I really really wanted to like this but it sadly wasn’t for me.
Book CWs: For a list of content/trigger warnings, tropes, and representation found in this book, check out its page on BookTriggerWarnings.com!
Premise (from Goodreads)
Reena Manji doesn’t love her career, her single status, and most of all, her family inserting themselves into every detail of her life. But when caring for her precious sourdough starters, Reena can drown it all out. At least until her father moves his newest employee across the hall–with hopes that Reena will marry him.
But Nadim’s not like the other Muslim bachelors-du-jour that her parents have dug up. If the Captain America body and the British accent weren’t enough, the man appears to love eating her bread creations as much as she loves making them. She sure as hell would never marry a man who works for her father, but friendship with a neighbor is okay, right? And when Reena’s career takes a nosedive, Nadim happily agrees to fake an engagement so they can enter a couples video cooking contest to win the artisan bread course of her dreams.
As cooking at home together brings them closer, things turn physical, but Reena isn’t worried. She knows Nadim is keeping secrets, but it’s fine— secrets are always on the menu where her family is concerned. And her heart is protected… she’s not marrying the man. But even secrets kept for self preservation have a way of getting out, especially when meddling parents and gossiping families are involved.
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Review (No Spoilers)
Thank you so much to NetGalley for approving me and providing me with a complimentary digital copy in exchange for an honest review!
Accidentally Engaged was a book that I was looking forward to ever since we decided that it would be one of our Team books for Trope-ical Readathon. I am a huge fan of the fake dating trope so this sounded right up my alley. Once the readathon started, it was one of the first books I picked up to read, so I was very disappointed to learn that it wasn’t my cup of tea.
Throughout this review, please keep in mind that I had an eARC so some things might have changed in the final product.
One of the main issues I had with this novel was that I wasn’t a fan of the main character, Reena. A lot of the plot focuses on the toxicity of her family, but Reena herself isn’t innocent of contributing to it. She spent a good amount of the book complaining that they weren’t supportive, but she hardly ever tried to solve these issues with actual communication. In fact, one of the biggest tears in her family (between her and her sister) could have easily been solved if Reena had been more willing to talk it through rather than run away and sulk.
Nadim, on the other hand, was absolutely wonderful. This was another romance book where I found myself cheering for the love interest more than the main character. He was patient and loving and (if I’m remembering properly) I faulted Reena for basically all of their quarrels.
The other thing that I was confused by was the pacing of the book. The ending seemed to come out of left-field and it felt so rushed to me that I couldn’t make sense of it. While it did succeed in tying all of the loose ends, I felt as if most were done a bit too conveniently. I either would have preferred to have more pages to deal with everything or to have some of the loose ends simply left untied. Not everything in life will work out the way we want it to, and it’s nice when a book can confront this fact head on.
Regardless of my personal issues with this novel, I do think that Accidentally Engaged will be a book that many people will love. It has #ownvoices South Asian rep and I enjoyed Farah Heron’s writing style. On top of that, the book features so many delicious dishes that it is sure to make your mouth water. My edition even had some recipes at the end for me to try at home! I’ll definitely keep my eye out for other books my Farah Heron and give those a try.
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