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Never Fall for Your Fiancée

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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 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?


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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 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?

30 review for Never Fall for Your Fiancée

  1. 4 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    Excellent! Excellent! Excellent! You’ll understand why this definition stuck with me when you’re reading the book! It is sooo irresistibly tempting! I adore fake engagement premise and sizzling attraction between couple can explode entire regency era! The storyline is simple and intriguing: Hugh Standish is charming, flirting gentleman who has commitment issues, thinking he inherited his father’s philanderer tendencies. But his mother Olive who lives in the overseas with her husband Jeremy is s Excellent! Excellent! Excellent! You’ll understand why this definition stuck with me when you’re reading the book! It is sooo irresistibly tempting! I adore fake engagement premise and sizzling attraction between couple can explode entire regency era! The storyline is simple and intriguing: Hugh Standish is charming, flirting gentleman who has commitment issues, thinking he inherited his father’s philanderer tendencies. But his mother Olive who lives in the overseas with her husband Jeremy is so adamant to see his happily ever after. So making her mother happy he created a fake fiancé named Minerva reminds us of household appliances brand name ( I’m kidding it’s the name of Roman goddess of wisdom) and elaborated his story with so many interesting details ( like the girl suffers from consumption which could be fatal disease at those ages, she sings like an angel, a competent horse rider and he saved her from carriage accident like a quiet brilliant knight in shining armor) But when his mother insists to visit to England to meet with her soon to be daughter in law, he thinks he’s in real trouble. He has to find a woman ASAP to act like his fiancée and the universe answers his prayers quickly. He bumps into a talented artist, creating woodcuts, needing to be paid for her services. He solves her problem by confronting the man who rejects to pay her with his negotiation skills, saving the damsel in distress! Guess what! This tough, outstanding, witty damsel named Minerva and she takes care of her two sisters alone at her young age. He sees this as a sign and offers her to be his fake fiancée with handsome compensation. She cannot reject this offer because she and her sisters are so close to live at streets and starving to death. Her weasel father left them penniless five years ago. So poor girls are on their own to survive! One thing Minerva and Hugh don’t count is since they bump each other, the sparks are already starting to fly around them. The attraction is undeniable! Chemistry is blasting! Hugh also has no idea Minerva will be accompanied with her two sisters: bold, intimidating, brass Diana already hates his guts, acting like man-hater as young Vee is too shy, having deep trouble to adjust in her role play, throwing tantrums. She might ruin their pretending game! Hugh’s brazen, man-whore friend Giles advises him to send the young sister back and warns him losing his authority because he is affected by Minerva’s charms. Hugh’s attempt to talk with Minerva results with a big fight which makes things more complicated. Now Minerva wants to leave the place but surprise, surprise...Olivia decided to arrive earlier and she’s already at home! She already meets with girl’s mom. Okay! I’m correcting: she meets with the actress who is playing the girl’s mom! So they should continue their farce ! And Giles’ sudden work related disappearance makes things more complicated! Now Hugh is trapped in his house with his mother, the fiancée who is seething after their argument and two unreliable sisters with over exaggerating actress a.k.a their fake mother! And did I tell you that fake mother can turn into more eccentric character when she drinks too much! This book is truly entertaining! I liked the chemistry and connection of Minerva and Hugh! I loved supporting characters. Payne as a sweet pain in the arse was my favorite one! Only thing bothered me was ending which was too rushed! And Hugh’s obsession about inheriting dysfunctional relationship patterns from his father was a illogical. Why he thinks he cannot be capable to form a lifetime long relationship? I’m still rounding up 4.5 stars to 5 because I had truly great time during my read! It was unputdownable, engaging, stimulating, feel good romance I highly recommend! I hope we get the sequel we need sooner ( probably it will be Giles and Diana’s story: enemies to lovers premise already intrigued me ! ) Special thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press/ St. Martin’s Griffin for sharing this digital reviewer copy with me in exchange my honest opinions.

  2. 4 out of 5

    aly ☆彡

    This isn't something new and recycle plot (especially for fake dating trope) is really tricky because after reading so many writings of similar, you’ll come around to get bored with it. And this book stands between the rock and the hard place as the only distinctive feature it had is that it was set in the 1800s. Hugh Standish, a charming, flirty gentleman with commitment issues, invented a phoney fiancée named Minerva in order to keep her mother out of his love life. However, all of his well ar This isn't something new and recycle plot (especially for fake dating trope) is really tricky because after reading so many writings of similar, you’ll come around to get bored with it. And this book stands between the rock and the hard place as the only distinctive feature it had is that it was set in the 1800s. Hugh Standish, a charming, flirty gentleman with commitment issues, invented a phoney fiancée named Minerva in order to keep her mother out of his love life. However, all of his well arranged falsehoods are about to burst when his mother sends an unexpected letter announcing her coming to England to meet her soon-to-be daughter-in-law. Until he comes upon a gifted woodcut artist who demands payment for her services from one of the locals, saved the day, and only to find out her name is... You guess right. Minerva. Ceasing the opportunity at hands, Hugh offers Minerva to become his fake fiancée in exchange of forty pounds, soon after realizing Minevera’s precarious financial situation. To an extend, this book is enjoyable but the tragicomedy was weary at times, and a little too intricate for what was supposed to be a fun read. Undeniably, the romantic connection was apparent; what started off as abhor later turned into attraction. Though I believe lots of Hugh's POV is just him mistaking love with lust blergh. There were a ton of up and downs but Hugh and Minerva are full of banter and sweet moments which I do enjoy their progress as the story goes despite the shortcoming. Notwithstanding the mediocre romance, this book relies on the miscommunication trope which isn't my favourite (I feel like that has always been the case for historical romance). This part is employed to offer the hero some emotional growth, but it also leads to unneeded misinterpretation, as is the case here. Hugh, I believe, was the reason I didn't enjoy this. He had some redeeming traits, but they never entirely redeemed him in my opinion. In comparison to Minerva, he felt immature and thoughtless. The nature vs nurture theme here can be both aggravating and compelling. I like that it depicts the society as the debate started mid 1800s but Hugh's reasoning of being commitmentphobic because of his father's philanderer tendencies felt ridiculous at times (especially when truths were revealed). One second, this book had me on a grip only to have me pull my hair later. The side characters were delightful though; the droll Giles, the militant Diana, the irrational Vee, the overly in character paid actress —all of them help to bring more colours to the plot, even when I felt some of the overdetailed scenes were unnecessary. But my most fav has to be our brutally honest butler, Payne. He tells Hugh precisely what he thinks, has a dry sense of humour, and supports Hugh and Minerva's romance before they even realize they're in love. The very dearest kind! Overall, the storyline was fun and over the top but could still use a room for improvement. I enjoyed it, but I felt that some of the characters lacked the depth I was looking for. While I liked the book, I’m not sure I would want to read the next instalments in the series. But hey! If you're looking for some dumb hero book (worse than himbo), this one may be exactly what you're looking for.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Tina

