Thursday, September 5, 2019

The Dating Charade by Melissa Ferguson #BookReview

Book Description

Just when you think you’ve met your match . . . the charade begins.
Cassie Everson is an expert at escaping bad first dates. And, after years of meeting, greeting, and running from the men who try to woo her, Cassie is almost ready to retire her hopes for a husband—and children—altogether.
But fate has other plans, and Cassie’s online dating profile catches the eye of firefighter Jett Bentley. In Jett’s memory, Cassie Everson is the unreachable girl-of-legend from their high school days. Nervously, he messages her, setting off a chain of events that forces a reluctant Cassie back into the dating game.
No one is more surprised than Cassie when her first date with Jett is a knockout. But when they both go home and find three children dropped in their laps—each—they independently decide to do the right and mature thing: hide the kids from each other while sorting it all out. What could go wrong?

My Thoughts:

Melissa Ferguson's homegrown humor is splashed all over this powder-fresh tale. You can't read this story without smiling...a lot. The fireman hero and the first-date-weary heroine, who works at a nonprofit organization for at-risk teens, are perfectly matched--and mismatched. Their verbal sparring magnetizes the reader to the page. Their parenting mishaps will have you wiping hot tears between chuckles.

Cassie and Jett are two relatable people, struggling to resolve their differences and make sense of this crazy modern dating world--and this crazy modern life where tots and teens alike are thrown about hither and yon, the kids' drug-enslaved parents either abandoning them or using them as a meal ticket. You and I both know of so many cases like this--it's not just fictional conflict, it's real life. And Melissa Ferguson has crafted characters to live this story that feel just as real.

C and J connected through a dating site. He's hiding three kids from her, she's hiding three kids from him. They're trying to squeeze a date or two in between diaper changes, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and macaroni, and the occasional rare-but-victorious private shower and bathroom break. I like Jett's integrity and Cassie's big heart, and their mutual competitive streak. I also like that both characters are over thirty and still single for the first time with no horrible skeletons in their closets (we do exist!) as well as the fact the heroine is a few years older than the hero. There is a lot of shaming and name-calling about this sort of situation, even in Christian circles, so this was refreshing to see Cassie's story written with a kind pen. While I would like to have seen more dates and more serious heart-level communication between the hero and heroine before the marriage proposal, I thought their relationship was portrayed with a good balance of sweetness and struggles to work through, overall off to a good start.

The children in the story could have crawled into this book from off the lap of any unsuspecting real life parent. Their antics are so outrageous, but so believable if you've ever spent any time supervising children. And the senior-citizen sisters? I loved them so much, I'd like to get my hands on the audio version sometime so I can listen with my sister. The type of humor in this book is what I've been waiting for. At the same time, the pavement-meets-shoe-rubber truths that bind this story together hit home. From now on, I'll be keeping a sharp eye out (Who invented that dangerous-sounding metaphor anyway?) for whatever this author writes.

***I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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