Author: Georgia Toffolo
What do you do when your fake engagement starts to feel too real…
Aspiring clothes designer Victoria Scott spends her days working in a bar in Chelsea and her evenings designing vintage clothes, dreaming of one day opening her own boutique. But these aspirations are under threat from the new department store opening at the end of her road. She needs a Christmas miracle, but one is not forthcoming.
Oliver Russell’s Christmas is not looking very festive right now. His family’s new London department store opening is behind schedule, and on top of that his interfering, if well-meaning, mother is pressing him to introduce his girlfriend to her over the holidays—a girlfriend who does not exist. He needs a diversion…something to keep his mother from meddling while he focuses on the business.
When Oliver meets Victoria, he offers a proposition: pretend to be his girlfriend at the opening of his store and he will provide an opportunity for Victoria to showcase her designs. But what starts as a business arrangement soon becomes something more tempting as the fake relationship starts to feel very real. But when secrets in Victoria’s past are exposed, will Oliver walk away, or will they both follow their hearts and find what neither knew they were looking for…?
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Meet Me in London is the first in the Meet Me series that follow different couples and take place around the world. Victoria Scott is a 28-year-old aspiring fashion designer who currently works as a bartender in Chelsea. Oliver Russell is a 32-year-old heir to the Russell & Co. department store empire whose family is ready for him to settle down. When Russell heads toward Victoria’s bar, the two meet and together figure out that a fake engagement would be beneficial to both. Both have obstacles where they are not interested in a real relationship, so this arrangement works best for them.
Oliver’s family was sweet and fun as they were supportive of each other and kind to Victoria. Oliver is busy trying to navigate the family business after his father fell ill. He feels a lot of pressure to do well for the business not to fail. As for Victoria, she did not have great romantic luck in her previous relationships, so she is unsure about finding love again. After a previous accident, she is also infertile and feels that no one will want her because of it. This is one of the main reasons that Victoria didn’t want a relationship, especially with Oliver. The basics of this premise with Victoria reminded me of The Friend Zone, although not quite as polished. I do like that Oliver and Victoria began with attraction, so the feelings grew from there and the two eventually need to deal with the inevitable real feelings for each other.
As with other stories there are elements that are implausible. This is especially true with Victoria’s finances as she has a larger apartment in Chelsea, works as at a bar, and still has disposable income for the designing side of her life. Overall, though, the main premise is fun, and I loved Oliver and Victoria together. Not only did they share great chemistry, but they also had great respect for the other. The writing itself was clunky in some places, especially with the dialogue; however, the pacing was well-done. It was a sweet, yet predictable story and I look forward to trying the sequels in the future.
Rudolph Prompt: Start a new series (15 pts)