Totally Engaged by Mina V. Esguerra
May 14, 2021, Self Published
Review by Melinda
I think Mina V. Esguerra is such a talented writer and generally I pick up anything she writes. But this book is really up there with one of my favorites of hers. Rose is a fashion entrepreneur who is pretty happy with her life and what she has. However, her mother is not as happy about any of it. Rose’s entire immediate family immigrated to the United States, but Rose had aged out of the system at age 23. Rose is now 40, and has dealt with all of the emotions that came with that. But her mother has been consumed with how to get Rose to the U.S. with the rest of her family.
What I loved about this plot is how incredibly real and nuanced it was. This happened in real life to so many people – including the author, as she says in the author’s note – and people dealt with the reality in so many different ways! Rose accepted her life and moved on, and built a life she could be proud of, converting a portion of their house into an apartment to rent out. She loves her family but wants them to accept what she has. To get her mom to stop setting her up with men that could marry her and get her a Visa to come to the U.S. she obviously sets up a fake engagement.
Enter Pascal, a friend’s brother who is starting a business and is in need of a place to stay. What I love about these two is that they are both older – around 40. Rose is a fashion entrepreneur and was previously in political communications. They both generally have their shit together, except for their romance lives. So Pascal is like sure, why not do a fake engagement? And, of course, sparks fly from there. To my neverending delight Rose knows exactly what she wants.
“Pascal, I kind of want to fuck ”
“Not just kind of, sorry. I mean definitely. For sure. Right now if you have time.”
And in return Pascal is like hmmm, okay! I’m such a sucker for women who just say what they want and takes it.
The extended family of Rose was great as well, needling her about her ‘fake’ engagement and insisting it was more. Basically I just enjoyed everything about this book. It felt like a nice balance of the relationship and the family plot lines. My only complaint would be that Pascal could have used a little more development on his end, but really I’m more of a FMC reader anyways so I didn’t mind all that much.
Grade: A –