Naomi Powell has transformed herself from the poor daughter of a housekeeper to CEO of a Fortune 500 jewelry business but despite her success she’s had trouble putting her past behind her. She receives an invitation to interview for an open apartment in the very same Park Avenue building where she’d lived with her mother when she was a housekeeper. That job ended in embarrassment, living on the streets for a short time, and her mother’s eventual decline. Naomi has held a grudge against the boy she used to know, Oliver Cunningham and his failure to stand up for her to his father. When it is none other than Oliver himself who interviews her for the apartment she does the unexpected and accepts the offer to live next door to him. What she finds is that he and his father are not the people she expected them to be. Can she put the past behind her and take his offer of friendship seriously? Especially when she finds him so attractive?
I’ll admit a great enemies to lovers plot is my favorite romance trope, but there was something more to Passion on Park Avenue. I think it was Naomi’s background and her rags to riches story. Super private, Naomi doesn’t let a lot of people close. The series is based on a female friendship between she and two other women who all got screwed over by the same man, so her mistrust in people seems pretty apt. She does strike up a heartfelt friendship with those ladies so it doesn’t seem to far fetched for her to give Oliver a chance at friendship. Especially once she see’s that he isn’t the boy she remembers. It does take her a little while to get there though. The fact that Oliver wants something a bit more than friendship is something she isn’t ready to give, but their dance towards romance is tension filled and makes for a great story.
There is a surprising amount of depth in this novel. Not just in the premise of the three ladies who become friends when they find out at his funeral that they all were involved with the same man. That is a great way to start but once Naomi’s story gets going we see that hard as nails shell is actually a protective shield to keep her from being hurt like she was over and over by the people she counted on as a child. Her own mother included. Naomi has always had to count on herself, so it’s hard for her to let someone else in her life and doesn’t know how to lean on someone else. It does help that Oliver is taking care of his ill father and despite his strength could use someone to lean on himself. His reasons for never letting a woman get close are pretty obvious. His time is restricted by his father’s needs. Can the two of them get over their misplaced independence and come to rely on each other? Well, this is a romance so you can guess that they do, but their story is worth reading to find out how it happens.
I should mention that I read the second book in this series first, and liked it enough to go back to start the series. I actually liked this novel even better than the second one. I think I’m a sucker for great female fictional friendships. Naomi, Claire, and Audrey have that bond of betrayal that makes them become true friends. They are each totally different than each other, but somehow each of their strengths balance the others weakness. I love that their friendship is just as big a part of the story as the romance, and that story continues through each book and just keeps getting better.
If you’re looking for a light-hearted romance with some depth of character, please give this series a try. This novel was fun, but it also had some emotional moments that had me reaching for a tissue. It was the perfect balance of romance and story. I’m giving it a 4.5 rating for entertainment and striking the right emotional chord. I hope you’ll like it as well. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❣️
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