Title: Never Fall for Your Fiancee (The Merriwell Sisters #1)
Author: Virginia Heath
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Publication date: November 9th, 2021
The first in a new historical rom-com series, a handsome earl hires a fake fiancée to keep his matchmaking mother at bay, but hilarity ensues when love threatens to complicate everything.
The last thing Hugh Standish, Earl of Fareham, ever wants is a wife. Unfortunately for him, his mother is determined to find him one, even from across the other side of the ocean. So, Hugh invents a fake fiancée to keep his mother’s matchmaking ways at bay. But when Hugh learns his interfering mother is on a ship bound for England, he realizes his complicated, convoluted but convenient ruse is about to implode. Until he collides with a beautiful woman, who might just be the miracle he needs.
Minerva Merriwell has had to struggle to support herself and her two younger sisters ever since their feckless father abandoned them. Work as a woodcut engraver is few and far between, and the Merriwell sisters are nearly penniless. So, when Hugh asks Minerva to pose as his fiancée while his mother is visiting, she knows that while the scheme sounds ludicrous, the offer is too good to pass up.
Once Minerva and her sisters arrive at Hugh’s estate, of course, nothing goes according to his meticulous plan. As hilarity and miscommunication ensue, while everyone tries to keep their tangled stories straight, Hugh and Minerva’s fake engagement starts to turn into a real romance. But can they trust each other, when their relationship started with a lie?
Hugh, the Earl of Fareham is so much of a commitment-phobe that he invented a fiancee two years ago to get his matchmaking mother off his back. But, his mother is on her way to visit from Boston, so Hugh’s scheme is going to blow up in his face unless he can figure out a plan. When he meets Minerva, a charming young lady who happens to have the same name as his fake fiancee – he proposes a solution, Hugh will pay Minerva to pose as his fiancee for a short time before he can break off the engagement and fool his mother. What could go wrong?
Regency romance is a fairly new genre for me, but I’ve found that I enjoy it. This one is pretty average for me though, I liked the MC’s sisters more than her (which since this is the beginning of a series, means I am more invested in the upcoming books). The main issue with this book is that it all hinges on dumb, straight, white man logic. Hugh thinks because his father and grandfather cheated, it’s literally in his blood and he can’t control it and is fated to do the same – so he avoids romantic entanglements. Like, free will does’t exist? It rubbed me the wrong way, it’s such a common trope in cheating culture and is used as an excuse in real life all the time. Granted, the MC doesn’t cheat, just assumes he will and is broken because of his family history. Not my favorite use of conflict and commitment phobia, personally. Also, the conflict was resolved shockingly quickly.
Never Fall For Your Fiancee is also fairly closed door, there are a few kissing scenes and a fade to black. It is a regency romance so it’s set in England, but there is a feminist twist to it where Hugh’s mom insists he marry for love instead of status, even though he is an earl. Tropes include forced proximity and fake engagement.
Thank you to Netgalley and St. Martin’s Griffin for an early copy in exchange for an honest review.
Happy reading, folks!