Tansy Adams has been lying to her family for months about dating a woman called Gemma. The name didn’t come out of nowhere, a romance novel model was the inspiration. Things get interesting when said model dances into Tansy’s life at her step-cousin’s wedding. Gemma turns out to be the groom’s cousin and the van Dalen family black sheep, in a pickle of her own: to inherit the family business, Van Dalen Publishing, she needs to get married. Discovering that she’s been a beautiful woman’s fake fiancée for months sounds like a perfect opportunity.
I wasn’t going to read this book because I’m convinced I overrated the only other Bellefleur story I read, Written in the Stars – I blame the Christmas spirit for that – but then I got the opportunity to download an advanced listening copy of The Fiancée Farce and I remembered the narration of Written in the Stars being good so why not? And I ended up having a lot of fun.
I’ll be honest, not much is plausible in this story. That said, how plausible are most romcoms? It all comes down to whether the interactions between the main characters work and for me, they did. I loved Tansy and Gemma, both as individuals struggling with their very different but as difficult families and trying to do the right thing in their work life, and as a couple. The banter, the shifts in strength and support, the fondness, I liked it all.
The narration is to be thanked for that to a considerable extent. The writing itself is okay but repetitive at times and exaggerated, especially when it comes to the bad guys. Lauren Sweet, the narrator, makes it work anyway, and I found myself chuckling more than once. The only flaw in the narration is the few sentences in French, but they’re pronounced by a side character and there aren’t many. That said, while I get prioritizing the rest of the book over a few words that aren’t essential when it comes to the narration, I don’t understand why neither the author nor the publisher thought to check with a French-speaking person that what was written was correct in the first place. Rant over (until the next time).
On the positive side, bonus points for Teddy, one of Gemma’s numerous roommates, who keeps bringing wit and comic relief. Not that Gemma and Tansy aren’t funny in their own right, but Teddy is camp and outrageous and kind and a great secondary character. It also helps that I’m a sucker for any kind of British accent and Sweet gave him the perfect intonations.
All in all, I had a really fun time listening, I was always disappointed when I had to stop to attend to whatever life thought was more urgent. And there’s a playlist on Spotify, which is always appreciated.
Listen to The Fiancée Farce:
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