I was so excited to read Don’t Go Stealing My Heart after I read and loved Kelly Siskind’s previous book, New Orleans Rush, last year and this did not disappoint. Like New Orleans Rush, Don’t Go Stealing My Heart is full of Siskind’s silly, one-of-a-kind, endearing humor. Don’t Go Stealing My Heart will be available April 22, 2020!
Clementine Abernathy lives a relatively simple life—she lives alone with her bearded dragon, Lucy, doesn’t have any friends, and is a highly-skilled con artist and thief. Yes, she’s technically a criminal, but she’s more like Robin Hood—she steals from the rich to fund Lucien’s, her boss and father-figure, charitable pursuits.
Clementine’s newest job is to steal a priceless Van Gogh from Maxwell David—a spoiled, trust-fund brat who’s a big fish in his small town. Early on, Clementine realizes that there’s no way this heist will go off according to plan. Clementine quickly learns that Maxwell “Jack” David isn’t the spoiled brat she thought. No, he’s adorable, kind, and still a little shy from his days as a lanky, awkward teen. He’s also a fellow herpetologist (reptile-lover) who rehabilitates abused reptiles in a sanctuary he built in his home. Clementine knows that falling for her mark is the worst idea but the more time she spends with Jack, the more she begins to imagine what a life with him could mean.
Siskind has a knack for writing unique and original characters that are just the right amount of quirky without seeming annoying or trite. Clementine is the perfect example of this—quick-witted, a little unusual, and also on the fringe. What makes Clementine so endearing is that underneath all of that personality and strength, there’s a girl just looking to find connection and roots.
“She liked knowing these details, little nothings that made her feel like she was on the inside: Imelda’s daughter struggled with math, Jack’s grandfather had been a roadie for Elvis, Tami had loved her husband since tenth grade. To her, those nothings felt like a whole lot of somethings.”
And the same can be said for Jack—sweet, shy (except in the bedroom!) Jack, who doesn’t quite know how to be. Ultimately, this is what makes Don’t Go Stealing My Heart so satisfying; the romance between Clementine and Jack is made all the more meaningful because with each other, Clementine and Jack feel seen for the very first time in their lives.
There’s so much to Jack and I loved how rich his story was. Jack’s family’s company is the biggest source of employment and income for his small town and he carries the weight of that responsibility on his shoulders. He also struggles to reconcile the man he is today with the painfully awkward teenager he once was in a town that’s small enough to remember that phase vividly. And did I mention that he’s an Elvis impersonator? Yeah, I know, it doesn’t sound sexy but he pulls it off—trust me.
“Performing had changed his life. It connected him to his granddad and had allowed him to be someone other than a stuttering kid with lanky limbs. It made him fearless, bold, seductive.”
While I loved Clementine and Jack’s connection, it did feel like there was some insta-love. I’m never a fan of insta-love, much preferring a good slow burn. And I found myself somewhat skeptical of the depths of their connection given how short of a time they’d known each other. But it didn’t bother me as much as it normally does because Siskind’s books are just so special and unique.
If you’re looking for a feel-good, sexy (open door but not erotica-level steam) rom-com involving a heist, bearded dragons, and Elvis impersonators, look no further than Don’t Go Stealing My Heart.
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. This has not impacted or influenced my opinions.