Customer Review

Reviewed in Canada on October 20, 2021
CW: depiction of mental illness (depression, OCD, anxiety)

{Thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Canada for the gift of an eARC in exchange for an honest review.}

Dev is a producer on the reality show Ever After who believes in the happy endings the show appears to promote. Charlie is the reality show’s latest prince, a disgraced Silicon Valley millionaire. When the producers realize how awkward Charlie is, Dev is promoted from handling the would-be princesses to handling the star. The two forge an intense connection, but in the inescapably heteronormative world of Ever After, their backstage romance is complicated.

I didn’t know until recently that “romance novels set in the world of reality television” was a romance sub-genre, but after reading two in the past few months, I have to say I’m a big fan. Which is surprising because I don’t like reality television at all. All this to say, I absolutely loved this book. The setting is good, filled with manufactured drama and its real aftereffects, not to mention that it provides the opportunity to travel to multiple exotic locations. The cast of characters is really vivid, with secondary characters given personal development, which doesn’t usually happen this much in the romances I’ve read.

Dev and Charlie are lovely, moving, sometimes infuriating, and they feel like real people. I loved their romance, but I loved even more the friends who rally around them. I’m a sucker for a romance with a meddling group of friends/family, and this book delivered. The depiction of mental illness is understated but real, and integrated into the romance in ways I am not used to seeing. There is also a pretty impressive range of queer characters, including bisexual and aro/ace characters. I know I sound like I am ticking boxes, but the way these details about characters are introduced are completely organic and true to life, even though this aspect is often absent in mainstream romance.

I should add that the sex is very PG, so if you like your romance on the spicier side, this book may not be for you. Still, it is completely delightful, sweet, and moving, so you should give it a chance.
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