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The first in a new historical rom-com series, a handsome earl hires a fake fiancée to keep his matchmaking mother at bay, but hilarity ensues when love threatens to complicate everything. The last thing Hugh Standish, Earl of Fareham, ever wants is a wife. Unfortunately for him, his mother is determined to find him one, even from across the other side of the ocean. So, Hugh The first in a new historical rom-com series, a handsome earl hires a fake fiancée to keep his matchmaking mother at bay, but hilarity ensues when love threatens to complicate everything. The last thing Hugh Standish, Earl of Fareham, ever wants is a wife. Unfortunately for him, his mother is determined to find him one, even from across the other side of the ocean. So, Hugh invents a fake fiancée to keep his mother’s matchmaking ways at bay. But when Hugh learns his interfering mother is on a ship bound for England, he realizes his complicated, convoluted but convenient ruse is about to implode. Until he collides with a beautiful woman, who might just be the miracle he needs. Minerva Merriwell has had to struggle to support herself and her two younger sisters ever since their feckless father abandoned them. Work as a woodcut engraver is few and far between, and the Merriwell sisters are nearly penniless. So, when Hugh asks Minerva to pose as his fiancée while his mother is visiting, she knows that while the scheme sounds ludicrous, the offer is too good to pass up. Once Minerva and her sisters arrive at Hugh's estate, of course, nothing goes according to his meticulous plan. As hilarity and miscommunication ensue, while everyone tries to keep their tangled stories straight, Hugh and Minerva’s fake engagement starts to turn into a real romance. But can they trust each other, when their relationship started with a lie?


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The first in a new historical rom-com series, a handsome earl hires a fake fiancée to keep his matchmaking mother at bay, but hilarity ensues when love threatens to complicate everything. The last thing Hugh Standish, Earl of Fareham, ever wants is a wife. Unfortunately for him, his mother is determined to find him one, even from across the other side of the ocean. So, Hugh The first in a new historical rom-com series, a handsome earl hires a fake fiancée to keep his matchmaking mother at bay, but hilarity ensues when love threatens to complicate everything. The last thing Hugh Standish, Earl of Fareham, ever wants is a wife. Unfortunately for him, his mother is determined to find him one, even from across the other side of the ocean. So, Hugh invents a fake fiancée to keep his mother’s matchmaking ways at bay. But when Hugh learns his interfering mother is on a ship bound for England, he realizes his complicated, convoluted but convenient ruse is about to implode. Until he collides with a beautiful woman, who might just be the miracle he needs. Minerva Merriwell has had to struggle to support herself and her two younger sisters ever since their feckless father abandoned them. Work as a woodcut engraver is few and far between, and the Merriwell sisters are nearly penniless. So, when Hugh asks Minerva to pose as his fiancée while his mother is visiting, she knows that while the scheme sounds ludicrous, the offer is too good to pass up. Once Minerva and her sisters arrive at Hugh's estate, of course, nothing goes according to his meticulous plan. As hilarity and miscommunication ensue, while everyone tries to keep their tangled stories straight, Hugh and Minerva’s fake engagement starts to turn into a real romance. But can they trust each other, when their relationship started with a lie?

