Note, the format of my Short and Sweet reviews differs in that they simply comprise the book blurb and a short response (hence, the short and sweet).
I read Love & Other Lies, a short contemporary romance by Madeleine Ash, while waiting for an appointment … which turned out to be an hour late. It’s an easy read that doesn’t waste a lot of time getting to the point (the instant chemistry the protagonists feel), builds up the tension in the lead up to the bedroom (in this case, the bedroom is the second stop in the lovers’ journey), and keeps up a good pace towards the happy ending. Just what romance lovers want. Here’s the blurb:
Small town vet Abby Benson has fled to the country to put her shameful past behind her. She’s just beginning to find her feet again when handsome stranger, Rue Thorn, arrives in town and begins to stir things up. Rue is gorgeous, kind and thoughtful and the two share an instant attraction. But convinced he’ll despise her if he learns about her history, Abby reluctantly keeps him at arms length.
Determined to win Abby over, Rue tries to reshape himself as the sort of guy he thinks she might be interested in. And for a while it seems his act is working. But when he finds out that Abby has been lying to him, it isn’t long before everything start to unravel …
The story meets romantic expectations well – there’s the initial meeting that draws out conflict and chemistry, there’s something else that draws them together (in this case, an injured dog), there’s increasing attraction and emotional intensity, and there’s growth and change. The conflict is unusual in this story in that the heroine, Abby, is a compulsive liar – lies of omission and secrets are a common source of conflict, but I haven’t seen a compulsive liar in a romance before. And, instead of Rue being the alpha male, he’s the perennial nice guy – something he tries and fails to change.
Parts of the story worked better for me than others. It wasn’t the relationship I had a problem with, or even the conflict and how that was handled. Instead, it was more the way Abby had all these people holding her accountable (if she lied, she couldn’t stay in the town). That aspect didn’t ring true for me. That said, Love & Other Lies was a pleasant way to pass time and it will appeal to readers looking for some sweet escape.
Available as an eBook online. My copy was courtesy of Penguin Books Australia via Netgalley.