A Willful Woman…

Thoughts about books from a romance addict.

TBR Challenge: Kiss Her Once for Me by Alison Cochrun

on November 16, 2022

The theme: Lies

Why this one: Lucky coincidence

This is basically a rom-com movie in book form, even including a more family Christmas-sy version of a gratuitous karaoke moment. And for a while I was afraid that it really wasn’t going to work for me. It starts out so dismal and depressing, with a heroine who hates her life, hates herself, and is a martyr to her exceedingly horrible mother. Oh, how I loathe fictional martyrs! But I persisted and it was worth it.

It’s mainly a queer “While You Were Sleeping,” though I also noticed a touch of “Gilmore Girls.” The narrator is Ellie, who agrees to a convenient engagement with wealthy Andrew because she’s really in dire straits. And a part of her hopes it will turn out like all romance readers would expect, with them really falling in love. If only she could get over the one-night stand she had with an incredible woman named Jack last Christmas…

Going to Andrew’s family Christmas with him, she discovers he has the kind of warm and loving relatives she always wanted for herself, and they’re thrilled to make her part of the family. Unfortunately, she also discovers that one of those relatives is his sister Jack.

(For those who worry about these things, Andrew and Ellie never do more than kiss.)

The Christmas section is just about holiday romance perfect. There’s awful sweaters and tree-trimming and mistletoe, and the author does a great job of incorporating the classic “we’re accidentally touching and oh my God” moments of the rom-com genre, with almost palpable attraction and tension. The only things that didn’t work for me was I was a bit skeptical about a very wealthy family being so down-to-earth, and with what seemed like an attempt to smush in the “big queer party” atmosphere of The Charm Offensive. It was awkward.

And there’s a lot of drinking. It made me a uncomfortable, how much of the action happened while people were drinking.

Lovely romance though, and effective character growth arcs for Ellie, Jack and Andrew.

(Personal story: I told my husband about the book and he found it very strange that Andrew wasn’t in a coma, since that was such a big movie plot point. Then I read the author notes, in which she thanks her agent “for talking me out of so many bad ideas (including the coma.”) 😂)

One response to “TBR Challenge: Kiss Her Once for Me by Alison Cochrun

  1. Jen says:

    This one sounds pretty good… I do love fake dating/relationship of convenience stories. The drinking would bother me, too. I recently read a book and it was the same – it gave me the creeps, but it does happen, doesn’t it?

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