I’ll be honest, I’m usually more of a thriller/mystery reader than a romance reader. But I heard great things about The Spanish Love Deception by Elena Armas, so I decided to give it a try. And I’m so glad I did! This book was such a fun, engaging read that kept me turning the pages.
|Title||The Spanish Love Deception|
|Publication Date||February 23, 2021|
Where to Purchase
The Premise: Enemies to Lovers
The main character, Catalina, needs to attend her sister’s wedding in Spain. The problem? Her family thinks she’s still with her ex-boyfriend and Catalina told a little white lie that they’re still together to avoid judgment from her traditional Spanish family. So Catalina hires a stranger, Aaron, to pretend to be her boyfriend for the week of wedding festivities.
As you can guess, Catalina and Aaron do not get along at first. But over the course of the week, as they’re forced to pretend to be in love, they start to develop real feelings for each other. And that’s where the fun begins!
What I Loved About This Book
The Fake Dating Trope
I’m a sucker for a good “fake dating” storyline, and this book delivers! Watching Catalina and Aaron pretend to be in love, while actually falling for each other, made for such an enjoyable read. The candle-lit dinners, the married couple’s massage, the stolen kisses – it’s all designed to look authentic for the sake of their ruse, but it quickly becomes more.
The Slow-Burn Romance
While some romance novels rush through the relationship timeline, I liked that Armas takes her time developing the connection between Catalina and Aaron. Since they start out as adversaries, it’s believable that their affection grows slowly, until neither can deny their attraction. The gradual pace makes their romance feel organic rather than rushed.
The Spanish Setting
As someone who has never been to Spain, I loved getting immersed in the sights, sounds, and culture of a Spanish wedding. Armas does a great job bringing the setting to life, from the passionate Spanish music to the dance lessons to the extravagant ceremony steeped in tradition. It was a totally new world for me to explore.
The Witty Banter
Catalina and Aaron are both clever, sarcastic characters, which translates to laugh-out-loud funny dialogue. Their barbed exchanges had me chuckling throughout the book. Yet their banter also reveals the chemistry simmering beneath the surface.
The Messy Complications
Of course, fake dating never goes smoothly, and Catalina and Aaron encounter plenty of messy complications. From blackmail to suspicious relatives to a rebound ex-boyfriend, there are many obstacles standing in the way of their happy ending. The misunderstandings and miscommunications heighten the tension and keep things interesting.
I found Catalina very relatable, from her close relationship with her sister to her worries about judgment from her family. She’s an everyday woman just trying to get through a wedding. Watching her grow in confidence thanks to Aaron’s influence was very satisfying.
Let’s just say things get steamy between the faux couple, especially as their faux affection turns real. Elena Armas can write some swoon-worthy scenes that had me fanning myself. If you like your romance novels to have spice, this book delivers.
I don’t want to spoil anything, but the ending was exactly what I hoped for. I closed the book feeling like Catalina and Aaron got the perfect happily-ever-after. I admit I got a bit emotional reading the final chapter!
Anything I Didn’t Like?
My only small critique would be that a few scenes rely on some suspension of disbelief. For example, would a stranger really agree to fake date someone for a week he just met? But because the story is so addictive, I was happy to go along with the premise.
The Verdict: A Charming Romantic Escape
For anyone looking for an utterly charming romantic escape, I can’t recommend The Spanish Love Deception enough. It has everything I love in a romance: enemies to lovers, fake dating, slow burn tension, steamy scenes, and characters you root for. I had such a blast reading this book that I stayed up way too late turning pages. Elena Armas has crafted a truly enjoyable read that put a smile on my face the entire time. I’ll definitely be looking up her other books! So if you’re a romance fan looking for your next great read, grab a glass of sangria and escape to the Spanish countryside with this book.