Book Review, Comedy, Gallery Books, NetGalley, Romance

Heartbreak for Hire by Sonia Hartl


Brinkley Saunders has a secret.

To everyone in the academic world she left behind, she lost it all when she dropped out of grad school. Once a rising star following in her mother’s footsteps, she’s now an administrative assistant at an insurance agency—or so they think.

In reality, Brinkley works at Heartbreak for Hire, a secret service that specializes in revenge for jilted lovers, frenemies, and long-suffering coworkers with a little cash to spare and a man who needs to be taken down a notch. It might not be as prestigious as academia, but it helps Brinkley save for her dream of opening an art gallery and lets her exorcise a few demons, all while helping to empower women.

But when her boss announces she’s hiring male heartbreakers for the first time, Brinkley’s no longer so sure she’s doing the right thing—especially when her new coworker turns out to be a target she was paid to take down. Though Mark spends his days struggling up the academic ladder, he seems to be the opposite of a backstabbing adjunct: a nerd at heart in criminally sexy sweater vests who’s attentive both in and out of the bedroom. But as Brinkley finds it increasingly more difficult to focus on anything but Mark, she soon realizes that like herself, people aren’t always who they appear to be.


Ms. Hartl is another new author for me who cleverly tickles your funny bone while getting some well-deserved revenge on some egomaniacs, players, cheaters, and grifters on behalf of betrayed women everywhere.

Heartbreak for Hire (H4H) is an undercover operation that specializes in a variety of revenge schemes for jilted lovers, annoyed coworkers, and frenemies.

Brinkley Saunders is an aspiring artist who has worked for H4H for the last two years after her douchebag of an ex cheated and gaslighted her to the point of destroying her self-esteem and causing her to drop out of college. Now she is one of four Heartbreakers. They were brought on because they had all been broken at one time or another by the type of men they targeted. Brinkley specializes in egomaniacs who need to be taken down a few pegs. No one knows about her undercover job, even her mother, a professor at Northwestern and her worst critic about how Brinkley is wasting her life. But Brinkley’s job is getting a little stale and she’s not enjoying it as much after her last cute-meet with a target named Mark who just didn’t seem to fit the profile. In fact, she almost broke rule number one of don’t sleep with your target until a phone call got her out of that mess. But did it, really? Apparently, with protests from her current employees, Margo, owner of H4H, has an unpopular idea to bring male Heartbreakers into the mix, and guess who Brinkley is partnered with? Yes, you guessed it, her former target, Mark, and he’s not happy. Let the games begin.

Professor Mark Cavanaugh is a sweater vest, tweed-wearing anthropologist (think Indiana Jones) who has worked hard to be where he is at in the cutthroat world of academia, but it’s not his true passion. He just wants to teach middle school kids and not deal with university politics, but he wanted to make his grandfather proud so he aimed higher.

Brinkley and Mark are so good for each other despite their misunderstandings and bad decisions. Mark listens to Brinkley and notices things that are important to her. Something that she has not experienced before and it frightens her. She doesn’t want to fail in a relationship again. Their witty banter and hot chemistry are entertaining, and as their attraction slowly builds into a passionate bond they push each other and discuss their dreams. Though Mark disappointed me toward the end, he fixes his mistake with a cute gesture involving her tortured cat, Winnie.

There are a number of supporting characters including Margo, Brinkley’s boss, a woman Brinkley looked up to until she sold out to money. Emma, Brinkley’s fellow Heartbreaker, is a supportive friend who gets out of the job first and moves on with her life. Brinkley’s selfish and unsupportive mother is my least favorite character. She made her daughter feel unworthy all those years when she was carrying a secret that was more egregious and hypocritical than anything Brinkley did. And last but not least there is Brinkley’s poor angry cat, Winnie, who is forced to wear clothes. In my opinion, Brinkley deserved every scratch and bite she got.

I recommend this unique and funny rom-com filled with smart, sassy, messy characters dealing with self-worth, forgiveness, and following their passions.

Thank you to Ms. Hartl, Gallery Books, and Netgalley for giving me the opportunity to read this book with no expectation of a positive review.


Heartbreak for Hire

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Sonia Hartl is the author of The Lost Girls, Not Your #Lovestory, and Have a Little Faith in Me (Page Street), which received a starred review in BookPage and earned nominations for the Georgia Peach Book Award, YALSA’s Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers, Bank Street College of Education’s Best Children’s Books of the Year, and ALA’s Rise: A Feminist Book Project List. She’s also the author of an adult romcom, Heartbreak for Hire (Gallery). When she’s not writing or reading, she enjoys playing board games with her family, attempting to keep her garden alive, or looking up craft projects she’ll never get around to completing on Pinterest. She’s a member of SCBWI and was the Managing Director for Pitch Wars 2020. She lives in Grand Rapids with her husband and two daughters.

Follow Sonia on her website, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Goodreads.