30 review for Never Fall for Your Fiancée

  1. 5 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    Excellent! Excellent! Excellent! You’ll understand why this definition stuck with me when you’re reading the book! It is sooo irresistibly tempting! I adore fake engagement premise and sizzling attraction between couple can explode entire regency era! The storyline is simple and intriguing: Hugh Standish is charming, flirting gentleman who has commitment issues, thinking he inherited his father’s philanderer tendencies. But his mother Olive who lives in the overseas with her husband Jeremy is s Excellent! Excellent! Excellent! You’ll understand why this definition stuck with me when you’re reading the book! It is sooo irresistibly tempting! I adore fake engagement premise and sizzling attraction between couple can explode entire regency era! The storyline is simple and intriguing: Hugh Standish is charming, flirting gentleman who has commitment issues, thinking he inherited his father’s philanderer tendencies. But his mother Olive who lives in the overseas with her husband Jeremy is so adamant to see his happily ever after. So making her mother happy he created a fake fiancé named Minerva reminds us of household appliances brand name ( I’m kidding it’s the name of Roman goddess of wisdom) and elaborated his story with so many interesting details ( like the girl suffers from consumption which could be fatal disease at those ages, she sings like an angel, a competent horse rider and he saved her from carriage accident like a quiet brilliant knight in shining armor) But when his mother insists to visit to England to meet with her soon to be daughter in law, he thinks he’s in real trouble. He has to find a woman ASAP to act like his fiancée and the universe answers his prayers quickly. He bumps into a talented artist, creating woodcuts, needing to be paid for her services. He solves her problem by confronting the man who rejects to pay her with his negotiation skills, saving the damsel in distress! Guess what! This tough, outstanding, witty damsel named Minerva and she takes care of her two sisters alone at her young age. He sees this as a sign and offers her to be his fake fiancée with handsome compensation. She cannot reject this offer because she and her sisters are so close to live at streets and starving to death. Her weasel father left them penniless five years ago. So poor girls are on their own to survive! One thing Minerva and Hugh don’t count is since they bump each other, the sparks are already starting to fly around them. The attraction is undeniable! Chemistry is blasting! Hugh also has no idea Minerva will be accompanied with her two sisters: bold, intimidating, brass Diana already hates his guts, acting like man-hater as young Vee is too shy, having deep trouble to adjust in her role play, throwing tantrums. She might ruin their pretending game! Hugh’s brazen, man-whore friend Giles advises him to send the young sister back and warns him losing his authority because he is affected by Minerva’s charms. Hugh’s attempt to talk with Minerva results with a big fight which makes things more complicated. Now Minerva wants to leave the place but surprise, surprise...Olivia decided to arrive earlier and she’s already at home! She already meets with girl’s mom. Okay! I’m correcting: she meets with the actress who is playing the girl’s mom! So they should continue their farce ! And Giles’ sudden work related disappearance makes things more complicated! Now Hugh is trapped in his house with his mother, the fiancée who is seething after their argument and two unreliable sisters with over exaggerating actress a.k.a their fake mother! And did I tell you that fake mother can turn into more eccentric character when she drinks too much! This book is truly entertaining! I liked the chemistry and connection of Minerva and Hugh! I loved supporting characters. Payne as a sweet pain in the arse was my favorite one! Only thing bothered me was ending which was too rushed! And Hugh’s obsession about inheriting dysfunctional relationship patterns from his father was a illogical. Why he thinks he cannot be capable to form a lifetime long relationship? I’m still rounding up 4.5 stars to 5 because I had truly great time during my read! It was unputdownable, engaging, stimulating, feel good romance I highly recommend! I hope we get the sequel we need sooner ( probably it will be Giles and Diana’s story: enemies to lovers premise already intrigued me ! ) Special thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press/ St. Martin’s Griffin for sharing this digital reviewer copy with me in exchange my honest opinions.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Whitney Erwin

    3 stars for this light hearted rom com. The bright cover caught my eye and drew me in. Some parts were really entertaining and gave me a little laugh. Minerva’s sisters and the hired actress to play her mother add some extra drama. The storyline was of course very predictable, but it was still a fun read. Thank you Net Galley and St. Martin’s Press for the ARC in return for my honest review.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Isabel

    can't wait to do this with my nonexistent fiancée :) can't wait to do this with my nonexistent fiancée :)

  4. 5 out of 5

    Holly

    This was another fun book. Historical romance with less steam and more funny moments than a typical romance of this genre. Once again, I loved all the characters. I especially have a soft spot for the butler 😉 Hugh and Minerva were great together. I loved their banter and how they were together. All the characters were great though, which is what made this romance so enjoyable. I can’t wait for the next two books.

  5. 5 out of 5

    cossette

    sometimes u just gotta read something light after reading a v. intense book anyways i guess if u like bridgerton you'll enjoy this sometimes u just gotta read something light after reading a v. intense book anyways i guess if u like bridgerton you'll enjoy this

  6. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    What a fun book. There is so much silliness and play in this book I enjoyed it so much. Lots of fun twists and turns made it entertaining. Steamy without being crass or crude. I loved these fun characters. This is an adult romance with 2 sexual scenes, very tastefully done.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Hannah B.

    ✨God I love a fake, hired family moment.✨ This was super cute and quite hilarious!! It reminded me of the original Christmas in Connecticut where there’s fake family members and absurd hijinks. It’s even a bit Christmasy. Never Fall for Your Fiancé is a true historical rom-com. There were times when I simply couldn’t contain my laughter. The Mozart scene really did me in. Hugh was a very compelling hero and I really liked him, especially when he got a little feisty. I did find his whole “faulty S ✨God I love a fake, hired family moment.✨ This was super cute and quite hilarious!! It reminded me of the original Christmas in Connecticut where there’s fake family members and absurd hijinks. It’s even a bit Christmasy. Never Fall for Your Fiancé is a true historical rom-com. There were times when I simply couldn’t contain my laughter. The Mozart scene really did me in. Hugh was a very compelling hero and I really liked him, especially when he got a little feisty. I did find his whole “faulty Standish bloodline” state of mind kind of flimsy and annoying but overall it worked. I was so tickled to find out that her name really was Minerva and that I liked her older sister mentality. Her and Hugh fit well together but I liked it best when they ✨chaffed✨ a bit. It wasn’t very steamy but there was a little somethin somethin—I wasn’t sure what we were going to get with this one so I was pleasantly surprised. I did end up deducting .5⭐️s for the lack of steam just because it was a lengthy book and the build-up was super slow-burn and intense. I just think we could have been given more to completely round out the story. I did appreciate the shameless nipples however. There’s a point at the end where you’ll be like “there are absolutely not enough pages to resolve everything” but never fear—everything came out of the wash spick and span. There was also a really fun little twist near the end. I only wish the father would have been punished more for his unsavoriness but perhaps in books two and three? I also can’t wait to see Vee’s transformation in her book and what type of hero she gets because I really found her annoying here. I can’t wait to see her challenged. It’s very unfortunate that I’ve read this book this far before release (11/21) because I already need book two. Diana is going to be such a prickly pear and Giles is her perfect foil. I also can’t wait to see the cover color because I really love this orange color. I hope one of them will be emerald (like their eyes) since there are far too few dark green romance books. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5/5 🌶🌶🌶/5 P.S. Another fake family Christmas movie comp is Surviving Christmas with Ben Affleck.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jaime

