Reviewed by Kini
Cassie Salazar and Luke Morrow couldn’t be more different. Sharp-witted Cassie works nights at a bar in Austin, Texas to make ends meet while pursuing her dream of becoming a singer/songwriter. Luke is an Army trainee, about to ship out for duty, who finds comfort in the unswerving discipline of service. But a chance encounter at Cassie’s bar changes the course of both their lives.
Cassie is drowning in medical bills after being diagnosed with diabetes. When she runs into her old friend Frankie, now enlisted in the Army, she proposes a deal: she’ll marry him in exchange for better medical insurance and they can split the increased paycheck that comes with having a “family.” When Frankie declines, his attractive but frustratingly intense friend Luke volunteers to marry Cassie instead. What she doesn’t know is that he has desperate reasons of his own to get married. In this unforgettable love story, Cassie and Luke must set aside their differences to make it look like a real marriage…unless, somewhere along the way, it becomes one…
I am not even sure where to start with this, so I guess I will start by saying the original blurb sent out intrigued me. I enjoy a good marriage of convenience that turns into a real marriage. I had this on my TBR for a while and needed a refresher so I looked it up on Amazon and when I saw this line, “smart and surprising romance perfect for fans of Nicholas Sparks and Jojo Moyes” I should have known I would be disappointed because neither of them write romance.
I’m going to take a slight diversion on this review, because I’m kind of irritated about this book and how the publisher choose to label it as a romance. Romance Writers of America has the following definition about romance novels: “Two basic elements comprise every romance novel: a central love story and an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending.“
In this book Cassie maintains a relationship WITH ANOTHER MAN until at least the 80% mark. This is not a central love story. How it happens is that they marry and then Luke deploys to Afghanistan and even after Cassie vows that there will be no cheating, she starts dating another man. I am a pretty forgiving reader and have read books with sort of cheating and been okay. But the moment that Luke came home and was injured, Cassie had no reason to continue to date someone else. It made her seem selfish. Honestly, I am not sure why I kept reading.
When Luke was overseas, he and Cassie began exchanging emails. I felt like this was the perfect opportunity for them to build their connection and I felt really let down that it wasn’t used for that. The MC’s had trouble opening up and communicating, one of the reasons was because Cassie continued to spend time with a man who was not her husband.
The ending could possibly be described as Happy for Now, I guess. They have some resolution but it isn’t completely clear what happens with them. I definitely did not feel emotionally satisfied with it.
Even though is a categorized as a romance, both by Amazon and by the publisher in the blurb, I do not agree. While the writing/prose was okay, this being touted as a romance, I can not recommend this book. They tried to get me with that smart and surprising line in the blurb, but this was a book that did not hold up as a romance nor did it meet the expectations that come along with reading a romance.