One (crumbling) French castle. Two enemies-at-first-sight. The holiday of a lifetime.
Merry DeLuca has a problem—a big problem. Her sister just married her best friend and the only man she’s ever loved. Her life is rapidly spiralling down the drain and she doesn’t have an escape plan.
So when Merry is offered a three-month holiday living in a romantic castle in the French countryside she leaps at the chance. Merry knows her French holiday will fix everything—there will be mouthwatering pastries, delicious (meaningless) flirtations, and languid strolls through vineyards at sunset. Her holiday will be perfect.
At least, Merry believes that until she arrives and finds Noah Wright—the best man at her sister’s wedding and the worst man she’s ever known—staying in her castle.
Famous travel documentarian by day and arrogant devil by night, Noah refuses to leave the castle. Which means that Merry and Noah are stuck together in France, in a crumbling castle, in a holiday where nothing goes right. Not for Merry and not for Noah.
So they strike a truce—they’ll live as cohabitating friends for three-months, and then they’ll amicably part ways, never to see each other again.
But the thing about friendship? Sometimes secrets are uncovered. Mysteries revealed. Hearts laid bare. And friendship can start to feel a lot like caring. A lot like love. It can even make you wish that the holiday never has to end.
|Category / Genre(s):
Only One Bed
|Point of View:
|First Person, Present Tense, Singe Viewpoint (heroine)
|Annecy, Haute-Savoie, France
|26th April, 2023
Absorbing romance in France
I’m a big fan of Sarah Ready’s stories, especially her romcoms. This book is a complete standalone – not connected to any previous book or series – and comes with its own HEA.
I connected with Merry from the very first. She’s got a lot going on what with her sister marrying the only man she’s loved, her unrequited love of said man, her job being terrible and her crazy family. Despite all this, she was written in such a way that made me like and relate to her. She made me laugh, too, which is always good. But I really liked her best when she was interacting with Noah.
I can’t help but fall for a character like Noah. He’s a bit of a grump yet he’s a secret sweetheart – and so in need love that I just want to smoosh him into a giant hug. He’s something of an enigma but it’s clear he’s hiding deep feelings and that’s my catnip right there.
This story is told completely from Merry’s perspective – in first person, present tense. I normally prefer to hear from both my main characters but that just wouldn’t have worked in this tale. By just hearing and knowing Merry’s point of view, we’re equally in the dark about Noah’s thoughts, feelings and what he’s really up to. I was as confused and frustrated as Merry herself which really helped me connect with her more.
I love a good enemies-to-lovers story and this had the added bonus of forced proximity, only one bed, a little mystery and, of course, the French setting. I admit to being slightly apprehensive when I heard the story was about two Americans in France. Would be getting a rose coloured glasses, stereotypical and a bit cringe view of France and the French? Now I’m not French, but I didn’t get that vibe at all. In fact, the setting really made me yearn to be in France and, in France or not, eat lots of cheese, bread and pastries.
There is some sex in this story and while it’s descriptive, there’s not a lot of it and it comes towards the end of the story. And to be honest, it’s exactly the right amount. The build up of affection, sexual tension and love between Noah and Merry is slow, but you really feel it so any sex is just the icing on the cake.
Sarah Ready’s writing style is so absorbing that you’re right there in the story with the characters and in France along with them. I got shivers down my spine when the gothic romance was at the fore, I was distraught when Louis was about to meet his maker and I got teary when the mystery came to its conclusion. I was utterly engaged from the first and continued to be so to the very last page. Another superb tale from Sarah Ready and she can take me to France at any point in the future. 5 stars for this one.
* I received this book in exchange for my honest review *
Author Sarah Ready writes contemporary romance and romantic comedy.
Her books have been described as “euphoric”, “heartwarming” and “laugh out loud”. Her debut novel The Fall in Love Checklist was hailed as “the unicorn read of 2020”. She loves to write fast-paced, emotionally compelling romances about quirky, smart women and the men who love them.
Before writing romance full-time Sarah had lots of fun teaching at an Ivy League. Then she realized she could have even more fun writing romance. Her favorite things after writing are adventuring and travel. You’ll frequently find her using her degree at a dino dig site, crawling into a cave, snorkeling, or on horseback riding through the jungle – all fodder for her next book. She’s lived in Scotland, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland and NYC. She currently lives in the Caribbean with her water-obsessed pup and her awesome family.
You can visit her online at www.sarahready.com