Do you want romantic angst? ✅
Do you want a NYC cafe setting? ✅
Do you love reading about broody incessant fictional males that are hard core romantics and not at all like real men ✅ (we can always hope)
Marriage For One by Ella Maise was recently picked up and her four romance novels recovered by Pip Watkins and Simon & Schuster UK. And man, have they found a whip smart novelist!
A fellow book store regular recommended this to me on Wednesday and from the get go, I was hooked. She said she instantly fell in love with Jack and Rose’s story. Also mentioning that this was her favourite Ella Maise book she’s read thus far. Tick, tick, tick from me.
Rose and Jack are complete strangers, or so Rose thinks. She’s currently going through hell trying to navigate her Uncle’s Estate and Will, in which Rose’s is surprised to find a hidden clause. Her Uncle states that her husband will inherit a very profitable but empty building that she had all intentions of renovating into a cafe. However, the husband label hasn’t gone quite to plan in Rose’s life. Her ex-fiance dumped her over text (very sus, more on that when you read the book), her money hungry cousins are out to get any inheritance Rose is left with and squash her cafe dreams, and NOW, she has some grumpy, non-smiling lawyer guy proposing to her?!
Jack Hawthorne was not about to sit aside and let Rose lose everything she’d dreamed of, or be taken advantage of. Meeting Rose a year before, Jack had admired her from afar. Jack is one of the lawyers that closely worked with Rose’s Uncle, therefore he was aware of the current complications with the Will. Jack founded a secret and permanent idea. He would marry Rose out of convenience. He would be her husband. He would then inherit the empty building. Rose could open her dream store. No complications – a simple marriage for one. All Jack asks in return is for her to attend dinners, charity events and closing deals as his wife, giving the image of a ‘family man’ lawyer. He insisted this was good for his branding but there may or may not have been some secrets swirling around …
Shocked by the proposal and in disbelief, Rose finds her life changing immediately. Next thing we know, Jack and Rose are moving to together as a ‘married couple’ to his apartment. Rose is working day and night to finish painting, planning and baking for the cafe … with Jack’s surprisingly quiet and brooding help. They’re going to business dinners where Jack is unexpectedly quite good at laying on the PDA and passing them as a very happy newlywed couple. In private however, Rose is struggling to have any kind of get-to-know-you conversations with Jack as he resists her closeness. I liked hearing from his perspective every so often because it allowed us as the reader to see that he was trying his best to give her space and grow to like him on her own terms. Rose was slowly getting used to his frowning, gruff non verbal responses and blunt stares when her health takes a turn.
You won’t find any spoilers here book friends BUT I will say, Jack came through with the goods as a fake husband and a real one 😉 I really liked the growth of their relationship and their humour. I liked the ever present romantic tension and do-they-don’t-they feelings. I didn’t feel like Jack was written as a coercive male figure in the relationship which was a real possibility due to the circumstances of the plot, however Ella Maise pulled it off. Some readers may disagree with me on this but hey, this is romantic fiction. We know what we’re going here to read.
Finishing this book in 48 hours, on little sleep and feelings of happiness about finding a book to devour – I gave Marriage For One ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 4.5 stars!