I had to contemplate my rating for a few days, which is not quite how I expected this to go. I’m a big, big fan of Liese’s work and I was very excited for her first book with a major publisher. However, most of my issues lie with the narration – and that’s not something I can blame Liese for. The female narrator overperforms with breathy gasps and tones that somehow sound both cheesy and depict the heroine in a snobbish, unflattering light. I think most of my lack of connection to the characters stems from the narration, because the foundation of a soft and sweet romance is definitely there. Our hero is a cinnamon roll sweetheart, fake dating is always fun, the representation Liese is known for is present, and the emotional undertones make the story richer. Plus, the opposites attract dynamic between a buttoned-up pediatrician and a tattooed artist was a definite win. But I certainly didn’t love this as much as I expected to, and that’s a shame.
The story follows Bea and Jamie, two people who had an instant dislike of each other. Neither one made a great first impression, and that likely would’ve been the end of things had they not been tied together by other connections. When Bea’s sister and Jamie’s roommate (who are newly engaged) meddle, Bea and Jamie realize that they’re trying to set them up. Annoyed by the meddling, Bea proposes that they fake date just to get back at them… it’s complicated. But as Bea and Jamie spend more time together, they develop a friendship, and it’s not long before they discover that they have more in common than either could’ve anticipated. And that their romantic connection is stronger than expected.
If you’re looking for something soft and swoony with a sweetheart of a hero, then this is certainly not a bad choice. I enjoyed Jamie, and the friendship that develops between the two of them was pretty great. Both the beginning and the end were rocky for me, but the middle was a lot of fun. Neither character impressed me during their meet cute (it was kinda cringey), but I grew to like them quite a bit as the story progressed. Jamie is the kind of loving, easygoing hero who makes a great book boyfriend, and the fact that he lives with anxiety just added another layer to his personality. I will say that the representation here was not as strong as it typically is in Liese’s books; in her Bergman Brothers series, the rep is central to the story, and it’s more of a “blink and you’ll miss it” situation this time. The friendship is more of the focal point in this laidback romance, and that was a win. In terms of the ending, it was just the stupidest justification for a conflict. This had already solidified itself as a 3 or 4-star read at that point, so it didn’t sway me. Ultimately, this was closer to a 3-star read for me, but I’m choosing to round up because the narration definitely didn’t do it any favors. I’m curious to see if we’ll get more from this series, as much of this was solid.
Obviously, I don’t recommend the audio – or you should at least sample the female narrator’s voice before diving in. I’ve never listened to anything from Charlotte North prior to this, and I wouldn’t rush to listen to anything featuring her in the future. While she technically performs without issue, the tone of her voice made me dislike Bea quite a bit. Funnily enough, this was my second audiobook in a row with Stephen Dexter, so I noticed the differences in his performance between the two books. I had nothing but praise for him with the last audiobook, but his voice while depicting Bea was not the best. I enjoyed him the rest of the time. The story works well in the format though, as it’s easygoing and low angst. There’s also minimal steam – while the story doesn’t necessarily feel like a slow burn, it is a slow physical burn, so there’s not a whole lot of spice. The runtime is long enough that it might take you two days to finish, but it does make a good workday listen.
Opposites become allies to fool their matchmaking friends in this swoony reimagining of Shakespeare’s beloved comedy, Much Ado About Nothing.
Jamie Westenberg and Bea Wilmot have nothing in common except a meet-disaster and the mutual understanding that they couldn’t be more wrong for each other. But when the people closest to them play Cupid and trick them into going on a date, Jamie and Bea realize they have something else in common after all—an undeniable need for revenge.
Soon their plan is in place: Fake date obnoxiously and convince the meddlers they’re madly in love. Then, break up spectacularly and dash everyone’s hopes, putting an end to the matchmaking madness once and for all.
To convince everyone that they’ve fallen for each other, Jamie and Bea will have to nail the performance of their lives. But as their final act nears and playing lovers becomes easier than not, they begin to wonder: What if Cupid’s arrow wasn’t so off the mark? And what if two wrongs do make a right?
About the Author:
Chloe writes romances reflecting her belief that everyone deserves a love story. Her stories pack a punch of heat, heart, and humor, and often feature characters who are neurodivergent like herself. When not dreaming up her next book, Chloe spends her time wandering in nature, playing soccer, and most happily at home with her family and mischievous cats.
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