    This is a Historical Romance, and this is the first book in the Merriwell Sisters series. I have to say that Historical Romance is normally not my thing, but the storyline in this book made me want to read it. I did love the storyline, and I found parts of it so funny. The writing in the book was a little bit to flowery and over done for me. I found the characters in the book to be well developed, and I enjoyed most of the characters. I just did not like how somethings in the book just keep comi This is a Historical Romance, and this is the first book in the Merriwell Sisters series. I have to say that Historical Romance is normally not my thing, but the storyline in this book made me want to read it. I did love the storyline, and I found parts of it so funny. The writing in the book was a little bit to flowery and over done for me. I found the characters in the book to be well developed, and I enjoyed most of the characters. I just did not like how somethings in the book just keep coming up over and over. Overall, I found this book just ok. I was kindly provided an e-copy of this book by the publisher (St. Martin's Griffin) or author (Virginia Heath) via NetGalley, so I can give an honest review about how I feel about this book. I want to send a big Thank you to them for that.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Janet Newport

    Thank you NetGalley and St Martin's Press for the arc. Never Fall for Your Fiancee is as refreshing as a fruit sorbet on a hot afternoon! While the fake fiancee trope and plot were predictable to romance readers, the characters of this story were truly delightful.... as were their antics (think 3 Stooges). I do hope for further adventures from this bunch! Thank you NetGalley and St Martin's Press for the arc. Never Fall for Your Fiancee is as refreshing as a fruit sorbet on a hot afternoon! While the fake fiancee trope and plot were predictable to romance readers, the characters of this story were truly delightful.... as were their antics (think 3 Stooges). I do hope for further adventures from this bunch!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Alexis Hall

    Source of book: NetGalley (thank you) Relevant disclaimers: None Please note: This review may not be reproduced or quoted, in whole or in part, without explicit consent from the author. This is quite a difficult review to write because this book was … um. Fine. I enjoyed it, but I didn’t have particularly strong feelings about it, and I’m worried that’s going to make it anything I say about come across as faint-praisey. In any case, the basic premise here is that the hero, Hugh Standish, Earl of So Source of book: NetGalley (thank you) Relevant disclaimers: None Please note: This review may not be reproduced or quoted, in whole or in part, without explicit consent from the author. This is quite a difficult review to write because this book was … um. Fine. I enjoyed it, but I didn’t have particularly strong feelings about it, and I’m worried that’s going to make it anything I say about come across as faint-praisey. In any case, the basic premise here is that the hero, Hugh Standish, Earl of Somewhere-Or-Other has been lying to his mother for two years about being engaged to and in love with a woman called Minerva. This is because she desperately wants him to marry for wuv, he believes he is incapable of marrying for wuv because his father and grandfather were both philanderers, and he doesn’t want to disappoint her. But now she’s returning from America, where she’s been living with her new husband, leaving Hugh in the awkward situation of having to admit to his mother that he’s been lying to her for the past two years. ALTERNATIVELY he could meet a woman called Minerva at random in the street and pay her forty pounds to pretend to be his fiancé. As you can probably tell from that description, this is a light, frothy, low-angst kind of read given the main conflict is a man not wanting to upset his mum. And, to be fair to Never Fall For Your Fiancé, the book is pretty clear that Hugh’s behaviour does not reflect well on him. To quote Minerva herself (who is not above the occasional zinger): “What sort of man invents a fiancée because he finds responsibility too daunting and is frightened of his own mother?” Well, quite. And, in many ways, Hugh is an unusual character. Yes, there’s nothing particularly unusual about the whole Now We Got Bad Blood (in the hereditary sense) arc, but people-pleasing, sensitive and conflict-averse aren’t exactly standard romance hero fare. I rather wish more of had been made of it, if I’m honest, but the book was also at pains to emphasise his feckless fuckboyness as well, lest—I suspect—he came across as insufficiently masculine. Minerva is sharp, clever and likeable, but also felt more typical. She also starts the book as a talented engraver, struggling to get work because of her gender, a … I don’t even think it’s a plot exactly … a story element perhaps … that gets completely subsumed into pretending-to-be-an-Earl’s-fiance-and-then-falling-in-love-with-him business. Which, I don’t know? Maybe that’s fair enough? If I was a woman in the 19th century and my options were deal with institionalised sexism in the engraving industry or marry an Earl, I might go with the marry an Earl option too? Anyway, Never Fall For Your Fiancé has all the hallmarks of an entertaining, light-hearted histrom: amusing dialogue, an absurd premise, a well-drawn supporting cast, and strong chemistry between the leads. Why I think I struggled occasionally when I wished to romp was that the writing sometimes tended towards the over-expository (at least for my personal preference) and towards the end there are a run of miscommunications between Minerva and Hugh that got a little wearing: she thinks he’s asking her to be his mistress, he’s just asking her to wait until he sorts his head out, she thinks he’s rejecting her because she’s not of his social class, he’s actually rejecting her because he does feel he’s worthy etc. etc. I also pedantically tripped on the actual plot in the sense that Hugh meets Minerva entirely at random and is all like, oh thank god, a woman called Minerva who can pretend to be fiancé. Couldn’t he have just got ANY woman? Like, they’re lying about everything else. Why did it matter that her name was genuinely Minerva? On top of which there’s sex scene at the end that I personally didn’t feel was doing anything other than being a sex scene: I know banging in romance is a heavily contested subject, with some people feeling banging is integral to the romance genre but, personally, as a reader, I’d rather have no sex or less sex, than sex that wasn’t meaningfully part of the characters' journey. But, let me emphasise, that’s personal preference. I’m not saying the sex scene is bad or books with non-narratively driven sex-scenes are wrong. Just, to me, having Hugh put his dick in Minerva felt less about who they were, both as individuals and together, than, for example, the picnic they’d gone on earlier in the book. PLUS an earlier point of misunderstanding/conflict had been Minerva being offended she thought Hugh had wanted her to be his mistress, because she wasn’t going to “debase” herself for him. And while he’s assured her didn’t mean that, he’s still not ready to confess his feelings or, y’know marry her, but she’s suddenly all I WANT TO DO THE BANGING. And I don’t think I quite got how having sex with a gentleman without an offer marriage went so abruptly from not-okay to okay. Because wouldn’t sleeping him under the circumstances of his not being ready to do any marriage stuff but he might be maybe at some point in an undisclosed future mean she was sort of in practice his mistress anyway? There’s also some of the … um. I guess I’m just going to call it the standard histrom stuff that might not be ideal for some readers? I don’t mean to pick on this book specifically for it because it’s so widespread as to be almost a genre feature (though, let’s be clear, I kind of wish it wasn’t). So there’s a bit of gendered language in here (hot men affecting ‘feminine parts’ etc.) and a middle-aged stage actress who is used solely for the purpose of comedy. Hugh has hired her to play the part of Minerva’s mother, and when she’s first introduced she gives a delightful speech about method acting so I thought the joke was going to be that she was going to be pretentious but awesome at her job. Except no. The joke is that she is fat, old, vulgar, and drinks too much. The hero even imagines her when he needs to control his desire for the heroine. Which is, you know, not cool. And, listen, I know that histrom is specifically the place where we indulge our fantasies about aristocrats (and Never Fall Your Fiancé goes out of its way to note Hugh’s privilege, which I appreciated) but I really wish that didn’t always come at the cost of portraying anyone who isn’t an aristocrat as morally and aesthetically moribund. It strikes an especially strange note here, too, because Minerva and her sisters are genteel but impoverished, and their father is dodgy AF, so instead you get semi-Dickensian distinction enforced between the virtuous and the non-virtuous poor. And as far as I can tell, Lucretia DeVere’s only flaws are daring to be fat and earn her own living.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Meg

