From the publisher:
Named a Best Book of Summer by Glamour, BuzzFeed, Cosmopolitan, and many more!
From the author of Playing with Matches, the rollicking tale of a young jewelry shop owner who accidentally leads her Instagram followers to believe that she’s engaged—and then decides to keep up the ruse.
Eliza Roth and her sister Sophie co-own a jewelry shop in Brooklyn. One night, after learning of an ex’s engagement, Eliza accidentally posts a photo of herself wearing a diamond ring on that finger to her Instagram account beloved by 100,000 followers. Sales skyrocket, press rolls in, and Eliza learns that her personal life is good for business. So she has a choice: continue the ruse or clear up the misunderstanding. With mounting financial pressure, Eliza sets off to find a fake fiancé.
Fellow entrepreneur Blake seems like the perfect match on paper. And in real life he shows promise, too. He would be perfect, if only Eliza didn’t feel also drawn to someone else. But Blake doesn’t know Eliza is “engaged”; Sophie asks Eliza for an impossible sum of money; and Eliza’s lies start to spiral out of control. She can either stay engaged online or fall in love in real life.
Written with singular charm and style, Love at First Like is for anyone growing up and settling down in the digital age.
I was really excited to get this book. It seemed smart and modern and I love everything Brooklyn, not to mention the buzz was terrific. But as is sometimes the case, all the hype led to me being disappointed. I assumed, from the description, that Eliza would find some guy to help her with the social media campaign then fall in love. That is usually the basic romance trope, but that is not what happens here. Instead, Eliza pretends to fall in love and pushes this really nice guy into a relationship through sheer effrontery and duplicity.
Maybe it’s generational, but I didn’t understand the whole premise of the book. Posting an engagement on Instagram would dramatically increase sales? And continuing the lie would keep the sales coming? Setting that aside, I really didn’t understand how a character would actually consider marrying someone because it might increase their sales yet again. That is, for me, just beyond the pale.
I felt badly for Blake, but also had to wonder how someone who made their fortune in a similar business would also not be more social media savvy, despite his protestations that he had people to do that sort of thing for him. Regardless, I can’t imagine that there are millennials out there that aren’t on their phone day in and day out, whether they have staff for that or not. Maybe that’s on me though.
Finally, it was ridiculously easy to figure out the entire plot pretty much from the get go, and frankly, I like to be surprised now and then. Eliza, specifically in the way she treated Blake, pissed me off more than anything. When Eliza plots to keep her engagement ring from Blake by having her sister give him a $45,000 ring “on the house” because of the legal ramifications, that just left me cold. It was completely heartless. Maybe if Blake hadn’t been made out to be such a nice guy it would have been a little more palatable.
It is really hard for me to really enjoy a romance when I dislike the protagonist so much. The whole point of a romance is the happily ever after. Sure, the book had its charming moments, and there were occasional laughs, but when the happy ending kicked in, at that point I just didn’t care.
8/19 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™
LOVE AT FIRST LIKE by Hannah Orenstein. Atria Books (August 6, 2019). ISBN 978-1982117795. 336p.