I’m a fan of Hale’s books, so reading this book was a no brainer for me. I like how she can create realistic flawed characters set in a very specific environment and atmosphere that always seems to be a bit different from most wlw books and this book is an excellent example of that.
About that environment and atmosphere, the main characters of this book work in a living history museum, so in large parts of the book they are dressed and acting as in the nineteenth century. I had no idea this would have such an impact on the atmosphere of the book, but it did, you get that historical feel, while at the same time, you’re in the now. I liked it a lot.
The romance in this book could be labelled a friends-to-lovers romance, but it wasn’t until Lex mentioned it in her review that I realized it, it’s actually a fauxmance. Jenn and Lacey have been best friends for eight years and they decide to get married and form a family, even though there are no romantic feelings between them. However, they decide that to the outside world they will sell their commitment as true love. However, what Jenn doesn’t know is that Lacey has been in love with Jenn from the minute they met all those years ago. And ughhh the pining of Lacey for Jenn and Jenn having no romantic feelings for Lacey in return…….it’s so frustrating. Lacey is an incredible lovable character, she’s sweet, understanding and easygoing and will do anything for Jenn and you just can’t understand why Jenn could not have feelings for her. But Jenn is dealing with her own baggage, she’s grieving and hung up on her ex, and she has recent body insecurities, which is something that clashes with her confident personality. She makes plenty of mistakes, and while she is a good friend these issues make her blind to what’s in front of her and they make her selfish on several occasions. And still, as a character she feels real and her mistakes feel real, or perhaps they are not even mistakes as she’s coming to terms with her feelings. So yes, Jenn is not the easiest character to like, but to see her change during the book was very fulfilling. Another thing about realistic characters is Lacey’s daughter, Mac. Kids in wlw romances tend to be super intuitive and acting too old for their age, and I can be annoyed by that, so I was happy to see that this was not the case in this book, Mac is just a happy, slightly oblivious kid.
In short, another excellent addition to Hale’s list of novels, I easily recommend this if you’re looking for a well written angsty romance.
I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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