I have a confession : I’ve started to notice a common characteristic that so many romance novels I like share.
*drum roll please*
They’re ridiculous and over-the-top in one way or another.
Am I a bit ashamed by that fact? Huh, yeah. I’m totally ashamed, but also, it makes me smile so big, I can’t quite convince myself that I should, well, care. The truth is, when I read a romance that makes me happy – like, really happy – there’s always a moment when I consciously decide to roll with it and let myself enjoy things, jesus. (do you wonder if I have this conversation with myself? because yes, I do, I really do)
ANYWAY. Now that my big secret is out, and my reputation ruined forever, I’ll tell you why The Spanish Love Deception worked for me even though I had problems with parts of it. So let’s write a truly original review that I’ll call : The pros and cons (never heard of it? me neither)
So. What made me fall in love with this particular romance novel?
▪ Fake dating!!!! FAKE DATING IS TOP TIER OKAY
▪ There’s only one bed – the forced proximity trope just works for me is all, don’t judge me (I mean you do you, I don’t care)
▪ This particular brand of hate to love when one of them suffers from an obvious (but always implied, never confirmed) case of unrequited love but still goes along with it because that’s the only way they can get close to the other??? I LOVE THAT SHIT, and that’s why romance novels with only one POV will always be superior for me : with alternative POV, most of the time the tension fizzles and ugh, I just hate that? While here, we know what Aaron thinks. Trust me. We KNOW, but it doesn’t decrease the impact at all.
▪ This, my friends, is a slow burn romance and everything felt perfectly paced. The anticipation is EVERYTHING. The regular structure that goes 30% = kiss, 50% = sex, 75% = drama is frankly hell on earth for me. I know it’s a beloved structure, but it’s just not for me. Most of the time I struggle to keep engaged in the relationship, either because I’m bored or because the 75% drama is so annoying and unnecessary that I can’t root for the couple anymore.
▪ Aaron and Catalina’s chemistry is UNPARALLELED.
▪ Do you like grumps with a heart of gold? Like, really love them? Because it’s a shame how much I do. And I don’t want to be over-the-top, etc (I would never) but just know that if I googled this trope, I’d probably see a picture of Aaron because HE’S SUCH A HIDDEN MARSHMALLOW, I CAN’T TAKE IT. He’s so damn attentive to everything related to Catalina, to every one of her needs, and *slams fist into table* THOUGHTFULNESS IS SEXY.
▪ The main conflict was one I entirely understood. I can’t fault Lina for being scared and so very wary.
▪ The ending made me emotional. Like. Really emotional. Okay. Those who know me will know (I’m sorry I’m being cryptic, I just don’t want to spoil you)
▪ Finally, two tropes I don’t usually like but that worked here : office romance and eat the rich romantically
I do have to address several grievances, though, that didn’t ruin my enjoyment but did annoy me :
▪ The focus on Aaron’s damn blue eyes : I don’t even like blue eyes, and honestly? I was tired on page 10.
▪ His perfectly sculpted body: Catalina. Dear. I know you’re overwhelmed but please. Stop repeating yourself.
▪ The ableist language : d*mb is used a lot, like two times is already too much honestly, and it felt like way, way more than that.
▪ Gerald’s character. SO unnecessary to make the only “villain” a fat man (in my experience, men considered as conventionally attractive are WAY more likely to be assholes, btw)
▪ The beginning felt forced, and not that funny.
▪ The constant translation of every Spanish sentence into English. I mean, I get it!!! We need to cater to monolingual US readers, otherwise they’ll burst into flames or something!!!! I wish we didn’t, but. I get why the author does.
▪ All the dirty talk during the first sex scene wasn’t the best. It was still hot, but IN SPITE of it, certainly not because of it. Ignoring Aaron’s somewhat cheesy words demanded a CONSCIOUS EFFORT on my part, which is weird because I loved everything that came out of his mouth the rest of the time.
So, looking at these two lists, one could think that the cons even out the pros, but, no. I’ve said it before, but any romance novel that manages to make me smile and giggle and feel deserves at least a 4. I don’t make the rules, and even when I do, I follow them. *shrugs*
CW – ableist language, diet talk (too much imo), illness of a parent, workplace sexism and misogyny, workplace harassment