Books · Comedy · coming out · Contemporary · diverse characters · lgbtqia content · mental health · MM romance · neurodiversity · own voices author · self-discovery

REVIEW: The Charm Offensive by Alison Cochrun

In this witty and heartwarming romantic comedy—reminiscent of Red, White & Royal Blue and One to Watch—an awkward tech wunderkind on a reality dating show goes off-script when sparks fly with his producer.

Dev Deshpande has always believed in fairy tales. So it’s no wonder then that he’s spent his career crafting them on the long-running reality dating show Ever After. As the most successful producer in the franchise’s history, Dev always scripts the perfect love story for his contestants, even as his own love life crashes and burns. But then the show casts disgraced tech wunderkind Charlie Winshaw as its star.

Charlie is far from the romantic Prince Charming Ever Afterexpects. He doesn’t believe in true love, and only agreed to the show as a last-ditch effort to rehabilitate his image. In front of the cameras, he’s a stiff, anxious mess with no idea how to date twenty women on national television. Behind the scenes, he’s cold, awkward, and emotionally closed-off.

As Dev fights to get Charlie to connect with the contestants on a whirlwind, worldwide tour, they begin to open up to each other, and Charlie realizes he has better chemistry with Dev than with any of his female co-stars. But even reality TV has a script, and in order to find to happily ever after, they’ll have to reconsider whose love story gets told.

 

Rom-com, POC character, reality tv

 

 

Charlie should NEVER have agreed to be the new Prince Charming on the reality tv show called “Ever After”. There are a few reasons for that. Charlie isn’t sure that he believes in true love at all and his primary reason for doing the show is that he wants to fix his image.

I believe this is Allison Cochrun’s debut romance and it’s a zinger! There’s happiness, amusement, neurodiversity, misunderstandings, humor, sweetness and romance… it’s just that nothing happens quite at the times and places that anyone expects!

Dev Deshpande is almost the opposite of Charlie. Dev definitely believes in the full on fairy tale and that’s one of the reasons that he’s a talent handler on “Ever After”. When the show runner notices that Dev seems to have a way with Charlie – they are assigned to each other. Rather than managing the potential Princesses, Dev is now tasked with managing Charlie. His job seems impossible at first… he must turn Charlie into someone desierable… romantic and engaging.

There is a grand twist in this book  – and okay – it begins with a practice-dating trope, but I loved it. Dev offers to spend time with Charlie, ease him into social interactions by practicing. As the practicing progresses, Charlie beigns to realize that he has made a tragic mistake by being on the show. As his feelings for Dev begin to surface… the dynamic changes and things go a bit sideways.

What I loved about this book is that it’s a full on rom-com that brought tears to my eyes at the right moment. Like Dev, I found myself being convinced that “true love” was a real thing and I was cheering them on! I love when I get caught up in things I’m reading.

The humour was great… I loved some of the friendships in the book. They had just the right amount of spice!

 

Things You May Want To Know: Please be aware, I’m by no means an expert on what may or may not have the potential to disturb people. I simply list things that I think a reader might want to be aware of. In this book: (SPOILERS) vomitting, detailed descriptions of OCD, detailed descriptions of depression, detailed descriptions of anxiety, character is wrongfully dismissed, character is treated absusively by business partner (another character points it out and corrects behaviour), drunkenness and bad hangovers, fake relationships

 

links

Goodreads || Author || Publisher

I received an ARC of the Charm Offensive by Alison Cochrun from Atria Books via Netgalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

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