works in finance and handles the portfolio for Spark House.
The story starts with the two of them and there are some initial hints that the two may have feelings for the other. Both have their own reasons to not explore the feelings including they do not want to ruin the friendship. These feelings are tested when Avery gets in a car accident and must rely on Declan to be her full-time caregiver as she recovers. While it did not affect my rating or enjoyment of the story, I did question Avery’s decision to drive her car in the rain when Declan flaked. She leaves in the morning and even states that there was a train. Although there is only one per day going to her destination, she left early in the morning and could have easily caught it. I realize that this car trip needed to happy as the story would not have moved forward without it, but I wish there was an explanation included about why she did not take the train. The two characters during Avery’s recovery are forced to be in close proximity together and they start to realize that maybe their romantic inklings for the other might be real. It is an entertaining friend to lovers’ story and I enjoyed the general concept of one character stepping up to care for the other as they need a lot of assistance.
The novel is duel-perspective so the reader can experience both Avery and Declan’s sides of the story. It was interesting to get into each of their heads to witness their developing feelings for the other. While I loved all of the characters, I felt that the amount of times Declan was blamed for the accident was a bit much. While it is acknowledged that he played a part in certain circumstances, the actual accident is beyond his control. For me, I felt this repeated too many times and should have been shut down early on in the story. His guilt may still be there and the reader may explore these feelings as inner thoughts, but the outer dialogues about it could have been reduced. Even with this, I still loved the open communication with the characters. Avery and Declan were excellent friends and I loved their shared moments.
Overall, this novel is an entertaining and easy read as I ended up finishing it before I knew it as I could not put the novel down. Declan’s rocky relationship with romance due to his past mixed with Avery’s complex romantic past created a nice bit of tension as the two start to acknowledge attraction to the other. Each character not only is trying to work on where their relationship stands, but they have their individual journeys that they go through. This novel is currently a standalone, but there is a lot of room to expand it into a series as there are four characters (Harley, London, Mark, and Jerome) that could all be featured in their own novels and I would read them all!
**I give a special thank you to Netgalley and the publisher, St. Martin’s Griffin, for the opportunity to read this enjoyable novel. The opinions expressed are completely my own.**