    INT. BOARDROOM – DAY SENIOR EXECUTIVE: Alright, so we need a new historical romance. Something light. JUNIOR EXECUTIVE: Tessa Dare? Doesn’t she have one more book in her Girl Meets Duke series? Isn’t that supposed to come out this year? ASSISTANT: Looks like the expected release has been pushed to…2024. JUNIOR EXECUTIVE: Excuse me? SENIOR EXECUTIVE: Never mind, scratch that. What about Julia Quinn? The Bridgerton adaptation was big. Does she have anything coming up on the docket? ASSISTANT: … SENIOR EX INT. BOARDROOM – DAY SENIOR EXECUTIVE: Alright, so we need a new historical romance. Something light. JUNIOR EXECUTIVE: Tessa Dare? Doesn’t she have one more book in her Girl Meets Duke series? Isn’t that supposed to come out this year? ASSISTANT: Looks like the expected release has been pushed to…2024. JUNIOR EXECUTIVE: Excuse me? SENIOR EXECUTIVE: Never mind, scratch that. What about Julia Quinn? The Bridgerton adaptation was big. Does she have anything coming up on the docket? ASSISTANT: … SENIOR EXECUTIVE: OK fine. They no longer have the same luster anyway. Take a dash of Dare’s twee fluff and a sprinkle of Quinn’s comedy of errors and mix it all together. JUNIOR EXECUTIVE: Yes, yes great. We can do that. SENIOR EXECUTIVE: I really liked that Dare book, When a Scot Ties the Knot. The one where the female lead invents a dashing hero to avoid the pressures of London society and marriage. But then it turns out the man she was describing and pretending to correspond with actually exists! JUNIOR EXECUTIVE: Oh yeah, that was a pretty good one. SENIOR EXECUTIVE: Yes, get me another one of those. JUNIOR EXECUTIVE: Another one of that… same set up? SENIOR EXECUTIVE: Yes, but gender swap it so that it’s the male lead who fabricated his sweetheart. And give me fake dating. Fake engagement I guess? And add even more lying. I want lies all the way through this thing. JUNIOR EXECUTIVE: Oh you know, I have just the draft manuscript in mind! SENIOR EXECUTIVE: Fantastic. Make sure the heroine has a niche interest. The heroine always has to have some kind of nerdy hobby in a fluffy historical romance. JUNIOR EXECUTIVE: Algebra? Making marzipan? Keeping snails as pets? Painting feminist murals on civic buildings? SENIOR EXECUTIVE: Art… yeah that’s working for me. Maybe she draws scientific illustrations? JUNIOR EXECUTIVE: Um… or she makes woodblock prints! SENIOR EXECUTIVE: Perfect. The heroine should also have quirky sisters or female friends who also have niche interests. We’re building a series here. JUNIOR EXECUTIVE: Absolutely, no problem. It’s always fun to get to a group scene in the last book of a series and realize you’ve read about the sex lives of everyone in the room. SENIOR EXECUTIVE AND ASSISTANT: … JUNIOR EXECUTIVE: Anyway. SENIOR EXECUTIVE: Anyway. The couple should have good chemistry. I want to see some very kind people who are genuinely good to each other. JUNIOR EXECUTIVE: Oh of course, consider it done! SENIOR EXECUTIVE: I love fake feelings becoming real feelings. Who can resist? JUNIOR EXECUTIVE: Not me, that’s for sure! So to confirm, under Conflict I’ve noted “piles and piles and piles of lies that threaten to collapse under the weight of their own absurdity” does that work for you? SENIOR EXECUTIVE: I feel like we need a bit more. ASSISTANT: What about if the hero is landed nobility, and the heroine isn’t? And he’s a reformed rake? Readers love a reformed rake. SENIOR EXECUTIVE: Eh… JUNIOR EXECUTIVE: Oh, oh what if they can’t be together because the hero’s father and grandfather were thoughtless philanderers and he thinks he can’t commit to marriage because of his “tainted bloodline”? SENIOR EXECUTIVE: Yes, I LOVE IT. No soul searching whatsoever. Absolutely no ownership or accountability. Just blame it on the rotten family tree. JUNIOR EXECUTIVE: Bloodline. He’s very clear on having defective blood. He mentions it at every opportunity. SENIOR EXECUTIVE: Whatever. As long as it can be resolved in one conversation in the last chapter. I want this wrapped up neatly. Super easy, barely an inconvenience. We don't have the page time for more given the layers and layers of farce we need to have at the climax. JUNIOR EXECUTIVE: Fun! SENIOR EXECUTIVE: Oh, and it needs to have an illustrated cover. Illustrated covers are all the rage with contemporaries and they’re starting to become popular with historicals too. We can’t be behind the times. JUNIOR EXECUTIVE: What about this one? I do love the look of the Regency era. So dreamy. ASSISTANT: Um, the draft manuscript says this book takes place in 1825. JUNIOR AND SENIOR EXECUTIVES: And? ASSISTANT: Well, technically speaking the Regency era ended in 1820. JUNIOR AND SENIOR EXECUTIVES: And? ASSISTANT: And while sometimes “Regency era” is used more fluidly, women definitely weren’t wearing narrow gowns like that in the mid-to-late 1820s. They looked more like this. SENIOR EXECUTIVE (physically recoils): Ugh, I can’t sell a romance novel with that poufy monstrosity on the cover, are you kidding? What kind of person even pays attention to these things anyway? Readers want Austen vibes. They want Bridgerton vibes. Give me that. JUNIOR EXECUTIVE: Yeah, stop being so petty. ASSISTANT: But… SENIOR EXECUTIVE: You’re fired. -- FIN

  7. 5 out of 5

    Aoife - Bookish_Babbling

    3.25* Fun final read for 2021 Regency & fake dating as a combo haven't hit my radar very often and this eye-catching cover deffo caught my beady magpie eye for an enticing trifecta 🤩 Jeremiah & Payne were hands down my faves and a scene near the end with the brandy legit made me snort laugh 🤭 Olivia was a treat and well up to "handling" her tricksy son 😈 I was a little disappointed that Diana & Giles didn't get a bit more on page sparring but perhaps that'll be the next book in the Merriwell Sister 3.25* Fun final read for 2021 Regency & fake dating as a combo haven't hit my radar very often and this eye-catching cover deffo caught my beady magpie eye for an enticing trifecta 🤩 Jeremiah & Payne were hands down my faves and a scene near the end with the brandy legit made me snort laugh 🤭 Olivia was a treat and well up to "handling" her tricksy son 😈 I was a little disappointed that Diana & Giles didn't get a bit more on page sparring but perhaps that'll be the next book in the Merriwell Sister series...not sure how I really feel about a romance there if Giles is the same age as Hugh tho 🤔 Vee has a bit of growing up to do and has been quite sheltered by her sisters so I'm reserving judgement altho I did enjoy her ability to step into the breach with quick thinking towards the end even if one of her final scenes was a little unfortunate but no spoilers and again I understand it because of her "immaturity". Minerva & Hugh were enjoyable MCs and the fake dating set up was well done with entertaining, to me, 'Importance of being Earnest' style snowballing/house of cards at the end. As often with a fake dating premise it flirts with poor/miscommunication but for a period piece I like how they handled it and how upfront each was at the beginning of the bargain - even if the whole thing is utterly far fetched and unlikely to have ever truly happened 😅 As is my wont to nitpick and sulk at the highly annoying presence of "z" in words which would not be there in "English" English especially, I imagine, in the 1800s...so they caught my pedantic beady eye and knocked some of the shine off an otherwise enjoyable reading experience to cap off the year 🤗

  8. 5 out of 5

    Whitney Erwin

    3 stars for this light hearted rom com. The bright cover caught my eye and drew me in. Some parts were really entertaining and gave me a little laugh. Minerva’s sisters and the hired actress to play her mother add some extra drama. The storyline was of course very predictable, but it was still a fun read. Thank you Net Galley and St. Martin’s Press for the ARC in return for my honest review.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Alaina

    I have received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Never Fall for Your Fiancee was such a cute romcom book! After all the mystery books, I definitely needed something light and fluffy to make my heart all kinds of happy. Plus, anything with a fake romance (or engagement) definitely hits the spot because the outcome is always the same: Happy! Even though things were a little predictable, I couldn't help falling in love with the characters and their romance. No, seriously. Min I have received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Never Fall for Your Fiancee was such a cute romcom book! After all the mystery books, I definitely needed something light and fluffy to make my heart all kinds of happy. Plus, anything with a fake romance (or engagement) definitely hits the spot because the outcome is always the same: Happy! Even though things were a little predictable, I couldn't help falling in love with the characters and their romance. No, seriously. Minerva and Hugh were freaking adorable. It was obvious that they had so much chemistry but I came for the banter people. Let's be real. Then there's the drama. Oh the drama! Yes, it was equally predictable but it needed to happen. We needed people to dislike.. and maybe even hate. Mostly because it helped us root for the people we liked.. maybe even loved. In the end, I'm so happy that I got the chance to jump into this wonderful book and I can't wait for the sequel!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Debby*BabyDee

    “Never Fall for Your Fiancee” is a first time read by Virginia Heath, new author to this reader. I thought this story was well-written and enjoyed the characters. Hugh Standish, Earl of Fareham and Minerva Merriwell pretend an engagement of sort that would benefit both parties and one to keep Hugh’s mother at bay as she is on the hunt to find him a wife. This was a delightful historical rom-com that I totally enjoyed. I thought Hugh was a charming person but one who didn’t think he was deserving “Never Fall for Your Fiancee” is a first time read by Virginia Heath, new author to this reader. I thought this story was well-written and enjoyed the characters. Hugh Standish, Earl of Fareham and Minerva Merriwell pretend an engagement of sort that would benefit both parties and one to keep Hugh’s mother at bay as she is on the hunt to find him a wife. This was a delightful historical rom-com that I totally enjoyed. I thought Hugh was a charming person but one who didn’t think he was deserving of love. Then there is Minerva, who is eager to please and is selfless when she thinks of her sisters. As with any historical romances, I look forward to a bit of steamy in relationship building and although this one had a little over half, the chemistry made up for it. I do like tropes that involve “fake engagements/fake fiances”. The humor and cast of characters made this book a sweet and delightful read. Recommend the read. Thank you NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Griffin for this ARC for my fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Beary Into Books

    Rating 4 Never Fall For Your Fiancee by @virginiaheathwrites was wonderful. This book is exactly what you need if you're having a bad day. I was smiling and laughing from page one. The banter between all of the characters was hilarious especially between Minerva and Hugh. I thought they had great chemistry and even though they were infatuated with one another early on there was no insta-love. The plot was fun and ridiculously over the top (in a good way) and the story Hugh made up about Minerva w Rating 4 Never Fall For Your Fiancee by @virginiaheathwrites was wonderful. This book is exactly what you need if you're having a bad day. I was smiling and laughing from page one. The banter between all of the characters was hilarious especially between Minerva and Hugh. I thought they had great chemistry and even though they were infatuated with one another early on there was no insta-love. The plot was fun and ridiculously over the top (in a good way) and the story Hugh made up about Minerva was entertaining. I loved that each character had depth and their own personality. I absolutely adored the relationship Minerva had with her younger sisters. She did a great job raising them after her dad abandoned them when she was 19. She literally proves to her sisters that she would do anything in order to keep them fed and a roof over their head. I also enjoyed the relationship between Hugh and Giles. They definitely seemed more like brothers than best friends. Giles would do anything for Hugh and proved it by going along with his whole charade. Honestly, this was such a fun romantic comedy with a refreshing historical setting. This book takes place in 1825 and the author did a great job of making the reader feel as though it was actually 1825. The plot, writing, pacing, setting, and characters made for a good story. I cannot wait to continue reading this series to see what happens with the sisters! *Received an eARC through #NetGalley and @stmartinspress in return for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. *

