Book Review

Astrid Parker Doesn’t Fail by Ashley Herring Blake

Genre | Contemporary Fiction Romance
Page #s | 400
Publishing Date | November 2022

For Astrid Parker, failure is unacceptable. Ever since she broke up with her fiancé a year ago, she’s been focused on her career–her friends might say she’s obsessed, but she knows she’s just driven. When Pru Everwood asks her to be the designer for the Everwood Inn’s renovation, which will be featured on a popular HGTV show, Innside America, Astrid is thrilled. Not only will the project distract her from her failed engagement and help her struggling business, but her perpetually displeased mother might finally give her a nod of approval. 

However, Astrid never planned on Jordan Everwood, Pru’s granddaughter and the lead carpenter for the renovation, who despises every modern design decision Astrid makes. Jordan is determined to preserve the history of her family’s inn, particularly as the rest of her life is in shambles. When that determination turns into some light sabotage to ruffle Astrid’s perfect little feathers, the showrunners ask them to play up the tension. But somewhere along the way, their dislike for each other evolves into something quite different, and Astrid must decide what success truly means. Is she going to pursue the life that she’s expected to lead or the one that she wants?


I am so glad that Blake turned her Delilah Green Doesn’t Care success into a romance novel series about a gaggle of queer friends finding love in the Pacific Northwest. Choosing Astrid (Delilah’s seemingly straight, uptight foil) as the protagonist for the second book was, in my opinion, inspired! So much about this book was designed especially for me:

  • A perfectly put together woman who is one bad day away from falling apart…and finding freedom in failure.
  • A late-in-life queer discovery
  • Enemies to lovers trope

For someone else, the setting being an HGTV-equivalent project would also be on that list. Basically, this is a good time! I loved it!

Astrid and Jordan have great chemistry throughout, whether they’re arguing about design choices or navigating their budding attraction toward each other. Blake does such a good job of creating fully realized characters, and showing how Astrid and Jordan’s past relationships affected their fears and insecurities going into a new one was handled really well.

One of my biggest gripes with romance novels is that the Final Twist that attempts to break up the new lovers before Love Saves the Day often feels like a soulless plot device that’s only there because it’s “supposed” to be. Although I felt shades of that in the “villain” of this book, I mostly found the conflict believable and, most importantly, plot relevant! It developed the characters further and led to a reunion that actually felt earned and better than what had existed before.

Who Do I Recommend This Book To?

If you’re looking for a fun, light-hearted, spicy romance novel, you MUST put Astrid Parker Doesn’t Fail on your TBR list.

Check out our Queer Lil Library for more book recommendations and reviews!

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