Love in Panels - Romancelandia

Just for Show Cover
Synopsis from the Creator:

What happens when an overachieving psychologist with OCD tendencies and an impulsive, out-of-work actress start a fake relationship?

Claire Renshaw thought she had it all: a successful career as a couples therapist, a publishing contract for her self-help book, and a happy relationship. But her perfect world falls apart when her fiancée calls off their engagement. Because of that, even her book deal might be off the table. After all, readers don’t want relationship advice from someone who can’t even make her own relationship work.

So Claire sets out to hire herself a fake fiancée.

Lana Henderson, the actress who shows up to audition for the role, is not exactly Claire’s ideal woman. Her frankness and the messes she leaves everywhere drive Claire up the wall. At least she won’t fall in love with someone like Lana.

But soon, Lana starts to win her over with her big heart, tickle fights, and—gasp!—carbs after six. The longer they pretend to be a love-struck couple, the less fake their kisses feel and the more the lines between reality and role begin to blur.

Once the book contract is signed, will they walk away or is their relationship no longer just for show?

A lesbian romance where role-playing has never been so irresistible.

Review: Just for Show, by Jae

[fa icon="calendar"] Oct 25, 2018 9:30:00 AM / by Suzanne Krohn

Whenever a lesbian romance shows up on Hoopla (via my library) on audio, I give it a try. One reason is because I'm desperate for good f/f romances. The other reason is because the "lesfic" publishers price their books higher than I can reasonably afford. Sure enough, this one from Ylva Publishing is at $9.99 in ebook and $17.99 in print. (If you want f/f romance at a more accessible price point, your (US) options are: indie authors, sales on the Bella/Boldstrokes/Ylva websites, or libraries.)

In any case, Just for Show is on Hoopla as of this writing, so if you have access, I really recommend trying it out.

Here's the actual review... ;)

Just for Show is a slow burn fake fiancee roommates romance and I adored it. The book opens when psychologist Claire is dumped by her fiancee, while her literary agent is shopping around her non-fiction manuscript on... wait for it... lasting romantic relationships. So what do they do? She and her agent decide that the obvious solution is to hire an actress to pretend to be her fiancee until they get a book contract. 

I've read this sort of set-up so many times in m/f romance and it was really fun to read it in a lesbian romance. Claire and Lana negotiate a contract that's part NDA, part compensation, part no-sex-allowed. Lana is something of a free-spirit, but she's not a "manic pixie dream girl." She's tall and curvy and loves to cook. Claire is uptight and career-driven and doesn't eat carbs after 6pm. 

Lana moves in with Claire for appearances, but over the course of a couple of months she gets Claire to remember what having a life outside of work is like. Claire helps Lana recover some of the confidence she lost after a terrible car accident. Their relationship builds slowly, with just enough unresolved tension to keep the reader invested. The first sexual encounter (other than a kiss) is in the final quarter of the book.

It's a slow-burn, low-conflict romance that felt both tropey and realistic. I ended up liking both heroines and really cheering for their HEA.

TL;DR - If you're looking for a sweet but grounded lesbian romance, I recommend Just for Show.

 

Content Warnings: Some of the food discussion might be triggering to people who've dealt with eating disorders, Lana has PTSD from a car accident and ongoing pain and scars.

Topics: review