  12. 4 out of 5

    Caz

    I've given this a B- at AAR, so that's 3.5 stars Virginia Heath has been one of my favourite authors of historical romance since I read her second book (Her Enemy at the Altar) for Mills & Boon/Harlequin back in 2016. Her stories are generally light-hearted and a lot of fun although not without a more serious side, her characters are well-rounded and engaging, her prose is crisp and the humour never feels forced.   Never Fall for Your Fiancée, the first book in her new Merriwell Sisters trilo I've given this a B- at AAR, so that's 3.5 stars Virginia Heath has been one of my favourite authors of historical romance since I read her second book (Her Enemy at the Altar) for Mills & Boon/Harlequin back in 2016. Her stories are generally light-hearted and a lot of fun although not without a more serious side, her characters are well-rounded and engaging, her prose is crisp and the humour never feels forced.   Never Fall for Your Fiancée, the first book in her new Merriwell Sisters trilogy, is her first book for St. Martin’s Press, and it bears all the hallmarks of her style - a gorgeous hero, an intelligent and snarky heroine who won’t put up with any crap, sparking dialogue and genuinely witty banter - although it’s a tad overlong and the chemistry between the two principals isn’t quite as compelling as I know she’s capable of delivering.  The plot isn’t going to win any prizes for originality, but Ms. Heath makes good use of the fake-relationship trope and her bright and breezy writing style carries the day. Hugh Standish, Earl of Fareham, is in a bit of a bind.  His mother, who lives in Boston with her second husband, is on her way to England for a visit expressly to meet Hugh’s fiancée Minerva, the young woman to whom he’s been engaged for the past two years.  The problem?  Minerva is entirely a product of Hugh’s imagination, invented in order to head off his mother’s constant reminders that he should get married and her offer (which Hugh saw more as a threat) to come home to help him find a bride.  Hugh adores his mother, but he is absolutely convinced that a man should only enter into a marriage when he had every intention of honouring his vows, and being sure he isn’t capable of either love or fidelity, he has decided to eschew matrimony.  But his mother’s arrival is imminent, and the idea of telling her the truth weighs heavily.  He never, ever wanted to hurt her and, if he’s honest with himself (which he tries hard not to be too often), he also wants to avoid admitting to her that he’s far too much like his late father to consider settling down. Minerva Merriwell has been the family caretaker since their mother died when Minerva was nine, and has been solely responsible for her younger sisters Diana and Vee (short for Venus) since their good-for-nothing father abandoned them when she was nineteen.  Now twenty-four, Minerva ekes out a living as an engraver but it’s a hand-to-mouth existence and her worries are never-ending.  Today’s is that one of the people she’s produced work for is four weeks late with payment; she’s confronted him outside his house to request – politely – that he pay her right away and things are deteriorating when a gentleman steps in and offers his assistance.  The bluster displayed by Minerva’s ‘employer’ can’t hold up in the face of the stranger’s aristocratic hauteur; the debt is settled and the gentleman offers to escort her home. Hugh can’t believe his good fortune.  Not only does this young woman share the name of his fake fiancée, she’s entirely captivating – beautiful, witty and self-assured – and on the spot, he decides the answer to his problem is right in front of him.  He’ll pay Minerva to act as his fiancée, and then engineer some sort of falling-out that will end their ‘engagement’.  But he’s surprised when Minerva expresses reservations.  It’s clear she needs the money he’s offering, but she’s not happy about the idea of practicing such a deception; the Merriwells may be on the cusp of destitution, but they had morals. Well, of course Minerva does agree and she – with Diana and Vee, who are as unhappy about the scheme as Minerva is  – travel to Hugh’s Hampshire estate to await the arrival of his mother and to learn their roles while they wait.  Unfortunately, however, Hugh’s mother and step-father arrive much earlier than expected – well before Minerva has acquired enough ‘polish’ – which necessitates some more impromptu, highly creative falsehoods on Hugh’s part.  The story moves fairly briskly, the central characters are likeable and the humour is dry and nicely observed, but around the middle, it gets a bit bogged down and some of the contortions Hugh has to make in order to perpetuate his lies get a bit overly convoluted, and I sometimes felt as though I was in the middle of a French farce.  Perhaps that was the intention, but although I’ve said that the humour in Ms. Heath’s books isn’t forced, it comes close a few times here. Minerva is a great heroine, a young woman forced to become a parent when she wasn’t much more than a child herself and who puts her own wants and needs last every time. She’s intelligent, witty, generous and determined, but she’s grown so used to being her sisters’ sole support that she has sort of lost sight of the fact that they’re young women now, and should be taking responsibility for themselves.  I liked Hugh a lot, with some caveats.  He’s charming, funny, perceptive and caring, but he goes out of his way to act the indolent wastrel (not that we ever see that on the page) when he is in fact a conscientious landowner and employer, and an all-round decent man.  It doesn’t take Minerva long to work out that there’s a lot more to him than meets the eye, but what she can’t work out is why he’s so set on letting everyone around him believe he’s shallow, selfish and lazy.  (And quite honestly, neither could I.) BUT – and here are the caveats.  Firstly, he is convinced he’s bad husband material because the Standish Blood Runs In His Veins; his grandfather was a rotten bastard, his father was unfaithful to his mother, and Hugh isn’t going to visit heartbreak upon any woman – like his cheating sire and grandfather before him, he isn’t capable of love or commitment.  This is stated so very often that I felt I was being hit over the head with it;  I lost track of how many times the “bad blood” or the “Standish way” or the philandering grandfather and father were mentioned.  A grown man of thirty-two is responsible for his own behaviour, and Hugh was perfectly capable of steering his own course.  And then there’s the deception.  As Minerva says – “What sort of man invents a fiancée because he finds responsibility too daunting and is frightened of his own mother?” And that says it all, really. There’s a small but well-drawn supporting cast.  Hugh’s mother is a delightful woman who obviously thinks the world of him and just wants him to be happy, Payne, the butler is a nineteenth century Jeeves –an expert in the pithy bon mot –  and I liked Hugh’s friend Giles, who I’m assuming will be the hero of a future book in the series.  I liked the middle sister, Diana, who is lively and forthright (and there are definite sparks between her and Giles) although Vee is… well, a bit of a wet blanket, honestly.  She’s still convinced their dead-beat dad is going to come back and won’t hear a word against him, and she presents a number of problems for Hugh’s scheme. That said, Never Fall for Your Fiancée is fluff of the highest quality, and if you’re looking for a well-written, funny historical rom-com with some shrewd observation on the side, it might be just what you’re looking for.  But I can’t recommend it unreservedly, because much as I liked Hugh, I didn’t buy the reasons for his ‘I am not worthy’ act and all the miscommunication and misinterpretation became a bit wearing.  I like the fake-relationship trope, and I like Ms. Heath’s writing, but this one didn’t quite tick all the boxes for me.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Shawna

    3.5 stars - Historical/Regency Romance I really loved the beginning of this book. It was charming, witty, and even laugh out loud funny a few times. I also liked the end and how everything finally wrapped up with a nice HEA. The middle and latter portions of the book is why my rating dropped. What started off as amusing, whimsical, and cute became a bit melodramatic, repetitive, tedious, and frustrating. The hero and heroine both began to irritate me. (view spoiler)[It was so obvious that they bo 3.5 stars - Historical/Regency Romance I really loved the beginning of this book. It was charming, witty, and even laugh out loud funny a few times. I also liked the end and how everything finally wrapped up with a nice HEA. The middle and latter portions of the book is why my rating dropped. What started off as amusing, whimsical, and cute became a bit melodramatic, repetitive, tedious, and frustrating. The hero and heroine both began to irritate me. (view spoiler)[It was so obvious that they both had strong feelings for each other, and the solution to their predicaments seemed so clear and simple. The hero's stubborn insistence of his inability to love and remain faithful because of his Standish bloodline became annoying. (hide spoiler)] Hugh and Minerva finally come to their senses and talk, and the end of the book brought back the charm and humor. I wish there had been an epilogue though. I really hope we get a book for Hugh's best friend, Giles, because he's a hilariously unrepentant scoundrel.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

    FAKE DATING??? REGENCY?????

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jessi ♥️ H. Vojsk

    “Men in love see little fault in the women they have given their hearts to, whereas women are always much more pragmatic, don’t you think? We see the faults clearly, but learn to live with them. What I loved: ✅ Fake dating ✅ historical setting aka Bridgerton/Downtown Abby ✅ cute ✅ funny What I didn’t like: ❌ slow pacing ❌ felt longer than it actually was “Men in love see little fault in the women they have given their hearts to, whereas women are always much more pragmatic, don’t you think? We see the faults clearly, but learn to live with them. What I loved: ✅ Fake dating ✅ historical setting aka Bridgerton/Downtown Abby ✅ cute ✅ funny What I didn’t like: ❌ slow pacing ❌ felt longer than it actually was

  16. 5 out of 5

    MissBecka Gee

    This was filled with farce that had me giggling my way through it. All the characters are well developed and I do love a fake relationship in a story. Reminded me of a comedic version of Bridgerton. Much love to NetGalley & St. Martin's Press for my DRC. This was filled with farce that had me giggling my way through it. All the characters are well developed and I do love a fake relationship in a story. Reminded me of a comedic version of Bridgerton. Much love to NetGalley & St. Martin's Press for my DRC.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Merry Jewelhound

    This is my first book by this author, and I had laugh out loud moments. The Earl needs to have a way to convince his mother that he is engaged and a way to break the engagement. So he comes up with a fiancé which is where fun really starts. It's a historical comedy with a bit of steam. The side characters are a great addition. I will continue to read the next in the series. Thank you NetGalley and the Publisher. I reread this book for the BOM. I almost never reread a book as it lacks the surprise This is my first book by this author, and I had laugh out loud moments. The Earl needs to have a way to convince his mother that he is engaged and a way to break the engagement. So he comes up with a fiancé which is where fun really starts. It's a historical comedy with a bit of steam. The side characters are a great addition. I will continue to read the next in the series. Thank you NetGalley and the Publisher. I reread this book for the BOM. I almost never reread a book as it lacks the surprise of what comes on the next page for me. I found that to be very true of this book. It dropped a star for me even though I enjoyed the book I had to suspend belief a bit too much.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne

    I love myself enough not to force myself to finish this. Skimming at 10% is never a great sign. Just not compelling and the setup doesn’t really make sense. I was assigned this book for review and received a free copy. I’m obviously not covering it, but there’s my disclosure for the FTC

  19. 5 out of 5

    flavia

    Never Fall for Your Fiancée by Virginia Heath is a romance novel set in the early 1800s that follows the story between Hugh Standish, the Earl of Fareham, and Minerva Merriwell, a struggling woodcut engraver that has to care for her two younger siters, Diana and Vee. They meet unexpectedly one night, when Hugh is struggling to come to terms with his mother and her husband coming soon to visit him and the fabricated fiancée he elaborately created two years ago in order to escape his mother’s matc Never Fall for Your Fiancée by Virginia Heath is a romance novel set in the early 1800s that follows the story between Hugh Standish, the Earl of Fareham, and Minerva Merriwell, a struggling woodcut engraver that has to care for her two younger siters, Diana and Vee. They meet unexpectedly one night, when Hugh is struggling to come to terms with his mother and her husband coming soon to visit him and the fabricated fiancée he elaborately created two years ago in order to escape his mother’s matchmaking. Seeing as his fabricated fiancée has the same name as our protagonist, he decides to offer her the opportunity of a lifetime, pay her to pose as his fiancée while her mother and her husband are visiting from America. While Minerva stays at Hugh’s country estate with her sisters in order to prepare for the ruse, the time spent together begins to develop into shared feelings for each other. I have to start by saying that this was a delightful surprise for me, seeing as I have never read anything by the author, I didn’t know what to expect. But, she managed to capture my attention with the banter between Hugh and Minerva, and the building tension and attraction for each other. I liked how the secondary characters were equally interesting as the main characters, offering entertainment to the story. The pacing of the book was also very well done since the plot was developing smoothly and quickly made the reader want to continue reading. Lastly, another element that I enjoyed very much was the humor and sarcasm added to the most of the scenes, which made the story even more entertaining. To my understading this is the first book in a series called The Merriwell Sisters, and I cannot wait to continue the series when the Diana and Vee’s books come out! *ARC kindly provided via NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest review.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Hannah B.

    ✨God I love a fake, hired family moment.✨ This was super cute and quite hilarious!! It reminded me of the original Christmas in Connecticut where there’s fake family members and absurd hijinks. It’s even a bit Christmasy. Never Fall for Your Fiancé is a true historical rom-com. There were times when I simply couldn’t contain my laughter. The Mozart scene really did me in. Hugh was a very compelling hero and I really liked him, especially when he got a little feisty. I did find his whole “faulty S ✨God I love a fake, hired family moment.✨ This was super cute and quite hilarious!! It reminded me of the original Christmas in Connecticut where there’s fake family members and absurd hijinks. It’s even a bit Christmasy. Never Fall for Your Fiancé is a true historical rom-com. There were times when I simply couldn’t contain my laughter. The Mozart scene really did me in. Hugh was a very compelling hero and I really liked him, especially when he got a little feisty. I did find his whole “faulty Standish bloodline” state of mind kind of flimsy and annoying but overall it worked. I was so tickled to find out that her name really was Minerva and that I liked her older sister mentality. Her and Hugh fit well together but I liked it best when they ✨chaffed✨ a bit. It wasn’t very steamy but there was a little somethin somethin—I wasn’t sure what we were going to get with this one so I was pleasantly surprised. I did end up deducting .5⭐️s for the lack of steam just because it was a lengthy book and the build-up was super slow-burn and intense. I just think we could have been given more to completely round out the story. I did appreciate the shameless nipples however. There’s a point at the end where you’ll be like “there are absolutely not enough pages to resolve everything” but never fear—everything came out of the wash spick and span. There was also a really fun little twist near the end. I only wish the father would have been punished more for his unsavoriness but perhaps in books two and three? I also can’t wait to see Vee’s transformation in her book and what type of hero she gets because I really found her annoying here. I can’t wait to see her challenged. It’s very unfortunate that I’ve read this book this far before release (11/21) because I already need book two. Diana is going to be such a prickly pear and Giles is her perfect foil. I also can’t wait to see the cover color because I really love this orange color. I hope one of them will be emerald (like their eyes) since there are far too few dark green romance books. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5/5 🌶🌶🌶/5 P.S. Another fake family Christmas movie comp is Surviving Christmas with Ben Affleck.

  21. 5 out of 5

    PlotTrysts

    This is a historical romance with a madcap setup reminiscent of Georgette Heyer's most ridiculous tales. Hugh has been telling his mother for two years that he is engaged to a young woman named Minerva. But now his mother is arriving from Boston and expects to meet his fiancee. He thinks the jig is up until he meets a beautiful, young, well-spoken but down-on-her-luck woman on the street - who happens to be named Minerva. The book has an almost sitcom feel to it, with Minerva's two younger siste This is a historical romance with a madcap setup reminiscent of Georgette Heyer's most ridiculous tales. Hugh has been telling his mother for two years that he is engaged to a young woman named Minerva. But now his mother is arriving from Boston and expects to meet his fiancee. He thinks the jig is up until he meets a beautiful, young, well-spoken but down-on-her-luck woman on the street - who happens to be named Minerva. The book has an almost sitcom feel to it, with Minerva's two younger sisters, Hugh's BFF Giles, an actress hired to play the girls' mother, and two years of backstory to learn - and then (of course!) Hugh's mother shows up. This is a romance, so it's no surprise when Hugh and Minerva fall for each other (fake relationships always turn real in the end, don't they?) and the fun is how they get there. Hugh's ultimate internal conflict is a bit too forced and easily solved, but this is an enjoyable romp with appealing characters, fun dialogue, and even a drop of true pathos along the way. This objective review is based on a complimentary copy of the novel.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jaclyn

    This was fun (and funny). Readers must be prepared to lean into the unlikely setup, but once you do, you’re in for a lighthearted, low angst historical romance. I loved the sense of humor. But I must confess, I felt the humor came at the expense of a fully fleshed out romance between Hugh and Minerva.

  23. 5 out of 5

    ChasingLeslie

    "I'm starting to think you might be a lunatic." Hugh Standish, Earl of Fareham, has managed to put off his interfering mother with a fake fiancée...for two years!. But now she is demanding to meeting the fictional “Minerva” and Hugh is in a panic. When he meets a real young woman named Minerva, he’s convinced she’s the answer to his prayers and hires the struggling miss to pose as his fiancée. But, alas, nothing about this convoluted plan is going smoothly... This is my first experience with a Vir "I'm starting to think you might be a lunatic." Hugh Standish, Earl of Fareham, has managed to put off his interfering mother with a fake fiancée...for two years!. But now she is demanding to meeting the fictional “Minerva” and Hugh is in a panic. When he meets a real young woman named Minerva, he’s convinced she’s the answer to his prayers and hires the struggling miss to pose as his fiancée. But, alas, nothing about this convoluted plan is going smoothly... This is my first experience with a Virginia Heath book, and boy was it funny! Hugh continued to make the situation worse with his outlandish storytelling and I was here for it. I really liked Minerva, who didn't really want to go along with the farce, but needed the money to support her family. I felt like her character was well-written and empathetic. I would have liked a better balance of romance with the hijinks, and wish the fallout had taken place sooner. Overall, this was a fun, light read...historical meets Hallmark. Tropes: Fake Relationship, Class Difference, Forced Proximity Steam: 1 * I received an ARC and this is my honest review. #NetGalley

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    ‘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. Min ‘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?’ ________________ Never Fall for Your Fiancée is the first book in Virginia Heath’s new series, The Merriwell Sisters and is a historical romance. This is the first book by this author which I have read. I thought this book had a lot of promise to start, but it began to unravel a bit in my opinion by the second half. I liked the premise, it was a bit silly, but amusing. I found that the fabricated engagement was dragged out far too long, creating unnecessary tension and misunderstanding between characters. There was also a bit of instalove at play here, which is a big pet-peeve of mine. There is a real resistance for both Hugh and Minerva because Hugh is supposedly a scoundrel, although we see absolutely no proof of this during the course of the book. In fact, all we see is evidence to the contrary. At around approximately the 75% mark this resistance makes a sharp turn into insta-love and I really wish it had been more organic Hugh was obviously a bit ridiculous and outlandish in his storytelling, but that's how he got himself into this mess in the first place and I found it mostly entertaining. Overall the book as a whole can be described as a bit ridiculous but humorous, but I did found that it was trying a bit to hard to be humorous that it pushed more into being silly and frivolous, and at times even slowing down the progression of the plot as a result. The book was amusing and pretty enjoyable to read and I’ll probably continue with the series. _____ I would like to thank NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for sharing an eARC of Never Fall for Your Fiancée by Virginia Heath. This is my honest review.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Renae

    Virginia Heath’s trade paperback debut, Never Fall for Your Fiancée is…silly. Ridiculous. Over-the-top, full-steam-ahead farce from page 1 to The End. This book is the unholy offspring of Tessa Dare at her most twee and Julia Quinn at her most fluffy. In places, the story grows so nonsensical that you almost have to wonder if the author is writing not a “romcom” but a parody. (Almost.) Yet with all that being said, I rather enjoyed Never Fall for Your Fiancée. It’s a goofy book that takes neither Virginia Heath’s trade paperback debut, Never Fall for Your Fiancée is…silly. Ridiculous. Over-the-top, full-steam-ahead farce from page 1 to The End. This book is the unholy offspring of Tessa Dare at her most twee and Julia Quinn at her most fluffy. In places, the story grows so nonsensical that you almost have to wonder if the author is writing not a “romcom” but a parody. (Almost.) Yet with all that being said, I rather enjoyed Never Fall for Your Fiancée. It’s a goofy book that takes neither itself nor anything too seriously, and I think as long as the reader follows suit and doesn’t interrogate certain…ahem…”conflicts” very deeply, it could prove an enjoyable way to pass an afternoon or two. With the understanding that I did enjoy this novel, that I found it to be a fun read, I really do have to talk about the set-up of the plot. Because it’s a lot. Basically, Hugh Standish, Earl of Fareham, has decided that he has Cursed Genes. Due to this genetic inheritance, he is psychologically incapable of romantic fidelity. So: he must remain single forever rather than traumatize a poor wife by his inevitable transgressions! (Duh.) Problem is, Hugh’s mother, the dowager countess, really wants some grandbabies. And in order to avoid her machinations, Hugh decides to invent a consumptive gentlewoman with whom he’s heels-over-head in love. This goes well. So well that Hugh keeps up the charade for two entire years, writing his mother about his all-consuming love for “Miss Minerva”—who does not exist. Hugh’s mother is no fool, so she announces a surprise visit to Hugh’s estate in Hampshire, and now Hugh has to scramble madly in order to find a suitable woman to be his Minerva. Lucky for Hugh, he literally collides with said woman on the street—and her name is even Minerva. What a coinkydink. I mean… this is a stupid plot. It’s stupid for a variety of reasons: (1) the hero convincing himself that he’s “incapable” of monogamy based on zero evidence; (2) the hero inventing a fake fiancée; (3) the hero keeping up the pretense of the fake fiancée for two entire years; (4) the hero plucking a random woman off the street and bringing her (and her unruly siblings) home in order to impersonate said fake fiancée. This is 100% the kind of book you cannot apply any critical thinking skills toward, else the entire sham falls apart after one pointed question. Never Fall for Your Fiancée has one saving grace, which is the fact that it both understands and embraces how foolish it is. Sometimes, you encounter light-hearted, comedic novels that take themselves so seriously that they stop being funny. Here, Virginia Heath presents the myriad absurdities in her story with a wink and a nod, and so you feel that the author is both in on the joke and also in control of the antics. This book is very intentionally ridiculous, which made me at least feel better about…all the nonsense. I should also add I’ve read Heath’s category historicals before, and I would like to give her credit for massively improving the technical quality of her writing. My biggest fear going into this book was simply that the author’s prose would be horrible. Never fear! That was not the case. Sadly, however, this does tend to confirm my suspicions that Harlequin’s category romances are not edited very well, since it is clear that Heath herself isn’t entirely to blame for the deficiency of her prior books’ writing style. A shame, although I understand that the category romance business model is focused more on quick, reliable output at a high volume than on good quality, well-polished individual stories. Anyways. I liked Never Fall for Your Fiancée. It’s not a love story with a lot of depth or complexity, but I think it does successfully achieve the author’s two main goals: silliness and hilarity. This is a fun read that doesn’t require your brain to do a lot of heavy lifting. Virginia Heath has a light touch and a keen eye for finding the humor in the absurd, and overall, I think she did very well. I would have loved it more if the comedy hadn’t been draped on top of such a nonsensical conflict (“I’m incapable of monogamy, therefore I must remain single!!!” is really stupid), but that’s okay. I’ll be interested to see if the next books in the series will remain ridiculous-yet-enjoyable, or if they devolve into such utter inanity that they stop being fun. 📌 . Blog | Review Database | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

  26. 5 out of 5

    Nursebookie

    Never Fall For your Fiance By Virginia Heath Oh there is nothing I love more than a first book in a series and this amazing new historical rom com was all I needed. Between a handsome earl to a fake fiance this hilarious romp was so fun to read that had me giggling and swooning at all ours through the night. This was so enjoyable and you will love all the missteps that will lead to anything but a fake relationship between Hugh and Minerva. RomCom readers and Historical Fiction lovers will find this Never Fall For your Fiance By Virginia Heath Oh there is nothing I love more than a first book in a series and this amazing new historical rom com was all I needed. Between a handsome earl to a fake fiance this hilarious romp was so fun to read that had me giggling and swooning at all ours through the night. This was so enjoyable and you will love all the missteps that will lead to anything but a fake relationship between Hugh and Minerva. RomCom readers and Historical Fiction lovers will find this read delectable and simply irresistible. I LOVED IT

  27. 5 out of 5

    Robin

    I am officially DNF-ing this one at 83%. Thank you so much to St. Martin's Griffin and Netgalley for providing an e-arc copy. All thoughts and opinions are still my own. I have less than 50 minutes left in the e-arc and I just... can't push through anymore. Unfortunately this historical romance did not work for me. It had all the trappings of something I would love - fake dating/engagement, forced proximity, a rogue hero, and quirky, convoluted scheming. But in execution, there was far too much te I am officially DNF-ing this one at 83%. Thank you so much to St. Martin's Griffin and Netgalley for providing an e-arc copy. All thoughts and opinions are still my own. I have less than 50 minutes left in the e-arc and I just... can't push through anymore. Unfortunately this historical romance did not work for me. It had all the trappings of something I would love - fake dating/engagement, forced proximity, a rogue hero, and quirky, convoluted scheming. But in execution, there was far too much telling and not nearly enough showing. We are constantly being told that the hero is a scoundrel. He can't possibly love. He's flighty and lacks substance. But we never once see him act that way on page. And you keep getting hints of some dark family past - but for me personally, 83% is way too long to drag that out. I also grew frustrated with vast amount of miscommunication in here. Not only are secrets purposefully being kept by all parties, but they keep having half conversations that lead to more misunderstandings. This is told in dual perspectives, so it was crazy frustrating to read a dialogue where the main character would tell each other half truths or misinterpret statements and then think to themselves 'if only I could do something about this!'... Unfortunately, I've lost all interest as to how this works out and just feel sad for the their poor family members...

  28. 5 out of 5

    Holly

    This was another fun book. Historical romance with less steam and more funny moments than a typical romance of this genre. Once again, I loved all the characters. I especially have a soft spot for the butler 😉 Hugh and Minerva were great together. I loved their banter and how they were together. All the characters were great though, which is what made this romance so enjoyable. I can’t wait for the next two books.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    What a fun book. There is so much silliness and play in this book I enjoyed it so much. Lots of fun twists and turns made it entertaining. Steamy without being crass or crude. I loved these fun characters. This is an adult romance with 2 sexual scenes, very tastefully done.

  30. 4 out of 5

    ✰ Aileen ✰

    This is a cute story, albeit an unnecessarily long one. I wouldn't have minded a few pages less. This is a cute story, albeit an unnecessarily long one. I wouldn't have minded a few pages less.

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