Author: Sara Desai
Narrator: Soneela Nankani
Audiobook Length: 10 hours 44 minutes
Opposites attract in this romantic comedy about a free-spirited lawyer who is determined to find the perfect match for the grumpy bachelor at her friend’s wedding
After a devastating break-up, celebrity-obsessed lawyer Zara Patel is determined never to open her heart again. She puts her energy into building her career and helping her friends find romance through the wedding season. She’s never faced a guest at the singles table she couldn’t match, until she crosses paths with the sinfully sexy Jay Donovan.
Former military security specialist Jay has no time for love. His life is about working hard, staying focused, and winning at all costs. When charismatic Zara crashes into his life, he’s thrown into close contact with exactly the kind of chaos he wants to avoid. Worse, they’re stuck together for the entire wedding season.
So they make a deal. She’ll find his special someone if he introduces her to his celebrity clients. But when their arrangement brings them together in ways they never expected, they realize that the perfect match might just be their own.
The Singles Table is the third novel in the Marriage Games series where the stories can be read together or as standalones. Each features a separate couple with some overlap between the characters within the Patel family. This novel follows lawyer Zara Patel, who enjoys setting up her friends and family, but is not sure that love is in the cards for her. Not only is she unlucky in love, but she worries that she may be unlucky in her career as she fears that she may be let go from her firm. She meets security specialist and Air Force veteran, Jay Donovan, for a wedding they are both attending, including all related events. Jay’s business serves celebrity clients, who Zara would love to meet, so the two of them strike up a deal where Zara will try to set-up single Jay in exchange for him to introduce him to celebrities who could become potential clients for her firm.
The two characters first meet at the bachelor/bachelorette party that is a paintball competition. The two of them immediately clash as they each approach the competition differently. This was a very entertaining introduction to the two of them together as they are complete opposites. They follow the sunshine/grump trope where Zara is over-the-top and very outgoing whereas Jay is more reserved and can come across as moody. Their personality differences also begin them towards enemy territory making this also an enemies to lovers story. While I am a huge fan of both tropes, it seemed the enemies part was over than expected as the two of them made progress towards being more friendly than expected. For me, I enjoyed a slower transition, but I still enjoyed the characters getting to know the other.
After Zara’s parents divorced when she was eleven and with heartbreaks in her own love life, she is jaded and has a hard time believing that a happy ending can exist for her. As for Jay, he has a lot going on with his mental health, including PTSD from his time in the military. Their love story takes awhile to begin in the writing, so the first part of the novel takes a bit to become invested; however, once the characters begin to interact more, the pacing becomes more captivating. There are a few side stories with each character that I felt took a little too much time on the page, such as Jay’s fundraising with the bank. I would have preferred less dedicated to this and replaced with more interactions between the two main characters.
Overall, this story was sweet and I enjoyed the humorous moments integrated into the writing. Zara and Jay were well-balanced as they helped bring out different sides of each other. While I did not experience the same trauma with my own parents’ divorce, I know many people that can relate to Zara’s feelings on love from this separation. This brought some nice relatability to the story along with Jay’s mental health, which is experienced my tons of people. I enjoyed how both were incorporated and neither of their feelings were minimized. They had great banter and chemistry, but they were missing something that would make them standout among other novels of the same genre and trope. As a series, I love how each story was different and how family and culture played a role. All three novels were well worth the read and I will gladly read more from the author.