All the Ways to Make a Mess
My review of When Sparks Fly by Helena Hunting is painfully late, and that shame is my own. I have been a long-time fan of Helena Hunting and was so excited to read her newest release. Please do not let my tardiness give you any reservations about diving into this one headfirst!
Our leading lady Avery works with her sisters at Spark House, a hotel that has become a destination spot for events from everything to weddings to hobbyhorse competitions, which we get to witness in all it’s glory! She lives with her college friend Declan who while being distractingly handsome is a commitment-phobe and also simultaneously the friend of her ex-boyfriend making him officially hands-off…or is he? While obvious to everyone around them that there are unrequited feelings between them it takes a horrible accident to make them face facts, they were never going to be able to stay “Just Friends.”
The relationship between Avery and Declan is more complex than a typical friends-to-lovers trope that we are used to. There are underlying issues that require both of them to take a serious internal mental dive before they are able to pursue long-term romance. I will say with all honesty at the beginning of the book I was not a fan of Declan, and I’m not sure that I was supposed to. His inability to deal with his feelings lead to selfish actions which ultimately contributed to the perfect storm that resulted in Avery’s accident. His guilt about what happened only furthered his spiral into an unhealthy mental state. While he cared for Avery and they began to admit their feelings for each other I spent a lot of the book waiting for the other shoe to drop. I actually began to feel sorry for him once the groveling started because it was obvious he knew what he did, but wasn’t willing to confront what drove him to it. Once Declan finally hits the wall, he gained my respect by getting the help he needed rather than relying on love and intimacy alone to hold him together.
Avery and Declan’s story stands out to me because even though they were best friends and roommates prior to the mushy stuff there wasn’t some Aha moment where they suddenly realized they were meant to be together all along. It was a slow build with bumps along the way that leads to a relationship built on newly realized truths.
Helena Hunting has always been an author that sticks out when people ask for laugh-out-loud recommendations, specifically her Pucked series. There are scenes in this book that definitely fit that ticket but overall I found this to be a bit more emotional than books of hers that I had read previously. For me this was not a negative in the slightest but just reinforced my adoration of her books. I am so excited that Avery’s sisters will be getting their stories and will be anxiously awaiting their release!