cover image The Fiancée Farce

The Fiancée Farce

Alexandria Bellefleur. Avon, $16.99 trade paper (416p) ISBN 978-0-06-325849-5

This zippy Sapphic rom-com from Bellefleur (Count Your Lucky Stars) features slow-burn romance, a steamy marriage-of-convenience, and a profusion of Taylor Swift references. Shy bookseller Tansy Adams has been lying to friends and family about having a girlfriend using photos of Gemma van Dalen, a stunning romance novel cover model, to keep their nosiness about her nonexistent love life at bay. When Gemma shows up at Tansy’s family’s bookstore, live and in the flesh, Tansy worries the lie will blow up in her face, but instead Gemma doubles down, announcing that they’re engaged. Gemma’s absurdly rich family requires her to marry to inherit the family publishing company, making the arrangement mutually beneficial. Attraction soon grows between the women, threatening to turn their carefully constructed fauxmance into real love. Meanwhile, they must outwit Gemma’s ruthless family to protect their livelihoods—and each other’s hearts—from the van Dalens’ machinations. Bellefleur’s snappy prose is perfect for the banter between Tansy and Gemma, and it’s delightful to watch the tension build between them. The plot occasionally leans on convenience to move things along, but the payoff is deeply satisfying and more than worth it. Fans of Casey McQuiston should check this out. Agent: Sarah Younger, Nancy Yost Literary. (Apr.)