This Chick Read: The Spanish Love Deception by Elena Armas

Catalina Martín is the Maid of Honor in her sister’s wedding and she just found out that her ex will be bringing his new fiancée to the wedding. This was not a relationship that ended well and in fact contributed to Lina moving from Spain to NYC. Ever since their break-up she’s had trouble trusting someone enough to let them into her life and has remained single, but the last thing she wants to do is go back home as “poor Lina” for her sister’s wedding. She needs a date! Enter Aaron Blackford, her handsome and cold work frenemy, who volunteers to be her plus one. Despite the signs for a disastrous trip, Lina agrees to pull off this Spanish Love Deception with Aaron. What she doesn’t expect is for that frenemy chemistry to shift until she sees him with new eyes. Was she wrong about him all along?

This novel won Best Debut of 2021 by Goodreads readers and I can certainly see why! It’s reminiscent of all of the best enemies to lovers novels, including one of my favorites from last year The Love Hypothesis but this author steps up the chemistry a little earlier with a “fake date” that has Lina questioning her hatred of Aaron mid book instead of making us wait until the very end for her to realize he’s the one for her. I’m not saying that their fait accompli is not still drawn out, but at least there is some hesitancy to hate, which for me made all of the difference.

Is the plot of needing a date for a wedding overused? Yes, I think it is, however Lina’s charming Spanish family more than made up for any tiredness. I loved how everyone wanted Lina’s happiness and how they stood by her despite her ex being the groom’s brother. I also loved, loved, loved Aaron. He gives some swoon-worthy monologues that makes this fantasy novel shoot to a ten on the emotional scale. If he wasn’t already fictional, I’d certainly think he was too good to be true! Not to say he didn’t have his faults, he never strayed from his cool as a cucumber persona, but he was all mush when it came to Catalina. It was so sweet.

This was true escapism at its best. Easy reading, great characters, lots of depth of character, and a magnificently steamy love story. The fact it’s this author’s debut novel is astounding and boy… I can’t wait for her second. Ummm, when is it coming out? ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

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