Saturday, December 21, 2019

Review: "The Dating Charade" by Melissa Ferguson

A great cover is an amazing marketing tool, and The Dating Charade certainly has a great cover! I didn't even need to read the synopsis to know that this was a book I wanted to read.

Cassie Everson is an expert at escaping bad first dates. And, after years of meeting, greeting, and running from the men who try to woo her, Cassie is almost ready to retire her hopes for a husband—and children—altogether.

But fate has other plans, and Cassie’s online dating profile catches the eye of firefighter Jett Bentley. In Jett’s memory, Cassie Everson is the unreachable girl-of-legend from their high school days. Nervously, he messages her, setting off a chain of events that forces a reluctant Cassie back into the dating game.

No one is more surprised than Cassie when her first date with Jett is a knockout. But when they both go home and find three children dropped in their laps—each—they independently decide to do the right and mature thing: hide the kids from each other while sorting it all out. What could go wrong?

Melissa Ferguson’s hilarious and warmhearted debut reminds us that love can come in very small packages—and that sometimes our best-laid plans aren’t nearly as rewarding and fun as the surprises that come our way.

The Dating Charade is one of those books you pick up because of the cover ... and you keep reading because of the compelling story! When I began this book, I expected to find a light-hearted romantic comedy, and that's what I got ... sort of. There are certainly romcom aspects to The Dating Charade, especially concerning Cassie's dates at the beginning and Jett's misunderstanding with his neighbor Sarah. But this book also delves deeper, telling heartbreaking tales of the foster care system, while still having a version of that "happily ever after" ending we look for in a romance.

While the beginning was a little slow for me, the end left me with a couple questions, and I would've liked Cassie and Jett to share more page time, I very much enjoyed this book! It has humor and heartbreak, precocious children and meddling grandmotherly types, and a whole lot of heart. And, since a large chunk of the story takes place during the Christmas season, it's the perfect book to read in the days leading up to Christmas. 4 stars.

Buy the book. (affiliate link)

Melissa Ferguson lives in Bristol, Tennessee, where she is an adjunct professor at King University and pens books that make her laugh and grow. She used to have hobbies like running and backpacking the Appalachian Trail outside her door. Now she and her husband are outnumbered, and her hobbies include diaper changes, chasing toddlers in parking lots, and admiring the Appalachian Trail out her minivan window while singing “Winnie the Pooh.” She survives by Jesus, rom coms, and roughly two espresso shots a day. The Dating Charade is her first novel.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Also, some of the links in this post are affiliate links; this means if you click the link and purchase an item, I will receive a small commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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