16 October 2015

Review: Love’s a Stage by Rene Gutteridge and Cheryl McKay

Deception ... for a good cause?

Aly Brewster and Nick Armstrong have been friends for five years, since their first year in college. They’re both now in grad school, with Aly studying to become a marriage therapist like her father, and Nick studying theatre. Nick’s been in love with Aly for years, but she’s always rebuffed his proposals, believing an actor won’t make a good marriage partner. Her ambition is to have the perfect marriage, like her parents.

But all isn’t well in the Brewster household, and Aly comes up with a ridiculous plan to get her parents to see they are meant to be together: she’ll announce her engagement, and beg them not to announce their divorce until after her ceremony. Now to find a groom … Well, who better to ask than the theatre major?

I could admire Aly’s desire to see her parents together and determination to make that succeed, although that didn’t entirely cover my discomfort at the way she treated Nick. Not that Nick was unwilling—the opposite—but I didn’t think Aly-the-future-couples-therapist did a good job in considering whether or not what she was asking was ethical or appropriate. Or kind.

Nick is equally determined. Despite being rejected time and time again, he still loves Aly and is convinced she’s the only woman for him … which is why he agrees to go through with her ridiculous scheme (and I’m sorry, but it really is ridiculous. But it makes a great plot for a novel!). But even he doesn’t bargain on how difficult he will find it to pretend to be engaged to Aly, especially around her parents. I don’t want to add spoilers, but the awkward why-do-you-want-to-marry-my-daughter scene was simply brilliant (even Aly thought so!).

The one thing (two things?) that didn’t work for me about Love’s a Stage were the prologue and epilogue. They were in a different viewpoint and voice than the rest of the novel, and one which was less attractive, less endearing and less readable. It wasn’t a good way to start, and the epilogue left me with a quizzical ‘say-what?’ expression where I should have had a smile (I did have a smile at the end of the last chapter).

An enjoyable romance, recommended for those who like contemporary Christian romance especially with the friends to more plot.

Thanks to Redbud Press for providing a free ebook for review.

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