Workaholic Jake Donovan isn’t interested in a real relationship. After a broken engagement, all he wants to do is focus on keeping his brewpub, the Holy Grale, afloat. But when he finds out his favorite customer is in need of a fake boyfriend, and his business partners insist he take a much overdue vacation, he has no choice but to help Clem out. All he has to do is enjoy the sunshine, play nice with her family, and keep his hands to himself for the week.
But Jake’s not prepared to like waking up next to Clem every morning as much as he does. Or to feel so welcome by her quirky family. And as the line between real and fake starts to blur, he realizes one week might never be enough.
Comment: I got interested in this book after checking some reviews and noticing the heroine was an audiobook narrator. I was quite curious about this detail and immediately imagined a healthy dose of book content or book talk...
I must say that such an unlikely plot can only happen in books and movies and while I can suspend belief enough to go with the flow, many other elements have to work out so that the ones that shouldn't be so easily accepted can feel they are as organic as everything else... I'm not convinced, however, the whole package truly worked out here but the story did have enough to have made me want to finish.
I think that, for me, the element that worked the least was how the story was developed, without enough depth to the characters to counterbalance the silliest things. Clem and Jake are adults and have had their share of disappointments in life, of which we learn as the story progresses, but I just didn't think they were that special or amazingly depicted that the choices they make convinced me of their budding feelings. Sure, they were pretending, but any romance reader knows this will turn real, but I just didn't get the feeling the author did this in the best way.
Perhaps part of the writing style issues I think existed is that there's an attempt to present this as a funny/comedy story too, with the inclusion of Clem's family on the vacation. The idea was to reveal how lucky Clem is in having a supporting and loving family, providing a huge contrast to Jake's situation and to make them see how perfect they are together, how they complement themselves. Sadly for me, most of the situations with family interaction resembled more a joke scenario, a caricature of those characters' personalities and I didn't find them funny at all.
With so much page count dedicated to this silliness, I'm afraid the romance development just didn't convince me properly. The words and the scenes were there but I feel the "vibe" didn't work out and the whole thing felt rather average and a bit bland for me. If not these two characters, any others could do it, I didn't have the sense Jake and Clem were that special that I wanted to invest in their development. Of course they get closer during their pretend romance and they do talk and we see why they feel attracted to one another, I just don't think this was done in such a way that would be impossible not to see it.
I also felt a bit disappointed by the lack of book talk. Yes, there is some conversation on books and on Clem's work but between the specifics of such a job and the fact she went on holidays to deal with it, I felt it was just an excuse to make her and Jake be close and work on sexual attraction. I certainly wanted more about Clem working and maybe offer a more professional side to things instead of just a convenience to advance the romance.
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