☆☆➹⁀☆ 4 stars ☆➹⁀☆☆
What It’s About:
Eliza Roth and her sister Sophie co-own a jewelry shop in Brooklyn. One night, after learning of an ex’s engagement, Eliza accidentally posts a photo of herself wearing a diamond ring on that finger to her Instagram account beloved by 100,000 followers. Sales skyrocket, press rolls in, and Eliza learns that her personal life is good for business. So she has a choice: continue the ruse or clear up the misunderstanding.
With mounting financial pressure, Eliza sets off to find a fake fiancé.
Fellow entrepreneur Blake seems like the perfect match on paper. And in real life he shows promise, too. He would be perfect, if only Eliza didn’t feel also drawn to someone else. But Blake doesn’t know Eliza is “engaged”; Sophie asks Eliza for an impossible sum of money; and Eliza’s lies start to spiral out of control. She can either stay engaged online or fall in love in real life.
The title, Love at First Like, sounds like a romantic comedy, but it was not particularly funny or romantic. Instead of the expected rom-com, I read a women’s literature novel that heavily focuses on Eliza’s personal development and business. There is more discussion/description of her business, use of social media as a marketing tool, and the wedding industry than there is of romantic relationships. I appreciated the main character’s growth and realization that she probably avoided romantic heartache by hiding behind her business. Love at First Like does throw a spotlight on celebrity freebies in exchange for promotion.
Eliza is impetuous, and often her desperation and focus on social media makes her seem like a teenager. Her sister Sophie is the artiste, but she seems much more grounded than her business-partner/sister.
The male characters are rather flat, which makes it hard to get behind either of Eliza’s prospects. One is a gorgeous, successful guy in the same industry who seems fairly shallow, and the other is a self-described tech geek turned bartender with a heart of gold. Their one-dimensional development does highlight Eliza’s desperation to find a fake groom to avoid fallout from her Instagram shenanigans. She is clearly not searching for love.
Author Hannah Orenstein’s writing is crisp, and her plot is straightforward. The story layout helps to increase the tension as Eliza’s fibs spin out of control the closer she gets to her looming deadlines. Although it is transparent from the start who Eliza will eventually end up with, the journey is fun and the ending is not a typical romance novel HEA.
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