“I’ve never done this before. I just know I’m falling for the girl I married.”
When Holland finds the perfect musician for her uncle’s Broadway play she finally feels like she can do something useful. But it all falls apart when street musician Calvin turns out to be in the country illegally. Desperate to help and excited to be reckless for once in her life, Holland proposes a marriage of convenience to Calvin. But Holland has been watching Calvin play for months and she’s developed a massive crush on him that Calvin has no idea exists. Holland must find a way to make a fake marriage work without giving away her growing feelings for her new husband.
This was my first book by Christina Lauren and I was definitely impressed and certainly enjoyed this romantic comedy. The beginning felt a little slow but once things got started I enjoyed the pace and the writing was very enjoyable. I loved Holland as a narrator and found her incredibly relatable and funny; there were many times I had to stop myself from laughing out loud in the break room at work. I would have killed to know what Calvin was thinking during some of the scenes but Holland’s POV was so enjoyable and I never got tired of listening to her voice.
I also really enjoyed the growth that Holland experiences over the course of the book. Starting out, Holland is living in New York, her uncle’s pay a large chunk of her rent, and she’s working for her uncle at the theater helping with his play, but she admits this is not what she wants for her life. Instead, she wants to be a writer but she’s struggling to get anything on the page. Holland was definitely in a rut and I could really relate to her struggles and found a strong emotional connection to the story. As time goes by we get to see Holland’s growth as she rediscovers her passion for writing, learns to stand up for herself a bit, and learns to let go of toxic relationships and bad choices. She makes a lot of improvements in the end but there are still some issues and her lack of communication caused some problems in the end that drove me crazy. It’s obvious that Holland does not like confrontation and she avoids it at all costs, even to the detriment of creating problems that aren’t really there. Overall, this story is as much about Holland finally becoming the person she wants to be, as it is about her and Calvin falling in love.
As for our hero, Calvin, I enjoyed him and completely get why Holland was so fascinated by his Irish accent. Again, I wish we could have a POV for Calvin, but Christina Lauren does a good job of expressing his thoughts and emotions through his actions and Holland’s observations. He’s surprised by Holland’s offer of marriage but he jumps in and goes along; I can only assume that Calvin had some immediate attraction to Holland that helped him make that decision. Once their relationship starts to move from friends to actual lovers, I liked that Calvin was pretty open with his feelings. Holland often doubted them because she was concerned about his motivations but as the reader, I could clearly see how Calvin was falling more and more for Holland. He makes some interesting mistakes along the way that created some drama in the relationship but for the most part, Calvin was a great romantic lead.
Holland’s uncles were amazing and they stole the scene any time they were on the page. Her relationship to them is extremely close and more like father and daughter so she’s often seeking their advice and approval. I loved how much they supported Holland and encouraged her to pursue her dreams, but also gave it to her straight when she needed it. I am a little bit jealous that I don’t have uncles like this.
••• Book Details •••
Romance, Contemporary, Comedy • Gallery Books • December 5, 2017
Marriages of convenience are so…inconvenient.
Rescued by Calvin McLoughlin from a would-be subway attacker, Holland Bakker pays the brilliant musician back by pulling some of her errand-girl strings and getting him an audition with a bigtime musical director. When the tryout goes better than even Holland could have imagined, Calvin is set for a great entry into Broadway—until he admits his student visa has expired and he’s in the country illegally.
Holland impulsively offers to wed the Irishman to keep him in New York, her growing infatuation a secret only to him. As their relationship evolves from awkward roommates to besotted lovers, Calvin becomes the darling of Broadway. In the middle of the theatrics and the acting-not-acting, what will it take for Holland and Calvin to realize that they both stopped pretending a long time ago?