January is all about starting fresh and trying something new which is exactly what Hedging Your Bets by Jayne Denker encompasses.
Denker has made a name for herself, writing rom-coms with low-angst and honestly, she knocked it out of the park with this one. You also might recognize her from her 2023 release which was The Rom-Com Agenda.
When it comes to picking books to start the New Year with, Hedging Your Bets has a bit of everything you’re looking for. There’s some sweetness, some spice, and a little dash of not-so-nice but not in the way you might imagine. Either way, this book feels like the perfect time to help you start dreaming of spring days.
I’d like to thank St. Martin’s Griffing for not only putting this book on my radar but allowing me to read an ARC as it was a great book to pick up in December.
Hedging Your Bets is the ultimate comfort read to start 2024 with.
While I did mention Hedging Your Bets being a cozy read, it’s not always that way. The book follows Gillian, a pharmacist and enthusiastic gardener who is hoping for her chance at first place in Willow Cove’s gardening competition. Her dreams go sideways when her new neighbor, Noah West moves in and destroys a major part of her garden. From there, these two can’t stop bickering.
As much as I enjoyed it, it was clear that Gillian and Noah were having misunderstanding after misunderstanding. I just wanted to smack their heads together and tell them to get a grip. It did take a while but the two started to warm up to each other. From there, it felt like both of them melted into puddles of goos and couldn’t help but glance longly at the other and wish for a kiss which was just delightful to read.
Getting back to the garden competition, Noah ends up with an unexpected opportunity to best Gillian and save his skin. While the idea is a little predictable, I enjoyed how Jayne Denker decided to tackle this. It could have been a huge blow-out fight in the third act of the story but it wasn’t. It gave Gillian and Noah a chance to talk, understand, and grow closer which is so rare these days.
Hedging Your Bets might be low-angst, but the characters are dealing with a lot. Gillian is divorcing and trying to date which results in many jerks. She’s also targeted constantly for being curvy by someone in the town with a lot of power. In addition, Noah is reeling from a big breakup and being away from his ex’s son. Despite that, the two grow close and it’s just amazing to watch unfold.
As far as romances go, this was one of my favorites but I do feel like it could have done with a sparkling more of something. I don’t know what it needed but I could have done with something to spice the plot up. Maybe it needed a sex scene or a big fight or something, but there was a disconnect for me. All in all, it was great aside from my one complaint.
Hedging Your Bets by Jayne Denker is out now where books are sold.
Will you be grabbing a copy of Hedging Your Bets on release day? Let us know!