Do you ever start reading a romance novel and have to literally put it down and say “wow this premise is ridiculous” and then you pick it up and keep reading? Yes, that’s exactly what I did with The Dating Plan by Sara Desai. It’s her followup to The Marriage Game, but like so many rom-com series, it’s mostly a standalone with a slight spoiler of the outcome for the first couple–though it’s a romance, so does that even count as a spoiler?
This was a BOTM pick in January, and I actually ended up with two copies due to a shipping snafu, so if this book sounds up your alley…lemme know.
Daisy is a driven, very single software engineer who don’t need no man. She’s focused on her job at a start-up called Organicare, but while presenting at a conference, she ends up running into the last person she expected to see: Liam Murphy, the best friend of her brother who stood her up at prom ten years ago. Being of Indian descent, Daisy feels a constant pressure from her family to get married, and her Aunties are constantly trying to set her up with random men they think will be perfect for her. Liam, on the other hand, is facing his own marriage issue when his grandfather passes away and surprise, the only way to save the distillery Liam loves and keep it from being demolished by his older brother is to marry within 2 months (his birthday) and stay married for a year. Ridiculous, right? What a concept…but here I was.
You guessed it–Liam and Daisy decide to get fake engaged, and plan to get fake married on date 8 of their “dating plan.” But things get a little messy when Daisy and Liam start to really feel for each other, and then physical intimacy complicates things even further. Will Liam always be the biker dude who broke Daisy’s heart? Will Daisy learn to let someone in and not worry about being abandoned again? How will their complicated parents impact their own relationship?
Like many romances, this book has tangents of Very Very Dark Sh*t, like Liam’s dad being an abusive POS and Daisy’s mom abandoning the family, but it also has random things like Organic Tampon Branding Controversy and Motorcycle Crash That Makes Them Realize Their Feelings, so I feel like this would be a perfect Hallmark/Lifetime movie…if those channels weren’t kind of afraid of diverse characters.
I gave this book about 3.4 stars. I didn’t hate it–it was fine. The premise was so so ridiculous, but you know what, that’s fine. We can’t all be Christina Lauren, handling strange situations with perfect. Sometimes we need a Hallmark movie situation, don’t we? I was a bit under the weather the day I read this, so it was a good stay-in-bed and read-all-day book, and the purple cover is gorgeous.
One thing I truly didn’t like—and that annoys me in romances right now–is the “my single 20 something protagonist is so quirky cuz she wears clothes like she’s living in the 50s” like no. Give me contemporary romance leads who wear old navy cowl neck sweaters and jeans. Not everyone is “quirky” these days–we all have jobs, come on.
Also, on steam level, I’d call it a 3/5: it’s on the page a few times, but nothing too er…crazy. Though they do break a headboard. But I found it unrealistic, so there’s that.
Anyway, pick up The Dating Plan wherever books are sold.
If you’re interested in joining BOTM, click this link to join–you’ll get a steep discount, and I’ll get a free book!