Key Change, by Barbara Valentin

Reviewed for Chick Lit Central 

Sara Treff is a rock music critic with a bit of an attitude. All right, she’s got a lot of attitude. There are a lot of walls built up around her, protecting her from harm or damage that may be inflicted on her heart. That’s why she chose a boyfriend who cares a lot more about his own needs than he’d ever care about Sara’s. And that’s why said boyfriend managed to virtually eliminate her from the apartment they share when he moves away, while she’s out on an assignment, without giving her much of a notice or head’s up! Maybe she should have put her name on the lease, too, but that’s all in hindsight.

Andrew Benet is a music director at the local church, a quiet man who would rather keep to himself then engage with anyone. He’s had his heart broken, to the point where he’s not quite sure if he’ll be able to ever find someone worth holding onto. When an apartment suddenly becomes available near work, he’s quick to snatch it up, although he’s a little confused as to the details of the lease. It’s a sublet, fully furnished, and anything he doesn’t want, he’s been given the go ahead to throw it out, or donate it.

And that’s when Sara and Andrew collide.

After finding out that she’s been kicked out of the place she’s felt the most at home in, and that most of her belongings are gone, Andrew comes up with a plan: as long as Sara helps him out in the choir at the church, he’ll let her stay in the apartment, until she’s able to find a place of her own and get back on her feet. Feeling she’s faced with no other option, Sara takes him up on the offer, and quickly finds herself in a situation she never bargained for.

I’m a big fan of Barbara Valentin. Having read Help Wanted, False Start, and The Plate Spinner Chronicles, I was seriously anticipating Key Change, and it was just as fantastic as I thought it would be! I love how she makes sure to engage her readers in Sara and Andrew’s story, but doesn’t forget to include the beloved characters from her an Assignment series, like Claire Nelson, or Mattie Ross. I get to see what they’re up to, as well, while they support their friend Sara in her time of need.

Will Sara ever find a way to let someone in, and trust in love? And, has Andrew finally found someone worth holding onto? I really enjoyed the “opposites attract” approach with these two, and the drama mixed in with perpetual chaos. It was just enough so I’d never know what’s going to happen. I had a hard time putting this book down, but in all honesty, the entire an Assignment series was like that, for me.

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