Same desk, different days.A post-it note is just the beginning…
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?
USA Today bestselling author Zara Stoneley was born in a small village in the UK. She wanted to be a female James Herriot, a spy, or an author when she grew up.
After many (many) years, and many different jobs, her dream of writing a bestseller came true, and more than half a million copies of her books have now been sold worldwide.
She writes about friendship, dreams, love, and happy ever afters, and hopes that her tales make you laugh a lot, cry a little, and occasionally say ‘ahhh’.
Zara now lives in a Cheshire village with her family, a lively cockapoo, a cocker spaniel puppy and a very bossy (and slightly evil) cat.
Hot Desk takes place in a world where the COVID pandemic is over and life is returning back to normal after a year in a lock-down/work from home way of life. While the utilization of the pandemic may not be for everyone, for me, it is a very realistic and relatable reason for the characters and associated companies to be at a certain place by the time the story begins. The concept of two people sharing the same workspace through hot desking was intriguing, especially as many companies are putting this idea out there to downsize office space. I know many people that work for companies that are planning the exact scenario portrayed in this novel with the hybrid work-from-home/work-in-the-office model. I was, therefore, very curious to see a love story forming taking the hot desk concept and putting it into action.
When the readers first meet Alice Dixon, she is very stressed about the sudden all-staff meeting scheduled at her company, We Got Designs. Honestly, it took me a minute to connect to a scenario where an all-staff meeting would equal anything negative as I work for a place where these are normal informative monthly (or semi-monthly) meetings. These pages are chaotic inner dialogue, which was a little much at times just in a reading-sense; however, this was also very realistic as most people have multiple thoughts running through their head at any given moment. As this is a constant presence in the novel, it may or may not be for every type of reader. For me, I enjoyed it to an extent, but felt that it would have been better if it was reduced a little. There are times with the inner thoughts where it would go on for a while and it would take away from the flow of the main story and I would end up lost. Again, the enjoyment of this style will greatly depend on the reader. The content itself was interesting and entertaining to experience everything around the main character.
Jamie Lowe also works for We Got Designs as Alice’s co-worker and crush. Not only have the two worked together for years, they have a shared history that Alice remembers, but Jamie has not acknowledged. When Alice was in her first year of university, she was very drunk at a Reading Festival party and had a kiss with a fellow drunk student, who turns out to be Jamie. When Alice met Jamie again when she started her job, he showed no sign of remembering this night, so Alice thought it meant nothing to him. After the hot desk (desk-sharing) concept is put into place at their company, Alice and Jamie learn that they are desk-mates. The two of them start sharing post-it notes to communicate with each other, which start more professional, but soon becomes integrated with more witty banter. Through this new relationship, the two characters begin to grow their connection. With their shared past and other obstacles in their way, the romance is not possible to develop overnight, so the reader gets to follow along a complex journey as the two characters navigate their next steps.
The novel itself is easy to read and has a decent flow as Jamie and Alice start to connect after hot desking begins. The chemistry between the two characters is fantastic and I loved their opposites attract romance. It is a unique concept to be introduced to characters based on their enthusiasm to return to the office. Jamie is content to continue working at home and is indifferent about a return to the office. On the other side, there is Alice who is ecstatic about returning to the office. This was interesting introduction to this part of her story as it is clear that she has difficulty establishing boundaries for herself. Her sister is constantly invading her space and borrowing her things without asking while Alice’s ex-boyfriend tries to control her life to “improve” it to his standards. Alice also has four flatmates, Della (a sex therapist), Kat (an actress and walks around the flat partially naked), Jack (takes over their lounge to play Xbox), and Zoe (a mobile hairdresser), that do not quite comprehend her need to have a quiet place to work. Over the course of the novel explores each of these relationships in Alice’s life as she learns to find balance to make herself happy. Overall, I enjoyed the character growth for each character, especially Alice, along with their flirty office relationship.
**I give a special thank you to Rachel @rararesources,, the publisher, and the author for the opportunity to participate with this enjoyable novel via Netgalley. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.**