This is the kind of debut that gets me excited about what’s next from an author, because there was so much good stuff going on with the story. It’s ideal for fans of Elena Armas and Chloe Liese, sort of the perfect combo of both of their vibes – featuring a deliciously smitten hero, bickering that just might be bantering, and a strong focus on living with chronic illness (complete with OwnVoices rep). Sure, the heroine’s insecurities grated on my nerves and the miscommunication made me want to shake someone, but those smaller issues were greatly outweighed by the swoony love story at the heart of this. There are so many little tender moments that enriched it, and the history behind this relationship gave it so much extra weight. Plus, the hero is almost too good to be true – I loved him. It’s a well developed and one-of-a-kind love story that makes a phenomenal debut.
The story follows Evie, a woman who lives with endometriosis. It’s a chronic illness that impacts her daily life, and it also seems to be getting in the way of her dreams. Not only has Evie’s dream of opening a bakery been sidelined, but she also resists relationships – she doesn’t want to be a burden. So when the man who has driven her crazy since childhood shows up in her current hometown of Paris, it’s a shock to the system. Evie hasn’t seen Liam in years, but she hasn’t forgotten the way he’s broken her heart… or the way she still crushes on him. But the years seem to have changed Liam, and it’s not long before he’s assuming the role of her fake boyfriend. Pretending to be in love with the man you’ve been pretending NOT to be in love with for years is complicated, and that’s before you add Liam’s feelings into the equation.
If you loved the dynamic in The Spanish Love Deception or The Hating Game, then this should be right up your alley. Though the story is told exclusively from Evie’s POV, it’s easy to see that she might just be getting everything wrong. That’s also partially why the story is frustrating; not only is Evie dealing with a chronic illness that significantly impacts her every day, but she also refuses to see what is right in front of her. Her insecurities and self-doubt kinda drove me crazy after awhile, I will fully admit that. But Liam makes it SO easy to root for the relationship; he is such a dream guy, and I could feel how deeply he loved Evie. Evie’s health is front and center throughout the story, which might be tough for some readers, but it adds a layer of realness and depth that surely enhances the experience. The writing itself is a little rough (this is a debut, after all), but filled with so much potential that it was easy to overlook small things. Honestly, there’s a ton that I loved about this – which is why a 5-star rating was the obvious choice.
When five-year-old Evie O’Shea married her next-door neighbor in the wedding of the century, she had no idea she was swearing an oath to love the man who would grow into the bane of her existence until the end of time. Or that in ten years time, she’d start a long and winding journey to an eventual endometriosis diagnosis.
Now, aged twenty-six, Evie O’Shea lives in Paris, balancing precariously close to her Charlotte Lucas birthday. A burden to her parents, with no prospects and no money, Evie’s humdrum life needs a shake-up.
Enter Liam Kelly, the man Evie married at the age of five and promptly divorced at seven when he had the audacity to throw a muddy football at her while she was reading Eloise in Paris. Clad in a Henley and equipped with toned forearms and eye crinkles that rival Gene Kelly himself, Evie is determined to keep her ultimate temptation at a distance while she flails wildly navigating life, love, and endometriosis on the banks of the Seine.
But when a family announcement shakes up Evie’s world weeks before her brother’s wedding, Evie seeks Liam’s help to get through the wedding with some semblance of sanity intact.
Her request? Fake date.
Making a deal with the Devil always comes with a cost, though, and when Liam’s conditions which include elaborate backstories and practice dates, reignite passions her disease smothered long ago, Evie has to learn to fight for her dreams and break free from her life measured in ibuprofen pills and heating pad settings. Or else risk being alive but never truly living.
About the Author:
Writer of puns, cheese, & other romantic things.
Torie Jean’s favorite memory growing up is the way her Memere’s fingers flew over the keys of her two-tier electric organ, playing songs like “Singin’ in the Rain”, “I’ve Got Rhythm”, and “What a Wonderful World”. Her undying love and affection for the magic and charm of Gene Kelly and Audrey Hepburn followed her from childhood, to a seventh grade book report on a Gene Kelly biography, to studying abroad in Paris and finding “the den of thinking men.”
Torie is married to her high school sweetheart and is blessed with the best gaggle of nieces and nephews she could ask for. She has had endometriosis for over half of her life now, and hopes to raise more awareness of the disease with her writing, while providing the happily ever afters people with endo deserve.
Follow Jeeves on social media!
As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases