Practical, reliable Honor Holland has been in love with her longtime best friend, Brogan Cain, since high school. But when she goes to the gynecologist on her 35th birthday (because that’s the kind of girl she is), the doctor tells her that she should think about having children soon if she wants to be a mom. Honor realizes it’s time to get serious about her love life, but her hopes for a romance with Brogan are dashed when he rejects her. Meanwhile, Tom Barlow is a British college professor whose visa is about to expire. He’s desperate to stay in America to be near his “almost-stepson” Charlie — even though Charlie is a sullen, withdrawn teenager who seems to want nothing to do with him. With a little help from some matchmaking friends and family, Honor and Tom decide to form a marriage of convenience; this will enable Tom to stay in America, and Honor will get a chance at motherhood. But all too soon, sparks start flying between them. Can Honor and Tom move past their baggage and insecurities to turn their fake relationship into something real?
I’m a big fan of Kristan Higgins’ light, witty contemporary romances, and this book is no exception. It’s a sequel of sorts to The Best Man, and there are welcome cameos from Honor’s sister, Faith, and the rest of the Holland clan. I really like books that feature big, rambunctious, mostly functional families; it’s very rare in fiction, unfortunately, and I found it a refreshing change. I also tend to enjoy the “fake relationship becomes real” romantic trope, although here I was a little confused about the setup. Honor agrees to marry Tom on the condition that they will both give the marriage a real effort, to see if something can grow between them. But that seems like an awfully big risk to take, especially since Honor is hoping to get a child out of the deal. Aside from that, though, I have no complaints! The romance is very well-written and well-developed, as usual in a Higgins novel. There are a few “adult” scenes, but nothing too explicit. I even liked Charlie, even though I usually hate the way children are portrayed in adult novels (too precocious, too sickeningly sweet, too much of a blatant plot device rather than a real character). All in all, I’d definitely recommend this book to fans of contemporary romance! You may want to pick up The Best Man first, but it’s definitely not necessary to follow this book.