I received an ARC of this book via Mills & Boon and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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…
I don’t usually read fiction books by celebrities, and I’ve definitely never read a Mills & Boon book, but this was an interesting one – for sure.
It felt weird reading a book set during the build up to Christmas, for sure, but what ensued was not an over-the-top-tinsel-fest..in fact, and possibly to my surprise, this was a fun, heartfelt book with an insight into serious topics like infertility, sustainability, disability and grief.
Admittedly, though no fault of Toffolo, it took me a while to get into – though this was probably in part down to the fact that, with all the madness of working from home and getting my head around living day to day in this crazy time – but (when I eventually did get into the rhythm) I liked it. It was a bit fluffy and mushy at times but it was also sensitive and mature – which will silence any critics of celebrities branching out into literature writing, for sure.
Oliver and Victoria come together several times in the book, the first time through a drunken proposal at the bar where Victoria works. Though I love the fake romance trope, which the first chance encounter leads to, I did find the fact that he proposes to her on first meeting very cringey. Saying that, I’m glad the relationship developed at a speed that felt natural, not contrived.
I liked how the two characters genuinely wanted to help each other with their goals, though the whole my-parents-want-to-see-me-married-so-I’m-not-a-disappointment feels a bit outdated, and I think the romance that blossomed with them made for a sweet read.
My only complaint where Meet Me in London was concerned was the fact that – no fault of Toffolo – I just couldn’t visualise the London setting. I’ve been to London before, once on a school trip, but (aside from most places we planned on going being closed, and the tube being off for the day) I don’t remember much of it. I just didn’t feel the sense of familiarity that the characters felt.
Even so, Meet Me in London is a festive, flirty and fun novel that might even put the Scrooges amongst us (me) in a festive/romantic mood (lockdown has reminded me I might just have been single for too long 😂).
Meet Me in London will be published on 15th October 2020.
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