    “Sometimes, you have to embrace the fickle finger of fate and accept the what-ifs to let the cards fall where they may. We cannot predict the future and, more often than not, we cannot direct it either. In which case, why fight it?” Never Fall for Your Fiancé is book one in Virginia Heath’s new series The Merriwell Sisters. It is a story of fate, misunderstandings, family drama, and love. This story of course follows the trope of fake relationship to love as the title suggests; However, it is “Sometimes, you have to embrace the fickle finger of fate and accept the what-ifs to let the cards fall where they may. We cannot predict the future and, more often than not, we cannot direct it either. In which case, why fight it?” Never Fall for Your Fiancé is book one in Virginia Heath’s new series The Merriwell Sisters. It is a story of fate, misunderstandings, family drama, and love. This story of course follows the trope of fake relationship to love as the title suggests; However, it is so much more than a simple romance. I adored the characters and all their unique eccentricities. The MCs in this story are Hugh Standish the Earl of Fareham and Minerva Merriwell a impoverished lady who might be the daughter of a gentleman. Hugh finds himself in a pickle when his mother writes him a letter informing him of her pending arrival to London. Why is this a problem? Well his mother is coming to meet his fiancé and help with the upcoming nuptials. She is excited to finally meet Hugh’s fiancé whom she has heard numerous stories about over the last 2-years. The problem is…there is no fiancé. Hugh has created, with great detail, a fiancé —- someone who doesn’t even exist. “ His fake fiancée was only ever meant to be temporary—a way to stall his mother, avoid falling out with her and hurting her feelings yet again, and to give himself some time off. He hated arguments more than he hated introspection, and he hated disappointing people.” Why would Hugh create a fiancé? Hugh believes that “A man should only enter into a marriage when he had every intention of honoring his vows. Such a noble undertaking obviously required two attributes that, thanks to his ancestors, Hugh was fairly certain he didn’t possess: eyes that didn’t wander and a heart selfless enough to be capable of great love.” So because Hugh believes he can never honor wedding vows he has strictly avoided his mother’s matchmaking attempts and he has avoided any type of relationship where he may be trapped into marriage. Simply put he has lived the life of a rogue. Now Hugh finds his house of cards is perilously close to collapsing and he is loathe to disappoint his mother just about as much as he is devoted to avoiding Parsons trap. He is out wandering the streets pondering his situation when he stumbles upon a woman in need of assistance. A beautiful woman who’s name just happens to be Minerva, the same name of his fake fiancé, it’s as if fate sent her. Minerva is a woman trying to survive in the early 1800’s when her mother has died, her father left, and she has two younger sisters to support. She is doing the best she can and usually lives an honest life. So, when she is approached by an Earl and asked to be his fake fiancé, she immediately wants to say no. However she has bills overdue and the Earl is offering enough money to pay all her past due bills AND still have money for food! It’s a hard offer to pass. This is how she and her two younger sisters find themselves whisked off to the country with roles to play to help the Earl out of his web of lies. What could go wrong? What will go right? With amazing supporting characters Hugh & Minerva’s fake betrothal takes on a life of its own. Two years of lies all come to a head, banns are soon being read, wedding dresses designed, and family secrets brought to light. What will be the final outcome? Does love stand a chance between Hugh & Minerva? This story was a very fun and flowed very smoothly. I loved all of the characters and cannot wait to read the rest of the series. I am hoping Hugh’s best friend and fellow rogue is brought to his knees by love! The chemistry between Hugh & Minerva build slowly and this book is not packed with frivolous sex scenes. What sexy times these two do have are full of emotion and the perfect climax (pun intended) to a delicious slow burn! If you enjoy historical romance with sexy rogues and strong women then I urge you to give this book a try!! 4.5 Stars

