Burnt Out by Victoria Brookman. (2022).
**4 out of 5 stars**
**Thank you to Harlequin Australia for sending me a free advance readers copy of this novel; published 5 January 2022**
Calida is having a very bad week. She’s long past deadlines for her still-unwritten second novel, her husband has just left her, and her Blue Mountains community is being threatened by bushfire. As she hits rock bottom, a fire incinerates everything she owns. Devastated and emotional, Cali delivers a blistering, unfiltered rebuke to the nation’s rich to “do something”. She goes viral and she becomes the latest celebrity face of the climate movement. Suddenly she’s in a harbourside refuge offered by a handsome tech billionaire, her second novel on the way, and she’s the darling of high society. But it’s all built on lies and Cali’s sure that it’s all about to come out…
I think this one is a great debut for the author! While it deals with the very serious issue of climate change and environmental destruction, it is quite witty and will no doubt leave a smirk on reader’s faces at times. Cali was an interesting lead – even though I definitely didn’t agree with her on some choices she made, I also found her quite likeable and I thought she really ended up growing as a person (that sounds so cliche to me as I write it but it really is an accurate description haha). It’s almost like Cali was stuck in a rut with her career, her relationship and so on, and over the course of the book she realises who she really wants to be as a person, with some drama and mistakes made along the way of course.
Overall, I would happily recommend this modern novel and I think it makes a great holiday read.