Real Kind of Love, by Sara Rider

>> Friday, October 26, 2018

TITLE: Real Kind of Love
AUTHOR: Sara Rider

PAGES: 242
PUBLISHER: Self-published

SETTING: Contemporary US
TYPE: Romance
SERIES: Books & Brews #1

What happens when a fake relationship turns into a real kind of love?

As an audiobook narrator, Clementine Cox has no trouble mastering the voices of space aliens, elven warriors, or even demon-possessed cats. But the moment she tries her hand at an erotic romance, she’s stumped. With her deadline looming, she books a week at a secluded cabin to restore her inner muse, telling her loving-but-overbearing family it’s a romantic getaway with her not-so-existent new boyfriend to keep them from worrying. She never expects them to invite themselves along to meet the new guy. Now, she has less than twenty-four hours to find a pretend boyfriend in order to save her job and, potentially, her sanity.

Workaholic Jake Donovan isn’t interested in a real relationship. After a broken engagement, all he wants to do is focus on keeping his brewpub, the Holy Grale, afloat. But when he finds out his favorite customer is in need of a fake boyfriend, and his business partners insist he take a much overdue vacation, he has no choice but to help Clem out. All he has to do is enjoy the sunshine, play nice with her family, and keep his hands to himself for the week.

But Jake’s not prepared to like waking up next to Clem every morning as much as he does. Or to feel so welcome by her quirky family. And as the line between real and fake starts to blur, he realizes one week might never be enough.
Clementine Cox has a loving but extremely loud and overbearing family. When she mentions that she's booked herself a cabin for a much-needed week away, they immediately decide they'll rent cabins right next door (and I paraphrase: "and the twins can bunk with you, Clem, right?"). To try to head them off, she stupidly invents a boyfriend she's going away with for the first time. Stupidly, because that doesn't stop them, and she should have guessed it wouldn't. They're coming anyway to meet him, and now Clem needs to produce said boyfriend.

Fortunately for Clem, Jake Donovan, the owner of the microbrewery and pub where she's a regular, is in need of a place to retreat to for a week himself (ex-girlfriend using his pub for a wedding venue). He offers to pretend to be said boyfriend. Anyone in any doubt of what happens next?

I had to stop reading because this book stressed me out and made me angry. The family is just unbearable. The behaviour Rider describes is not cute-pushy, which is clearly how I was meant to see it. To me, it is extreme and borderline abusive. The message is clearly: if it's your family they don't have to respect your agency or boundaries or even listen to you. They can decide of course you are just like them and of course you like the same things, whatever evidence to the contrary, so you need to do those things and look like you're enjoying them. That's the right and proper thing to happen.

Me, I wanted to strangle them. Seriously, I literally did. And I found Clementine pathetic for not standing up to them, particularly when the only excuse for that given was that she'd hurt their feelings. Fuck that. Maybe she does grow a spine later in the book, but my blood pressure couldn't wait that long.

The romance seemed fine. I liked Jake (apart from the fact that he is much too accepting of Clem's family's actions, and even goes along with some of it) and he and Clem did have some chemistry. I also wanted to know more about Clem's job as an audiobook narrator, as I'm fascinated by what that entails. Not enough to keep reading, though.



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