Conceptually, this is a win… but the execution isn’t quite there. That interesting, fun cover caught my eye, and the upbeat blurb had me excited to read a rom com with a little bit of bite. And it started off well; our hero makes a terrible first impression, and it was clear that bickering with him would be the thing that makes this ailing heroine feel alive. But then the focus shifted to just how ill our heroine is, with several bleak and depressing scenes meant to punctuate the exhausting reality of a long-term illness. I appreciated the authenticity, but the book soon became SUPER heavy, without enough romance to balance it out. That lighthearted bickering was completely overshadowed by everything else, and it wasn’t long before the romance felt disjointed and rushed. When a book presents itself like a rom com, I’m reading it for the romance – and that’s the part that wasn’t successful.
The story follows Jules, a woman whose body is failing her. She’s got a rare liver disease that will soon require her to get a transplant, but her doctor is worried that she won’t make it that long. Jules is doing the best she can in a truly awful situation, but it’s becoming nearly impossible to hold it together. So when she overhears a tech bro in her building make some less than stellar comments, Jules reacts in a way that she probably wouldn’t have pre-illness. And you know what? It felt kind of great. Jules soon realizes that sparring with Tom makes her feel alive, and she’s all too happy to embrace that. But bickering won’t be enough to keep her illness at bay – Jules needs a transplant. And she needs it as soon as possible. Only once she’s on the other side of that can she even consider a future.
It’s interesting, some parts of this book felt so realistic, while others felt incredibly far-fetched. The author’s own experiences certainly shaped and informed many of the medical scenes, which were descriptive enough to give the reader a true feel of the situation. But then there were things that left me scratching my head – I’m really supposed to believe that a woman who is so close to death is having hot hookups, and her partner will be completely oblivious to her illness? I don’t think so. Tom’s personality was also a lot to handle; he goes from one thing to the next in rapid succession, and the transitions did not feel natural. There were moments when I was very excited about the romance, but then something would happen that left me disappointed or confused. I needed that part of the story to be more successful to balance out the heaviness of Jules’ stark reality. So there’s tons of potential in the storyline, but it just didn’t come together in a satisfying way.
Could the man I hate be the perfect match I need?
I’m Jules Kelly, a certified bohemian boss babe, whose hip tech company just won subsidized office space in the coolest co-working space in town. From a distance I seem poised to take over the world (or at least the travel industry), and I would be if it weren’t for two big complications:
1. A rare and seriously inconvenient disease is tanking my health by the day, and my only hope for a cure—a transplant—is moving further from my grasp.
2. A soulless database company is sharing my new office space, and its coldly gorgeous, judgmental, CEO is on a path to world dominance (at least in his mind).
Tom Davenport represents the very worst of bro culture in the start-up world. Naturally, we despise each other.
The thing is, as much as Tom’s antagonism annoys me, he has an uncanny ability to conjure up my fighting spirit and vitality at a time when my illness is robbing me of both. I’m drawn to him in ways I can’t (or would really rather not) understand.
A mysterious angel investor forces our companies to compete for a life-changing amount of money just when my relationship with Tom becomes infinitely more complicated. To make matters worse, things get cutthroat just as my health and time start to run out.
In order to survive, I must decide if I can truly trust my most unlikely ally of all.
Unlikely Match is a high-stakes, occasionally steamy, workplace romance that will leave you feverishly turning pages.
For those of you who love wry (and sometimes a wee bit dark) humor, emotional intensity, loyal friendships, insane chemistry, and forced proximity in the context of high medical stakes, you can fill your boots with Unlikely Match.
Not sure about a transplant romance? As a living donor transplant recipient myself (five years and counting!) I know this world from personal experience. Please note that this book contains sensitive topics such as medical trauma and hospital scenes on the page. It also refers to parental abandonment and the foster care system mostly off the page.
About the Author:
Laura Bradbury is the author of the bestselling Grape Series, an award-winning cookbook Bisous and Brioche, the Winemakers Series, and “huggable” rom coms such as Oxford Wild.
She has a law degree from Keble College, Oxford but Laura’s true love was always storytelling.
She married a Frenchman and ran off to France after graduation so she would have something to write about. Now Laura lives between Burgundy, France and an island off Canada’s West Coast with her French husband and their three daughters. She can be found writing, reading, or eating snails with a nice glass of Pinot.
Sign up for her beloved monthly Grapevine at www.bit.ly/LauraBradburyNewsletter or find her on IG at https://www.instagram.com/laurabradburywriter or www.laurabradbury.com
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