~ Book Review: The Fiancée Farce (ARC) ~

Expected publication April 18, 2023

Author: Alexandria Bellefleur

Tansy Adams’ greatest love is her family’s bookstore, passed down from her late father. But when it comes to actual romance… Tansy can’t get past the first chapter. Tired of her stepfamily’s questions about her love life, Tansy invents Gemma, a fake girlfriend inspired by the stunning cover model on a bestselling book. They’ll never actually meet, so what’s the harm in a little fib? Yet when real-life Gemma crosses Tansy’s path, her white lie nearly implodes.

Gemma van Dalen is a wild child, the outcast of her wealthy family, and now the latest heir to Van Dalen Publishing. But the title comes with one tiny condition: she must be married in order to inherit. When Gemma discovers a beautiful stranger has been pretending to date her for months, she decides to take the charade one step further—and announces their engagement.

Gemma needs a wife to meet the terms of her grandfather’s will and Tansy needs money to save her struggling bookstore. A marriage could be mutually beneficial, if they can fool everyone into thinking it’s a love match. Unexpected sparks fly as Tansy and Gemma play the role of affectionate fiancées, and suddenly the line between convenient arrangement and real feelings begins to blur. But the scheming Van Dalen family won’t give up the company without a fight, and Gemma and Tansy’s newfound happiness might get caught in the fallout…

The Fiancée Farce is my fourth novel by Alexandria Bellefleur. Unlike the other three novels, this one is currently a standalone. Since each main character has side characters around them, there could be another series, but it did not read like this was the intention. (I could be proven wrong, though, and I would read the future series.) The cover intrigued me a lot to read the novel plus I love fake relationships. (I do wish that the cover better reflected the characters as Tansy is described as bigger, yet she appears a lot thinner on the cover.) Once you add in that both main characters are bisexual, this seemed like a winning concept. I am pleased that this novel turned out well for me although there are a few elements that I felt could be improved.

This novel follows Tansy Adams who is an introverted bookseller who prefers the company of books to people. She is trying to save the family business and keep her family off her back for her love life. She invents a fake girlfriend from the cover of a romance novel, who turns out to be a real person. Gemma van Dalen is not only a romance cover model but the heir to a newspaper. Gemma needs a fiancée as her family wants her married to take over the business. The two begin a fake relationship that is mutually beneficial that, as expected, develops into something more. Their relationship was sweet, and I loved how they communicated well with each other. The relationship does develop faster than I expected as it seemed their romance moved forward quickly so the two could focus on their personal issues instead. For me, I would prefer a slowly build up as the tension is something I love in these types of stories.

As there is not a lot of relationship build-up, both Tansy and Gemma have a lot to work on in their personal lives. As Gemma is working to inherit the company, I did love this part of the story, however, I did want a little more about her other job as a romance cover model. Since Tansy saw Gemma on a cover, I would have loved this part of Gemma’s career expanded on a little more. The story itself was well-paced and the other characters interacted well with the two main ones. There is a minor event involving underage photos that I do not think was handled with enough care; however, this was a minor piece of the story, so it does not take away from the rest of the writing. Overall, this was a sweet story and a great novel by Bellefleur. I continue to enjoy her work and I look forward to reading more from her in the future.

**I give a special thank you to Netgalley and the publisher, Avon, for the opportunity to read this entertaining novel. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.**

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