Marriage of Unconvenience by Chelsea M. Cameron is quite possibly the cutest f/f romance I’ve ever read. Reading it is like eating an amazing cupcake because it’s super sweet and fills you up—but, you know, with feels and not cake.
Lauren “Lo” Bowman has lost her job and now she’s in a panic. She was already living pretty lean, so she won’t be able to afford rent if she doesn’t find something soon. Lo has a sizeable inheritance that’s been waiting for her since childhood, but she can’t touch it unless she gets married (thanks a lot, grandma…).
When Lo goes for brunch with Cara Simms, her best friend in the world, she’s surprised to see Cara break down. Cara was poised to pursue her dream of being a physician’s assistant, but financial aid for grad school leaves her twenty grand short. Lo jokes that they should get married for that sweet inheritance money and that’s when it hits her—they should totally get fake married. Because who better to share her inheritance with than the one person who makes her happiest?
What should be a quick and easy transaction soon gets complicated with things like rings, dresses, and oh yeah, a whole bunch of feelings. But can Lo really be falling for her straight best friend?
No, seriously, it’s the cutest book ever
I can’t even with this book. The whole time I was reading it, I was smiling or laughing, and I found myself back at my Kindle every chance I could get until I was done. Cara and Lo have that amazing best friend chemistry that’s always compelling and I felt my heart getting more and more full as I watched them fall for each other, even when neither of them were aware that it was happening. From the beginning to the end of the story, they ADORE each other. It’s just the nature of those feelings and their relationship that changes.
Cara is the loveliest spreadsheet nerd ever and even THAT’s cute because Lo loves to rib her about it (and as she’s ribbing her, we can see that Lo loves the spreadsheet obsession too!). Lo’s willingness to do anything for Cara, including cashing in on her inheritance, is beautiful because it helps Lo unearth the best, most selfless parts of herself. And while I might usually have a hard time believing in a happily ever after for 23 year olds, their longstanding friendship means they have a rock-solid foundation to base their marriage on, so I had zero doubts at the end of this story.
The case for fluffy romances
It’s no secret that I love romances, and I looooove a good angsty romance that punches me in the gut, leaving me reeling for days. That said, I’m also a huge fan of supersweet romances like this one, which leave me feeling like I’ve been wrapped in a warm blanket with a kiss to the forehead. I’ve tried to articulate why these romances are so important in a few podcasts, but Cameron summed it up so perfectly in her acknowledgements, that I’m just going to share it here: “In this time of turmoil and terror, writing fluff feels like an act of resistance. I want to give you a place where you can relax and enjoy yourself for a little while. A world where everything turns out okay in the end, and there’s lots of flirting and kissing.”
YES!!! THAT! That right there! Writing fluff is totally an act of resistance and reading it is perfect self-care for many of us. The world sucks. Lots of things in our lives might suck too! But we can take a break from that for a few hours and fall in love all over again with other people falling in love. It’s beautiful and I am here for it.
No-label loving between women
Something else Cameron does that’s interesting and a little different from the usual f/f romance fare is that Lo and Cara aren’t down with specific labels for their sexual orientation like “lesbian” and/or “bisexual.” Both embrace and use “queer” and it works very well for them. Is Lo only attracted to women? Yes. Is Cara? I don’t actually know where she stands on that by the end of the book. But they’ve clearly chosen “queer” as their chosen label, and I appreciated that.
Buy this book. Read it, love it, share it with your friends, and then maybe even read it again right away. We’re all tired. We all need a break. This is the perfect escapism and I can’t recommend it enough.
Excerpt from Marriage of Unconvenience by Chelsea M. Cameron
As if she was reading my mind, Cara said, “So I thought about it. The marriage thing.”
“And?” I said, nearly jumping off the chair and dropping my cannoli.
“And… I’m still on the fence. It just seems like such a bad idea, Lo. Like, I’m afraid god is going to strike us down if we do this. Or that the government will put us in jail.”
“I mean, if we’d tried to get married a few years ago, we wouldn’t have been able to, but it’s all legal and shit now. The government, and god, have bigger things to worry about than if we’re getting married for love or money. And, to be fair, I do love you. You’re my best friend, Cara. Always have been. Don’t tell Ansel.” He would be extremely upset if he knew I’d called Cara my first and most best friend.
She smiled softly.
“I will. But I’m not sure.”
“What can I do to convince you?” I would do literally anything, including singing karaoke, which was my greatest fear.
“I don’t know, Lo.” Cara set her cannoli down and put her head in her hands. “It’s just… who does that? Who has a marriage of convenience?” Oh, was that what we were calling it? I kind of liked the sound of that. Even if being married to Cara would be a little more than convenient.
“People have been doing what we’re doing since the dawn of time. I can print you out a list if you want. But it’s gonna be a damn long list. We’re not doing anything wrong. That money is just sitting there, waiting to be used. It wants to be used. ‘Spend me, please!’ it says.” That made her laugh, and I felt like I was getting through to her.
“Are you sure you want to give it to me? I mean, I’ll pay you back. I promise. I have a payment plan.” She jumped up and grabbed a folder from her desk that sat in the corner of the room under the eaves.
“I knew we wouldn’t get through this without a spreadsheet,” I said. Cara was just so cute and predictable.
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Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 9781725506381
- Publisher: Chelsea M. Cameron
Chelsea M. Cameron Online
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