Review: “Nearly Wed” by Katie Frey

Series: Chicago Lights, #1

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐💫

Steam: 🔥🔥

Release Date: May 1st, 2021

Add to Goodreads | Amazon.in (Available on KU)

Ellie Sharpe is the good twin. Responsible, dependable, she’s a survivor. Jill, her flighty identical sister, is her opposite in all but appearance. But when media darling Luke Hamilton enters their family diner, Ellie seizes the opportunity and invites Jill, staging a meet-cute. Always put your best foot forward, right?

Marrying into the Hamilton family would solve their financial worries, but Ellie can’t help but feel jealous at the ensuing proposal. But when Jill falls in love with someone else, a last minute opportunity presents: Take her place at the altar with a twin-switch for the ages.

For Luke it’s simple: prove he’s not the untrustworthy playboy the media portrays, and cement his newest business initiative as a married man. For Jill, being arm candy is quid pro quo, a part she’d gladly play for the financial security to settle her family’s medical debts. But Ellie? Can she marry with the same calculated ease as her identical counterpart? Will Luke notice the difference between them or is the whirlwind courtship fast enough to blur most of the details? And what happens when Jill comes back? Will a twin by any other name taste as sweet?

 

Katie Frey’s debut will captivate you right from the start. While you don’t need to read Nearly Late, the novella that introduces these characters, it’s definitely a good thing to get familiarized with them early on. These two stories follow strong women who’ve had cancer, fought the battle and won to come out on the other side and the love they find in the least expected places.

Nearly Late (not available on KU) follows Jenny as she is wrangled into attending her 10 year high school reunion, and the struggles she goes through with deciding whether or not it’s a good idea. And in the process, Jenny finds herself on a blind date with the boy she once loved, who is now a grown man with so much more to offer. Jenny spent most of her life dealing with cancer treatments and pushing through to live her best life, but not really getting there. And now, after she’s finally beat through all of the treatments and she’s on her feet, she gets another shot to be with the man of her dreams. While a short novella, Jenny and Noah’s relationship is so nicely explored and experienced and I really enjoyed the way Katie set up the first full length book in the series too.

“She was a contradiction. Wholesome, but sinful, demanding, yet demure. Beautiful, but these days, unaware of it.”

Ellie Sharp is our main protagonist in Nearly Wed and if you’ve read the novella, then you’ve met her already. She’s a quiet waitress at a diner and she’s soft spoken and a little awkward. Her identical twin sister Jill, on the other hand, is the complete opposite. So when Jill meets, seduces and decides to marry Luke Hamilton, the man that Ellie has been silently crushing on for a while, things get a little complicated. But Ellie doesn’t say anything, not till Jill announces that she’s in love with someone else and insists that Ellie take her place in this marriage of convenience. When an accident occurs soon after they’ve been announced man and wife, Ellie decides to fake amnesia in order to keep herself protected from all the questions and awkwardness that comes with pretending to be her vivacious twin sister. 

This marriage of convenience, twin sister, amnesia, twin sister swap, forced proximity romance is also a lot of fun! With Ellie faking the amnesia and pretending to be her twin sister, Luke is finding himself slowly falling in love with the wrong woman. Sure, he doesn’t recognise the swap at first, but once he gets there, he can’t help himself. On some level, he’s also been drawn to Ellie every time he visited the diner. But he understands that the marriage is not one of love, but with a purpose and he’s not going to break the promise no matter what. 

“I’ve thought you were beautiful, an angel, from the moment I saw you in that diner. But I had no idea.”

I loved Ellie and Luke’s relationship, watching them fall in love and go through the motions was great. I really did enjoy how things slowly evolved for them, because it’s clear that the two of them have had feelings for each other, but here’s a very convenient way to make the most of it. While I enjoyed their relationship, it took me some time to warm up to the characters themselves. I understood Ellie’s personality being softer and quieter in comparison to Jill’s, but I also felt like she was too docile in the relationship. Her sister was basically taking advantage of her the whole time and Ellie didn’t fight back till the end. It did fit with her personality, but I wanted more of a fight from Ellie, more of a bite and a little bit of a struggle to really come to terms with the position she was put into without her knowledge.

Yes, there’s a happy ending, but there’s also a little bit of struggle and pain. Brace yourself for some emotional drama too!

Congratulations, Katie! The Chicago Lights series has kicked off in a fantastic way and I am looking forward to so much more .

Thanks to Katie Frey for generously providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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