This started off strong but unraveled along the way, mostly because the heroine is not a good person. I found the writing style to be highly readable and a lot of fun, with an upbeat vibe and a unique storyline. I was drawn in from the start, and was looking forward to this hot mess of a heroine falling for a cinnamon roll chef. It didn’t quite play out that way in the end, but I was already emotionally invested when the red flags started popping up. While this is billed as a rom com, it’s much more chick lit with a side of (unsatisfying) romance. Our heroine is the star here, and she’s not only lying, but she’s also cheating and in full-on deception mode for most of the story. I liked her less and less as the story progressed, and the romance took a backseat to Birdy’s journey to find her happy. This didn’t turn out to be what I was hoping for, but there were some good moments along the way.
The story follows Birdy, a woman who hasn’t gotten her life together yet. When her best friend announces that she’s heading to Europe rather than the summer job she had lined up, Birdy makes the spur-of-the-moment decision to take the job herself. Sure, she’ll have to pretend to be Heather. And, sure, she wouldn’t call herself a wine expert. But it’s only a summer job, and no one needs to know either of those things. The trouble is, once Birdy settles in, she realizes that she’s enjoying the experience more than she ever expected. There’s also a sweet chef who makes her summer even better. What started as a “harmless” lie has snowballed into a huge deception, and Birdy isn’t sure what to do.
I was fully prepared for Birdy to be a liar (because that’s the name of the game here), but she definitely took it a few steps further than I anticipated. Not only is she pretending to be Heather for… uh, most of the book… but she also has a boyfriend back home. He’s clearly not the kind of guy she’ll be with forever, but she’s with him now – and that makes the whole sweet chef romance turn sour. There’s also a revelation towards the end that makes it SO much worse. The romance isn’t really the focus here though; it’s Birdy’s journey of self-discovery and her missteps along the way that shine the brightest. There’s some hidden depth in the back half, though the beach read vibes are there the whole way through. Ultimately, this did not end up being the rom com that it seemed to be at the start, but I’ll admit to liking the writing style. With a better heroine (and a shorter length), I’m sure my rating would’ve been higher. I received an early copy and am voluntarily leaving a review of this lighthearted story.
Beach Read meets Sweetbitter in this laugh-out-loud and ultimately heartwarming debut of a good friend’s very bad decision and the summer job that stands to ruin or make her life.
What if you could be someone else? Just for the summer…
Birdy has made a mistake. Everyone imagines running away from their life at some point. But Birdy has actually done it. And the life she’s run into is her best friend Heather’s. The only problem is, she hasn’t told Heather.
The summer job at the highland Scottish hotel that her world class wine-expert friend ditched turns out to be a lot more than Birdy bargained for. Can she survive a summer pretending to be her best friend? And can Birdy stop herself from falling for the first man she’s ever actually liked, but who thinks she’s someone else?
One good friend’s very bad decision is at the heart of this laugh-out-loud love story and unexpected tale of a woman finally finding herself in the strangest of places.
About the Author:
Lizzy Dent (mis)spent her early twenties working in Scotland in hospitality. After years travelling the world making Music TV for MTV and Channel 4, and creating digital content for Cartoon Network, the BBC and ITV, she wrote three Young Adult novels as Rebecca Denton published in the UK. This is her debut adult novel. Now in her late thirties she lives between London, Austria, and New Zealand with her young family.
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