Delysia Daniels didn’t intend any of this. Accidentally tagging the wrong person in a slightly racy photo could have happened to anyone. But when the slipup gains her thousands of followers and a much-needed opportunity, she takes full advantage. Fake dating an uptight history professor complete with the proverbial stiff upper lip will raise both their profiles, if she can just get him to agree.
Dr. Alexander Abbott-Hill isn’t delusional enough to believe his sudden popularity is due to his fascinating lectures. Agreeing to a high-profile, all-expenses-paid trip across the country isn’t exactly a hardship, although getting along with an online influencer might be. But he doesn’t plan on Delysia. She’s smart, beautiful, and far more…everything…than he’d imagined.
Fake relationship aside, neither of them is very good at pretending. Add their instant attraction and undeniable chemistry, and it isn’t long before they realize this fictional relationship is going to change their lives—just not the way they thought.
A digital copy of this book was provided to me by the author for the purpose of review, for which she has my sincere thanks. I have reviewed the book honestly and impartially as always.
This wouldn’t be the kind of book I would normally pick up, I have to say, and I wasn’t 100% sure how I was going to feel about it. Having read the blurb, I did have a concern that it might be too geared towards American audiences for my tastes (as I have said before, I sometimes find books written for the American market more saccharine than appeals to us cynics here in the UK) and the subject matter too shallow. Still, one of the reasons I blog is to push my reading out of my comfort zone and keep open-minded so I accepted Jadesola’s offer of a copy of the book, and, boy, am I glad I did.
All of my fears were totally unfounded and I thoroughly enjoyed this story from start to finish. Two mismatched people meet in the most unlikely of circumstances and enter a fake relationship for their mutual benefit and, despite the fact that the premise under which they meet could seem ridiculous, the author is skilled enough to make it entirely plausible in this digital age. I could see exactly why Delysia would want to fake the relationship with Alexander. Why Alexander goes along with it is a bit more of a stretch, but she makes it work well enough and, when the chemistry starts to fizz on the page you soon forget all that anyway and just go along for the fun of the ride.
I really enjoyed the jaunt into the lives of influencers and how they operate and, I have to say, I’d quite like the opportunity to get paid to do all these fantastic things and wear amazing clothes. (Alas, I fear I am too old and not attractive enough for this to be a feasible career path for me at this stage of my life.) The luxury train journey was a particular highlight of the book, as I love travelling in the US, and train travel always seems so glamorous when it appears on the page. The author does a wonderful job of bringing it all to vivid life through her words and I did feel like I had experienced the trip with Delysia and Alexander by the end of the book.
The main draw of this book, as it should be, it the relationship between the two romantic protagonists and how it develops though. As I said earlier in the review, there is real heat between the two of them in this fake relationship/opposites attract story, and it manages to be spicy without being so lewd it will offend those of more sensitive sensibilities. It is a find line to walk but this author navigated it admirably and I believed in the relationship wholeheartedly.
Jadesola gives Delysia believable and sympathetic motives for taking a life path that might otherwise seem shallow and detract from the depth of character she needs to attract a man like Alexander and I was with her every step of the way. In fact, I was surprised at just how much real emotion and range the author managed to convey in this story, but the fault for that lies with me and nowhere else. I should know better than to come to any book with pre-conceived ideas about a genre and I have certainly been taught a lesson here, one that I will take with me into my future reading adventures. Never judge a book by its cover, and never judge a novel by others that share nothing with it other than a loose genre, you may end up missing out on some great reads.
There was nothing about this book I didn’t like. Great characters, great plot, great settings, great chemistry. I highly recommend it to all lovers of romantic fiction and look forward to more titles by this author.
The Sweetest Charade is out now in the UK as an ebook and an audiobook and you can buy a copy here.
About the Author
Jadesola James loves summer thunderstorms, Barbara Cartland novels, long train rides, hot buttered toast, and copious amounts of cake and tea.
When she isn’t writing, she’s a reference librarian and a scholar of American romance publishing. Her hobbies include collecting vintage romance paperbacks and fantasy shopping online for summer cottages in the north of England.
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