I will admit I’ve been a little slower at the posting lately—sorry, everyone!—but as I write this I’m almost 32 weeks pregnant, and I’m finding it takes a very specific kind of story to keep me from falling asleep…and I’m having a harder and harder time finding the right plot. I was hoping The Dating Charade by Melissa Ferguson (in stores now!) would be the perfect solution… and unfortunately it didn’t really fit the bill for me. I was a cute little family romance, but I didn’t realize how G-rated it was going to be until I got into it.
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.
I will start from the top saying that I didn’t realize that this fell under the “Christian” category of books until I was part of the way through and looked back at the genre on NetGalley. Now, the fact that the characters went to church regularly and talked about their faith a bit did not deter me from the story, but I did go in expecting a romance and ended up with more of a family drama than anything… I’m not even sure I remember the main characters kissing at any point. It’s a slow burn, so just be ready for that.
That being said, I really liked Cassie and Jett. They are good people and had some really great chemistry when they were together. I liked learning about their individual stories, which showed me why they would end up working as a romantic couple in the end… but I felt that too much of the story split them up. I would have liked seeing them interact a little bit more, instead of just thinking about what the other one would be thinking about their current situation.
I also think the story needed way more Bree, Cassie’s best friend. She was such comic relief in the beginning, and then she really got pushed away and never really came back until the end. I would have loved to have seen a secondary (well, I guess tertiary) storyline with what was happening with her—she was my favourite by far.
I think if I were expecting this book to be what it was—a story about two single people who have a lot of family drama happen and find each other—I would have been in the right mindset to enjoy it a little bit more. Although it definitely wasn’t my favourite read of the year, I expect a lot of people will enjoy it. It’s a heartwarming story, for sure.
“So, here she was, doing the unspeakable. Asking on a third-and-a-tenth date about kids.” —Melissa Ferguson, The Dating Charade
Thank you to NetGalley and Thomas Nelson for the advanced copy, and to Ben Wicks on Unsplash for the featured photo of the kids.