  9. 4 out of 5

    Renee

    It was good! I enjoyed the writing and the flow. The plot was a little predictable and some themes were repeated to the reader a little too redundantly at times (I feel some readers like this while others do not), but it was super cute! It had some really fun and funny moments. Giles was my favorite. His character was always saying what I was thinking. I would recommend this to anyone wanting a fun historical romance.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    Never Fall for Your Fiancee by Virginia Heath is a wonderful, witty, sassy, and entertaining historical fiction romance novel that I truly enjoyed. This book is the first in a new series: The Merriwell Sisters. I loved everything about this book. Hugh Standish and Minerva Merriwell are brought together through an agreement and a “fake” engagement, but through this process...opposites attract and the relationship becomes real. Business in this circumstance turns to pleasure. I enjoyed seeing the Never Fall for Your Fiancee by Virginia Heath is a wonderful, witty, sassy, and entertaining historical fiction romance novel that I truly enjoyed. This book is the first in a new series: The Merriwell Sisters. I loved everything about this book. Hugh Standish and Minerva Merriwell are brought together through an agreement and a “fake” engagement, but through this process...opposites attract and the relationship becomes real. Business in this circumstance turns to pleasure. I enjoyed seeing the “relationship” develop. The chemistry, wit, banter, and interplay between the two main characters made for fast, engaging, and immersive reading. The dialogue was awesome and spot on. This is going to be an excellent series, and I can’t wait to see what happens next with the second sibling. 5/5 stars Thank you NG and St. Martin’s Press for this awesome arc and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion. I am posting this review to my GR and Bookbub accounts immediately and will post it to my Amazon, Instagram, and B&N accounts upon publication.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Lucinda

    I really liked this one! It's the first time reading this author and I liked the story from the get go, and I'm looking forward to the rest of the series. Hugh meets Minerva when he comes to her rescue as she's trying to get a payment from a client who doesn't want to pay. When he finds out her name is Minerva, he hires her to be his fake fiancée to show off to his mom. It's a well paced story with an enticing setting and great characters. Hugh and Minerva are well suited (even when they think t I really liked this one! It's the first time reading this author and I liked the story from the get go, and I'm looking forward to the rest of the series. Hugh meets Minerva when he comes to her rescue as she's trying to get a payment from a client who doesn't want to pay. When he finds out her name is Minerva, he hires her to be his fake fiancée to show off to his mom. It's a well paced story with an enticing setting and great characters. Hugh and Minerva are well suited (even when they think they don't), and I also liked her sisters, Hugh's butler, and his mother and stepfather. Sexual content (not too much, but it's there). I received a copy from the publisher via NetGalley and this is my honest opinion.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Merry Jewelhound

    This is my first book by this author and I had laugh out loud moments. The Earl needs to have a way to convince his mother that he is engaged and a way to break the engagement. So he comes up with a fiancé which is where fun really starts. Its a historical comedy with a bit of steam. The side characters are a great addition. I will continue to read the next in the series. Thank you NetGalley and the Publisher.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Diamond L

    Hugh created a fake fiancé to stop his mother from meddling with his love life. But it seems to have backfired when his mother and her husband jump on a ship from America to meet his future bride. Did Hugh do what any sensible person would do and come clean? Of course not. Where would the fun be in that? Enter Minerva. A young artist trying to take care of herself and her two younger sisters. When Hugh asks Minerva to be his fake fiancé, she was morally against it; but financially, it would chang Hugh created a fake fiancé to stop his mother from meddling with his love life. But it seems to have backfired when his mother and her husband jump on a ship from America to meet his future bride. Did Hugh do what any sensible person would do and come clean? Of course not. Where would the fun be in that? Enter Minerva. A young artist trying to take care of herself and her two younger sisters. When Hugh asks Minerva to be his fake fiancé, she was morally against it; but financially, it would change her and her sister’s lives. She just has to pretend to be in love with a rich, handsome, caring, charismatic gentleman. Whatever could go amiss? Hugh’s elaborate lies keep trying to unravel and the secondary characters do an excellent job of helping them come to light. Minerva brings her sisters with her as a caveat to their arrangement. One sister is immature and keeps throwing fits while another sister is cynical and believes Hugh will either kill them or seduce her sister. The actress he hired to play the girl’s mother is very method and very much a drunkard. And his best friend is watching the wreckage in complete rapture waiting to tell him “I told you so!” The plot was predictable and I loved every minute of it. Of course these two would end up falling for each other and have many misunderstandings on the way. But the journey was fun. It was funny and sweet and I have a feeling there will be a sequel. Perhaps with Hugh’s best friend Giles and Minerva’s sister Diana? I sure hope so, because I’ll read the heck out of that. Special thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for releasing this ARC to me in exchange for an honest review.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Megan (Glitter and Plato)

    Hugh Standish, Earl of Fareham, has spent the last few years dodging the matchmaking schemes of his mother by pretending utter devotion to the fiancee he made up. But when his mother announces that she is on a ship headed for London to visit her son and his lovely future wife, Hugh must find a woman to continue the ruse. Minerva Merriwell fits the bill perfectly - she has the right name, she is beautiful and clever, and most importantly, she is desperate to make some money...desperate enough to Hugh Standish, Earl of Fareham, has spent the last few years dodging the matchmaking schemes of his mother by pretending utter devotion to the fiancee he made up. But when his mother announces that she is on a ship headed for London to visit her son and his lovely future wife, Hugh must find a woman to continue the ruse. Minerva Merriwell fits the bill perfectly - she has the right name, she is beautiful and clever, and most importantly, she is desperate to make some money...desperate enough to go along with this crazy scheme. I love a good fake relationship romance, and I love a clever historical romance, so I was very excited to read this one. Unfortunately, the story just fell short for me. It was like *so close* to being everything I wanted, but just not quite there. Hugh and Minerva's relationship lacked chemistry and the swoony angst of the will-they-won't-they tension of a fake relationship. And Hugh himself felt very...cowardly. I just couldn't get behind a guy who lied for so long to his mother and was categorically incapable of having an honest conversation with anyone! However, I really enjoyed Minerva's sister Diana and Hugh's best friend, who I think are going to feature in book 2 of this series. While I didn't love this story, I do think the writing is fun and I would continue reading the series! Thank you to Netgalley, St Martin's, and the author for this eARC in exchange for my review.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kaitlyn DeHerrera

    Virginia Heath’s “Never Fall for your Fiancée” is nothing short of an absolute pleasure to read. Hugh and Minerva, brought together only because Minerva’s name matches that of the fake fiancée Hugh has contrived to appease his meddling mother’s matchmaking designs, have an eclectic chemistry. While the fake relationship trope can sometimes lead to utterly absurd and unrealistic situations, Heath creates a genius plot in which the main characters organically fall in love through their own choices Virginia Heath’s “Never Fall for your Fiancée” is nothing short of an absolute pleasure to read. Hugh and Minerva, brought together only because Minerva’s name matches that of the fake fiancée Hugh has contrived to appease his meddling mother’s matchmaking designs, have an eclectic chemistry. While the fake relationship trope can sometimes lead to utterly absurd and unrealistic situations, Heath creates a genius plot in which the main characters organically fall in love through their own choices, not necessarily in being forced to perform in front of others. While Heath does have to throw in some logs to fuel the flames of their façade, she ultimately allows her characters to connect in quieter moments, which I found much more attractive than forced kisses and insincere acts of affection. This book is the first installment of the Merriwell Sisters series, which is perfect for two reasons: 1) Heath really took the time to develop the side characters, anticipating their appearance in further novels 2) I get to read more of this wonderful woman’s writing in the future Many, many thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Desiree

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. After creating a fake fiancée to please his mother the lies that the Earl of Fareham, Hugh, told have finally caught up to him. His mother plans to come visit for the holidays and needs to make a plan...FAST. By chance he meets Minerva, who has the same name as his fake fiancee does. Minerva, who is low on money and trying to support herself and two sisters, is willing to help Hugh...for a price. What they both thought would be an easy time impressing his mother turns out to be a chain of hectic After creating a fake fiancée to please his mother the lies that the Earl of Fareham, Hugh, told have finally caught up to him. His mother plans to come visit for the holidays and needs to make a plan...FAST. By chance he meets Minerva, who has the same name as his fake fiancee does. Minerva, who is low on money and trying to support herself and two sisters, is willing to help Hugh...for a price. What they both thought would be an easy time impressing his mother turns out to be a chain of hectic, not easily controlled events and the two falling for each other in the process. Will they work out their differences, handle the situations at hand with level heads, not get caught by Hugh's mother all while dealing with their feelings for each other? This is definitely a read I would suggest to anyone who is a fan of the Bridgerton show! I haven't read the books for Bridgerton but I would assume those who liked them would enjoy this too. I'm a sucker for the fake relationship trope and for historical fiction, so when this appeared on NetGalley I knew I had to request it. It did not disappoint! I really enjoyed this book and it never felt slow, which can be hard to find sometimes with historical fiction and romance. Minerva was by far my favourite character, she was so strong and wouldn't bend her morals or beliefs for anyone; she constantly stood her ground while still being the woman she was expected to be in the society of the times. Her sisters were a nice addition to the story, but her youngest sister was a bit annoying. I found sometimes this book followed some storylines that Bridgerton, did a little bit too closely. Spoilers in this next part (you have been warned!): Hugh refuses to marry because he thinks his father cheated on his mother and his grandfather did the same. For some reason, he is under the impression he will do the same thing just because of his 'bloodline'. In my mind this is ridiculous, someone being unfaithful has nothing to do with your heritage and the fact he is so hung up on it got a bit annoying. He was also, at times, blatantly rude to Minerva to 'protect her' from possibly getting hurt by him being unfaithful. In reality this just hurt her more in my opinion because he led her on so much. Because of this I started to really not like Hugh and didn't want Minerva to do anything with him. If it wasn't for him acting this way I think this would be an almost 5 star read for me, he just ended up annoying me. If you have watched Bridgerton, I know you know a certain Duke had very similiar mindsets about something else involving relationships because of his father. Eventually it is all sorted and works out but getting there was a bit rough and I fully blame Hugh. This is definitely a nice, easy read and I really hope the author continues the series with the Merriwell sisters because I already have theories on what will happen in the future for them!

  17. 4 out of 5

    brook

    2.75 (3 stars rounded up) This was my first Virginia Heath book and I'm not so sure about it. The synopsis sounded promising and the cover--girl I'm not going to lie-- it sucked me in. I was ecstatic when I saw I got approved for the arc and jumped right in only to be somewhat let down. I don't hate the marriage of inconvenience tropes but this took it way too far. The whole idea of Minerva marrying into this plot of deception just because Hugh couldn't grow a pair was quite frankly infuriating. F 2.75 (3 stars rounded up) This was my first Virginia Heath book and I'm not so sure about it. The synopsis sounded promising and the cover--girl I'm not going to lie-- it sucked me in. I was ecstatic when I saw I got approved for the arc and jumped right in only to be somewhat let down. I don't hate the marriage of inconvenience tropes but this took it way too far. The whole idea of Minerva marrying into this plot of deception just because Hugh couldn't grow a pair was quite frankly infuriating. For god's sake he hired an actor to pose as Minerva's mom then why couldn't he do the same for Minerva himself? I mean I don't know how you can be running an estate and still be that dense. I know I know historical romance isn't supposed to be too accurate and I respect that, but I can not believe these two characters' brains for being as smooth as a bowling ball. But that was minor compared to the biggest issue -- it was just plain boring. The dialogue was so dry and the prose was way too tedious for my small brain. I found myself skipping through chunks of the book to get so SOMETHING worthwhile. Conflict? Chemistry? We don't know her. It wasn't a terrible book--it's just not the best. The saving grace of this book that rescued it from the dnf trenches was the character of Hugh. Honestly, he's still as interesting as a paper bag but I liked how he didn't really fit into the stereotypical "rake" douche boy and had some depth within him. He was on the spectrum of being "too" nice and it was refreshing when he broke that shell of pretense. But that's as refreshing as it gets.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    Despite how often we use the crying laughing icon, it's rare that we actually do it. This book proved the exception! Zany, hilarious and joyous, Never fall for your Fiancee would make a wonderful farce on the stage-especially the kind where there are five doors and people enter and exit on a rapid pace. Excellent! Delightful! Recommended! Can't wait for the next book! Despite how often we use the crying laughing icon, it's rare that we actually do it. This book proved the exception! Zany, hilarious and joyous, Never fall for your Fiancee would make a wonderful farce on the stage-especially the kind where there are five doors and people enter and exit on a rapid pace. Excellent! Delightful! Recommended! Can't wait for the next book!

  19. 4 out of 5

    CynnieRose

    How fun And well written. Definitely got some The Importance of Being Earnest vibes.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ashley Dang

    A fake fiancee, a lie to destroy them all, and 50 pounds to seal the deal. Hugh Standish, Earl of Fareham, is determined to remain a bachelor because he believes that he was not meant for love just like his philandering grandfather and father before him. When his mother becomes ever more persistent on finding him a match he lies and invents a fiancee to hold off his mother, except now she is coming to visit him to meet his fiancee and Hugh has to find a woman to play the role of his fake fiancee A fake fiancee, a lie to destroy them all, and 50 pounds to seal the deal. Hugh Standish, Earl of Fareham, is determined to remain a bachelor because he believes that he was not meant for love just like his philandering grandfather and father before him. When his mother becomes ever more persistent on finding him a match he lies and invents a fiancee to hold off his mother, except now she is coming to visit him to meet his fiancee and Hugh has to find a woman to play the role of his fake fiancee for his mother. He runs into Minerva, and coincidentally she has the same name as his fake fiancee and he sees that she desperately needs money so he offers her this job opportunity which she accepts. Hugh finds that he is getting more than what he bargained for when Minerva arrives to his home with her two sisters in tow, Diana ( a rude and very accusatory young woman who speaks her mind regardless of the situation and sense) and Venus “Vee” ( a bookish and overly shy and sensitive individual who constantly throws tantrums and needs to be coddled). Minerva is essentially the mother to them and has to be responsible and despite the fact that her two sisters barely tolerate her doing this Minerva points out that they won’t be able to even afford rent next month and that she doesn’t have a choice, they need the money that would enable them to live for the next two years without worry. To add onto the issues, Hugh’s mother appears two weeks ahead of time and is try to catch them out of the lie. Hugh and Minerva find that they are falling for each other despite Hugh believing that his blood is cursed and that he will never be able to commit to anyone let alone love anyone. Lots of drama, misunderstandings, and arguing ensues and finally wraps up with a happily ever after for everyone. I would have to say my biggest gripe with the story would be my annoyance at Minerva’s sisters and of course Hugh blaming all his issues on his “cursed blood” and actually cheered when Minerva called him out on it. She accurately notes his issues and calls him out for his behavior and tells him to own his own actions and take responsibility. The resolution to all of the problems was okay and overall this was a fine romance read. If you are looking for a light romance read with drama then this is definitely for you. *Thanks Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for sending me an arc in exchange for an honest review*

  21. 4 out of 5

    Caroline

    This book is just charming. I love a good fake engagement plot, and this one is excellently done, with practically everything going wrong from suspicious mothers to drunk actresses, all on top of the growing feelings both of our main characters are quick to deny or ignore. All of it is a bit absurd, but that's rather the point, isn't it? I loved Minerva and her sisters. They are all so different, and yet you can tell they've really been brought together by the suffering they've endured, even as t This book is just charming. I love a good fake engagement plot, and this one is excellently done, with practically everything going wrong from suspicious mothers to drunk actresses, all on top of the growing feelings both of our main characters are quick to deny or ignore. All of it is a bit absurd, but that's rather the point, isn't it? I loved Minerva and her sisters. They are all so different, and yet you can tell they've really been brought together by the suffering they've endured, even as they bicker. Their relationships with each another feel very authentic--which was a relief to read, since I tend to be more dissatisfied than not with portrayals of siblings in books. And, of course, the romance! Hugh and Minerva are so deliciously frustrating as they dance around each other, but their reservations and misunderstandings are always valid. Well...most of the time, anyway. Hugh's hang-up on his "Standish blood" gets old very quickly, especially given how clear it is that he's the last man in the world to be unfaithful to someone once he married them, and I wish Minerva was a little bit more forceful when dealing with his insecurities, but he's so genuinely good that it's impossible to stay upset with him for long. My main criticism is how quickly the novel wraps up. After tangling everything up and getting absolutely everyone involved, Hugh and Minerva get out of the whole mess a little too easily for me. The romantic conflict takes a bit of work (although not as much as I would've liked), but after that point, I think they should've had to struggle more than they did to satisfy everyone. But I am a sucker for a happy ending, and I my stomach was in knots trying to figure out how they'd get out of the mess they'd made, so I can't be too upset that it works out in the end. This one has all the absolute chaos and miscommunication I'd hoped for in a fake engagement plot, and it sets up the next book in the series fairly neatly. Very excited to see where the series goes! Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ruth’s Romances

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5 “The more she learned about her fake fiancé, the more she liked him—when already there was so much she liked. A dangerous state of affairs when they had no future.” What You’ll Find: ✔️Historical Romance ✔️Romantic Comedy ✔️Fake Engagement ✔️Slow Burn ✔️Dual, Third Person POV Hugh, the Earl of Fareham, has done everything he can to keep his matchmaking mother away. Including faking a fiancé. When he learns she’s set sail for a visit, he quickly hires a fake fiancé to continue his charade. Min ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5 “The more she learned about her fake fiancé, the more she liked him—when already there was so much she liked. A dangerous state of affairs when they had no future.” What You’ll Find: ✔️Historical Romance ✔️Romantic Comedy ✔️Fake Engagement ✔️Slow Burn ✔️Dual, Third Person POV Hugh, the Earl of Fareham, has done everything he can to keep his matchmaking mother away. Including faking a fiancé. When he learns she’s set sail for a visit, he quickly hires a fake fiancé to continue his charade. Minerva has been taking care of her two sisters and agree to this deal to provide for them. But when they all arrive at Hugh’s estate, nothing goes according to plan. This one had a slow start for me. Hugh and Minerva seemed to have an attraction from the start. Their romance however was very slow building, though with a smidge of steam. It seemed to lack that chemistry I was anticipating in a fake relationship story. And I think it was perhaps this, that made it difficult to get into this story. Though it could have been it being in third person too, that’s not my favourite. Either way, it was hard for me to truly feel the romance or their connection. Something was just not there for me with these MC’s. I will say, I feel conflicted, because I did enjoy many parts of the story, especially the latter part. It actually had me chuckling. The whole scene, if you’ve read it you know which, was written perfectly for a good laugh. Aside from this, my favourite scenes and humour came from Diana and Giles, who I truly adored most. Overall a likeable read. My first from this author and I would definitely read Diana and Giles’ story, should it happen! *Thank you to St. Martins Press for the ARC via NetGalley for my honest review. All opinions are given freely and are my own.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Areej (reejreads)

    I don’t even know where to start. This is a classic case of I was enticed by the cover (again) and I was mildly disappointed. The plot of it sounded so intriguing and different, but (again) the point of a romance novel is to be convinced of the characters chemistry and honestly I was immensely underwhelmed by the lack of chemistry between these two characters. I personally did not feel convinced by their relationship at all. Or their chemistry because the relationship was not built up well in thi I don’t even know where to start. This is a classic case of I was enticed by the cover (again) and I was mildly disappointed. The plot of it sounded so intriguing and different, but (again) the point of a romance novel is to be convinced of the characters chemistry and honestly I was immensely underwhelmed by the lack of chemistry between these two characters. I personally did not feel convinced by their relationship at all. Or their chemistry because the relationship was not built up well in this book. It was very predictable, I felt like nothing was happening most of the time and honestly it took so much out of me not to DNF. Was there chemistry? Was there actual love? I honestly couldn’t say. However, I did enjoy the character Hugh - although marginally, he still was infuriating and did amount to stale bread- classic case of never admit your feelings at all costs. He went to intense lengths like hiring an actress to play the mother of a fake lover (Minerva) and went out of his way to hire Minerva instead of an actress and yet it took him so long to admit his actual feelings. Agh.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Katharine

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Thank you NetGalley and St. Martin’s Griffin for providing me with an e-arc in exchange for an honest review. 3/5 stars Hugh and Minerva were a fun couple to read about. I love the accidentally falling in love trope so this was right up my ally (along with forced proximity). Hugh and Minerva had great banter and chemistry. And I love the idea of the hired actress to play their mother. It added an extra layer to the lie and drama in the group! I also really enjoyed how Hugh’s mother didn’t believe Thank you NetGalley and St. Martin’s Griffin for providing me with an e-arc in exchange for an honest review. 3/5 stars Hugh and Minerva were a fun couple to read about. I love the accidentally falling in love trope so this was right up my ally (along with forced proximity). Hugh and Minerva had great banter and chemistry. And I love the idea of the hired actress to play their mother. It added an extra layer to the lie and drama in the group! I also really enjoyed how Hugh’s mother didn’t believe the relationship and was working on uncovering the truth. Kept me guessing of when the lie would finally unravel. The only complaint I had was that I wish Hugh and Minerva had more outings or forced proximity for the charade. They really only had one outing by themselves. And then a dance. Otherwise most scenes seemed to take place at the dining table. I would have loved to see his sister more in it. Or even an ex lover? Just to add that extra layer of spice. Overall it was a fun light hearted romcom that I would recommend!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Taylor

    Thanks to NetGalley + the publisher for the advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review! Minerva is a hardworking young women who is responsible for two younger sisters and in desperate need of a change in luck. Hugh is a spoiled earl who has fabricated a fiancee to placate his overly involved mother, who lives in America. Their attempts to keep the charade going during her unexpected visit to England are full of comedy and close calls. Their house of cards is never far from crumb Thanks to NetGalley + the publisher for the advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review! Minerva is a hardworking young women who is responsible for two younger sisters and in desperate need of a change in luck. Hugh is a spoiled earl who has fabricated a fiancee to placate his overly involved mother, who lives in America. Their attempts to keep the charade going during her unexpected visit to England are full of comedy and close calls. Their house of cards is never far from crumbling, and as they continue to improvise they realize they have genuine feelings for one another. I honestly loved ALL the characters in this book! Each one brought something special to the unraveling of this fabricated engagement. It was a true treat to read and I definitely recommend picking it up when its released on November 9th. I can't wait for the rest of the series!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Pgchuis

    I received a copy of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley. I have mixed feelings about this novel. I forgave it its many many anachronisms (of language, of attitudes, Payne's role etc) because it was such a romp. It took a while to get started, but after that there were many amusing scenes: Minerva's 'mother' getting drunk and revealing she was an actress, Minerva being bad at riding a horse, any scene with Giles in it... However, I found Diana and Vee extremely annoying. Hugh's motive for I received a copy of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley. I have mixed feelings about this novel. I forgave it its many many anachronisms (of language, of attitudes, Payne's role etc) because it was such a romp. It took a while to get started, but after that there were many amusing scenes: Minerva's 'mother' getting drunk and revealing she was an actress, Minerva being bad at riding a horse, any scene with Giles in it... However, I found Diana and Vee extremely annoying. Hugh's motive for never getting married was ludicrous (as was the way it was resolved). His behaviour towards Minerva lacked respect, and I was disappointed in him.

  27. 5 out of 5

    caitlin e.

    Review copy courtesy of Edelweiss. Recommended for fans of Martha Waters. This was a pretty funny historical romcom about mistaken identity and although the set up was pretty silly, it was like reading an Austen novel with the humor enhanced.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Meg

    Never fall for your fiancé I enjoyed this book but I’m a sucker for any romance serious that involves sisters. I will definitely keep an eye out for the next two sister books. Both main characters are extremely likable so it was very easy to root for them to get together. Lots of silly hijinks and confusion as our main characters found their way to happiness. I will definitely recommend this to my friends and family. It will make an excellent beach read.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Roisín

    Thank you to the publisher and to netgalley for allowing me to read an early review copy of this book. I. Loved. This. Book! Loved it. Loved everything about it! This is exactly what I look for in a historical romance and it had it in spades. The only thing I wish is that it was a little more steamy cause I’m a sucker for some steamy scenes but it was a perfect historical romance. Minerva and Hugh are perfect together and I know the other books in this series will probably be the other sisters b Thank you to the publisher and to netgalley for allowing me to read an early review copy of this book. I. Loved. This. Book! Loved it. Loved everything about it! This is exactly what I look for in a historical romance and it had it in spades. The only thing I wish is that it was a little more steamy cause I’m a sucker for some steamy scenes but it was a perfect historical romance. Minerva and Hugh are perfect together and I know the other books in this series will probably be the other sisters but I could read about these two for days! I thought the plot was so well paced, things happened quickly enough that I never felt anything dragging and even the secondary characters were so likeable I looked forward to seeing them on the page. (Olivia, I’m looking at you girl. Diana, you too!) Seriously, if you love cheesy Victorian romance, check this one out. It’s so cute, and such a great story. I loved it so much.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Becca

    I adored this HR romcom. Hugh and Minerva's romance was the perfect mixture of light-heartedness, sincerity, and humor, and I loved it all. Eagerly anticipating the next book in the series! Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I adored this HR romcom. Hugh and Minerva's romance was the perfect mixture of light-heartedness, sincerity, and humor, and I loved it all. Eagerly anticipating the next book in the series! Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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