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Marriage for One – Ella Maise

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ FIVE STARS

This was such a delightfully awkward yet endearing romantic read about two lonely souls that find love and peace in each other. I was about to cry of joy by the end of this! It’s not often that I absolutely ADORE a book, but this was definitely one of those times! It’s going to be a re-read for years to come.

The story follows Jack and Rose (yes, the Titanic reference had me almost tearing up before anything had even happened) as they embarked on a fake marriage trope – which never gets old in my opinion. Jack’s social ineptitude and loneliness in being estranged from his family contrasted well with Rose’s kind, playful nature. I loved seeing them together and their budding romance grow!

“Your heart always has a home with me, Rose. No matter what, never forget that.” – Jack

What really struck me in this book was Maise’s writing style. I loved it. As someone who reads very often, it can be hard to fall in love with a good story if the writing is not up to scratch. Maise’s definitely was!

The first person narration in this book was startling at the beginning and threatened to pull me out of the story. It is not something that I usually read and while I am not completely averse to it, the author usually needs to be very good in their writing for me to delve and fall in love in a story as much as I have with this one. Maise blew me away. After a few chapters I seldom noticed the first person narrative, which is quite a feat as even good books written in first will often pull me out of the ‘story haze’. But she managed to keep hold of my attention with sweet quirks, like how Rose would count Jack’s smiles – since he gave so few of them. It was charming!

“Those thick and prominent eyebrows drew together, but still didn’t dampen my enthusiasm. This was Jack – frowning was like his version of saying hello.”

What I loved the most about this book though – and what kept me absolutely engaged the whole damn time – was the contrast between Rose and Jack’s personality portrayal through their dialogue. While Rose’s dialogues were long-winded (they almost felt like soliloques at times) during the beginning of the book while Jack’s lack of conversational skills were glaringly apparent. When Jack finally started speaking though…hot damn…it felt like both Rose and I had earned his responses.

Now that might sound weird, but I’m a massive fan of the brooding male lead. It’s not always easy to pull this off and many authors risk making the leading male character come across as unlikable and distant. Maise’s use of alternative narration for the chapters allowed me to gain an insight and true understanding of Jack (Rose wore her heart on her sleeve), social ineptitude and all. The lack of family presence in Jack’s life, as well as the doting care and attention he gave to Rose, spoke louder than any words he could have uttered.

“I was an idiot. “Your sleeves…you always roll them up.” I was a gigantic idiot, but…it was always one of the highlights of my day, so why should I have to suffer just because he forgot about it? It was my daily forearm porn, and I had started to look forward to it.”

While this was a slow burn romance, it was no less steamy! My absolute favourite combo. The long wait was certainly worth it! I will definitely be reading more of Maise’s books.

Jen

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