Check out our review of standalone contemporary romance book Circling Back To You by Julie Tieu, it might be just what you’re after if you enjoy an friends to lovers office romance
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Cadence Lim is a great analyst for Prism Realty. But she wants more in her career and is struggling to deal with a difficult relationship with her father. Her closest work colleague, Matt Escanilla, is a good friend but also dealing with his own family struggles, with the pressure of his Filipino family to settle down. They have to go to Los Angeles for a business trip, but also end up spending time with their families. Together. Seeing each other in this new setting means they can’t hide their feelings any longer. But competing promotions might put a damper on any chances for a future together.
A workplace romance infused with family and food.
I really enjoyed that Matt and Cadence had to figure out how to navigate a relationship transitioning from work friends to something more. Their completely opposite personalities and styles was also fun to read about, since Matt was so much more bubbly and outgoing, while Cadence was very private. Their families, although frustrating and very meddlesome at times, were ultimately really there for Matt and Cadence and I love to read about family gatherings and the food and traditions that are so important to them. I definitely want some Filipino food now!
On the downside, this book did not capture my attention the way The Donut Trap (Julie Tieu’s previous release) did. I felt like Matt and Cadence were a bit one-dimensional and I didn’t get super attached to them. The conflicts were also frustrating to read about and didn’t really let me see how they grew as individuals or as a couple. I didn’t really understand most of their motivations (like why did Cadence share literally no details about her life to anyone at work, despite saying they were some of her best friends?).
This book was written to exist in the current modern world, with references to masks and employees wanting to work remotely more, but it felt a bit unrealistic at times. When Matt got the flu, there was zero concern that it could be COVID-19 and, as far as I can tell. He never took a test or anything before just returning to work and Cadence only put a mask on after spending several hours with him and then immediately went to interact with other people. If the coronavirus pandemic is a part of a book, I want it to feel accurate to the experience.
Despite these frustrations, I did enjoy the book as a whole. The end was definitely the best part, since we really got to see Cadence and Matt as their new selves and they had a better understanding of what they wanted out of life. If you enjoy workplace romances, you should give this one a try. I’m looking forward to seeing what Julie Tieu releases next.
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- Circling Back To You by Julie Tieu: Contemporary Romance Review - October 18, 2022
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