A family wedding. A date she has to bring. A deception they'll have to master. And, did I mention it involves going to Spain? The Spanish Love Deception is the debut romance novel of Elena Armas better known as @thebibliotheque on bookstagram. In this fun, slow-burn romance, we meet Catalina and her coworker, Aaron, who surprise...she cannot stand! The book centers on the enemies-to-lovers and fake dating tropes, and the last 100 pages led me to give this book a 5-FLAME rating on my romance scale. So here is the skinny...
SYNOPSIS: Catalina Martín has finally told her family she is not single any longer. Living in NYC and working for a top-notch engineering firm, she is fairly happy but there is one blue-eyed man who drives her crazy, Aaron Blackford. Her coworker and also the bane of her existence...or is he really?
He offers to be her date to her sister's wedding, and she turns him down multiple times until is basically blurts out to her mother that Aaron (her American boyfriend) will be coming across the ocean to Spain. And so their journey begins. While they continue their deception, they discover a lot more about each other than they realized, and will they fall in love? Only reading it will tell!
MY THOUGHTS: Well, I officially have a new fictional crush to add to my list. Aaron Blackford is freaking adorable as well as well-mannered, nice looking, and has such a soft side to him that leaves you rooting so hard for him and Catalina. Catalina is one of those boss women in the STEM field who knows how to work hard for what she wants despite the struggles she has dealt with in her early career days. I particularly loved the whole setting in Spain especially getting to know her family through Aaron's off-handed perspective since this story was told with Catalina as the protagonist.
I honestly was a little concerned with how long it took me to get through the first half of the book, but then I hit page 370 and I was FLYING. When Elena mentions this is a slow-burn, it really is until the last hundred pages where things really heat up (hence the 5-flame rating!). This book is certainly a wide-open door romance, but it is in the best way possible. There was a good balance of tension, spark, passion, and of course, a sense of trust between both the characters that made me love it even more.
As far as debut novels go, this has been one of my favorites this year. Well done, Elena Armas, and I really cannot wait for Rosie's story to come alive in your next novel: The American Roommate Experiment.
For some good enemies to lovers/fake dating romances to read that are along the lines of this novel, check out:
Undercover Bromance by Lyssa Kaye Adams
Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore
The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn
The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon