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. A girlfriend who does not exist. He needs a diversion. Something to keep his mother from interfering 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…
|Title:||Meet Me in London|
|Series:||Meet Me… (Book 1)|
|Category / Genre(s):||Contemporary|
|Point of View:||Third person, past tense, dual viewpoint (H & h)|
|Location:||London and Devon, UK|
|Release Date:||15th October, 2020|
A sweet treat
I am a fan of Made in Chelsea so am familiar with – and liked – Georgia Toffolo before knowing she’d written a book. However, if you’re not a fan of reality TV, or have no idea who Toff is, please don’t let that put you off. This book was written with the help of Louisa George.
Anyway… onto the book.
This was super cute and a perfect Mills & Boon Christmas treat. The writing is fresh, fun and has the enthusiasm and excitement I’ve come to expect from Ms Toffolo. There is quite a lot of conversation and a lot of detail, but you never get bogged down or overwhelmed. In fact, it’s the myriad of little details that really draw a bigger picture of London at Christmas time. It’s clear that the author has a real love of London and all its nooks and crannies – especially fabric shops!
Victoria is a likeable character and felt real to me. She has lots of layers, including trauma in her past – but it’s never too much and never lets you feel sorry for her. She acts in ways true to how I think I would act if I was participating in a fake relationship – and was falling for my fake fiancé! Panic, fear and over-thinking everything, mainly!
Oliver was an equally delightful character. He’s frustrated with his life and the path that he’s on so the joy he finds in Victoria’s company is especially delightful. He’s like a hot, sexy geeky millionaire and such a decently nice guy. He was perfect for Victoria and the book as a whole.
As I mentioned, Victoria has gone through some trauma that has affected her outlook on life and love. While this is an important part of Victoria, and is ‘teased’ for a few chapters before finally revealed, it’s never too upsetting or angsty. And with the right man, her medical issues are not issues at all – a fact Oliver proves when he’s finally told.
There’s talk of it, but the sex in the book happens completely behind closed doors which definitely fit with the tone of the book. Seeing anything would have felt kind of wrong, somehow – so I’m pleased, for once, that there were no overt shenanigans!
One thing I will say is that I felt this read more like a new adult romance than a contemporary one. The characters are 28 and 31, if I recall correctly, and while Oliver was probably more believable as someone in his early 30s, Victoria’s position, outlook and overall demeanour definitely read, to me, as someone in their early 20s. This isn’t necessarily a criticism as I very much enjoy NA romances, but I felt happier once I adjusted their ages in my head!
Overal, this was a sweet, lively and readable Christmas romance that perfectly fits the Mills & Boon brand. Victoria’s friends appear quite heavily in this story, and seemed to have a close bond as a group. If Ms Toffolo writes stories for the rest of the friend group, I’m going to snap them right up. As a first book, this was a super sweet treat and one I would recommend if you enjoy a M&B tale. 4 stars.
Georgia “Toff” Toffolo is a British television personality, Instagram star and author. She is best known for appearing on the E4 reality show, Made in Chelsea, and winning the 17th series of ITV’s I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! She released her first book, Always Smiling in 2018 and signed a 4 book deal with Mills & Boon in 2020 to produce enchanting stories of love and enduring female friendship.