Author: Farah Heron
What I’m Talking About:
Reena Manji, the middle child in a successful real estate development Muslim family, hates her job and gets annoyed with her parents’ unending parade of eligible Muslim men for her to marry. She’s mad at her younger sister who ruined her popular food blog and sits in the shadow of her highly successful older brother. Her true passion is baking bread, and she would love to attend a prestigious culinary school in Toronto.
When Nadim moves in across the hall, Reena tries to avoid him since he is an employee of her father and yet another man her parents want her to consider marrying. Yet, the pair hits it off and enjoys hanging out. One night after a few drinks, they make a video to enter a FoodTV cooking show contest for couples and make it past the first round. Seeing this as a way to get into her dream school, Reena and Nadim continue the charade while trying to hide their budding friendship from her family.
Accidentally Engaged is a wonderful, touching romance that hits all the right notes. Fake relationships are my catnip, and Ms. Heron pens her own unique and riotous take. Reena feels like a failure and doesn’t know exactly how to find a way out of her own life. The pressures of family expectations and to succeed are overwhelming, and the ways Reena finds to deal with it aren’t always healthy. She hides the truth from most, yet with Nadim, she finds solace and can be herself. She admits she likes him, but doesn’t love her parents’ interfering. She wants to find true and real love, but believes it can’t happen if she’s set up by her family or friends, so Nadim must stay in the friend zone.
The more time they banter and flirt, the closer they become, and Reena finally gives into desire. However, the emotional weight from the intimacy of filming as a couple confuses Reena. She may be falling in love but isn’t sure and doesn’t want to risk her heart. Since the reader is only ever privy to Reena’s POV and doesn’t experience Nadim’s, I was equally as nervous as Reena as she explored her feelings. I adored that their love of their mutual culture brings them together and gives them common ground.
With so much baggage hanging around both characters, there are many bumps on their journey to HEA. Accidentally Engaged explores all of Reena’s dark corners, allowing Reena to face her fears, learn, and grow. I enjoyed her journey of self-discovery and growth as much as watching her budding romance unfurl. Accidentally Engaged is a beautiful story about breaking through expectations and lies to grow and find love.
My Rating: A- Enjoyed A Lot
About the Book:
Reena Manji doesn’t love her career, her single status, and most of all, her family inserting themselves into every detail of her life. But when caring for her precious sourdough starters, Reena can drown it all out. At least until her father moves his newest employee across the hall–with hopes that Reena will marry him.
But Nadim’s not like the other Muslim bachelors-du-jour that her parents have dug up. If the Captain America body and the British accent weren’t enough, the man appears to love eating her bread creations as much as she loves making them. She sure as hell would never marry a man who works for her father, but friendship with a neighbor is okay, right? And when Reena’s career takes a nosedive, Nadim happily agrees to fake an engagement so they can enter a couples video cooking contest to win the artisan bread course of her dreams.
As cooking at home together brings them closer, things turn physical, but Reena isn’t worried. She knows Nadim is keeping secrets, but it’s fine— secrets are always on the menu where her family is concerned. And her heart is protected… she’s not marrying the man. But even secrets kept for self preservation have a way of getting out, especially when meddling parents and gossiping families are involved.
Release Date: March 2, 2021
Publisher: Forever Publishing
Series: Unnamed series #2; Standalone
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Format(s): paperback (368 pages), e-book, audiobook
Book Source: NetGalley
Amazon (affiliate link)