Review: Just Playing House by Farah Heron

Posted July 1, 2024 by Jen in Contemporary Romance, Rating B, Reviews Tags: , , ,

Book cover of Just Playing House by Farah Heron.Just Playing House
Farah Heron
Rating: B

What I’m Talking About:

Marley and Nikhil were friends with the potential for more in high school, but they haven’t seen one another since prom night of their final year. Now a fashion sales associate for an upscale department store, Marley’s been tasked with styling an up-and-coming Hollywood star with a diva reputation: none other than Nikhil.

Marley and Nikhil didn’t part on the best of terms, but it was due to lack of communication and some insecurities that, thankfully, are addressed early on in Just Playing House. This allows the pair to become fast friends and support one another. Marley is about to undergo a prophylactic double mastectomy after discovering she has the BRCA1 gene, and she needs someone to help care for her. Nikhil needs someone he trusts on his team, and Marley helps keep him calm. The timing of it all is kismet, and I love that both own up to their part in the downfall of their friendship.

I just adore Nikhil and Marley as they hang out and learn to open up to one another. Both carry a lot of baggage, and I love that they learn to cope and adapt from hanging out and realizing they care for one another. Nikhil is taken by everything Marley does. He is kind and generous and is willing to stand by her even at her lowest. She was always the ideal in his mind, but once he gets to know her as an adult, he realizes he loves the imperfect Marley even more. As the potential star in a fan-favorite superhero franchise, Nikhil’s life is public and under constant scrutiny, which doesn’t mesh well the very private Marley.

Marley is afraid of her future, knowing there is a high probability she may get sick. She hates that her uncle left her aunt when she was diagnosed with breast cancer and doesn’t want that for herself. So instead, Marley stays closed off. Yet, with Nikhil she finds herself unable to hold back. I love how the pair decide to live in the moment and “play house” while existing in a bubble outside their respective problems.

And there are a lot of problems that surround the pair. Both have to deal with toxic individuals who work against them, and I was beyond furious with these characters. *Small spoiler* Both Nikhil and Marley overcome their antagonists and succeed in positive ways, and I was a bit disappointed that we didn’t see a confrontation or the downfall of said characters. The author has written a healthy approach to the conflicts, but I wanted to see the bad guys taken down a few pegs. *end spoiler*

Just Playing House is a sweet, second-chance romance that works because the characters are willing to communicate and share their feelings. 

My Rating: B

About the Book:

As a luxury fashion sales associate, Marley Kamal is known for being cool, aspirational, and just the right amount of detached. One thing she is passionate about, getting surgery to reduce her chance of breast cancer after she learns she has the BRCA gene. But right before the scheduled operation, she has the professional opportunity of a lifetime – to style the latest up-and-coming Hollywood heartthrob.

Nikhil Shamdsani is either on the brink of superstardom or a complete breakdown. Going from a nobody actor to major Hollywood superhero hasn’t been a smooth transition. Comic nerds think he’s a diversity hire, while fans expect him to singlehandedly represent the entire Indian community. When Nikhil learns his old high school friend and prom date is now in high fashion, he’s thrilled to have someone he can trust as his stylist.

So Marley and Nikhil make a deal. She’ll style him for his events, and Nikhil will help care for her in the few critical weeks of after surgery. But soon Marley finds herself leaning on Nikhil as more than just a caregiver. And Nikhil finds his feelings growing stronger, too. When their rekindled friendship becomes something more, Marley fears her whole private life is about to be upended.

Release Date: July 2, 2024
Forever Publishing
Unnamed series #3; Standalone
Contemporary Romance
paperback (384 pages), e-book
Book Source: NetGalley

Purchase Info:
Amazon (affiliate link)