Review: “Love at First Fight” by Mary Jayne Baker

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐✨

Steam: 🔥🔥

Release Date: August 5th, 2021

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Based on Much Ado About Nothing, this is a hilarious and uplifting romantic comedy perfect for fans of 10 Things I Hate About You and The Hating Game.

Love cynic Bridie Morgan is staging a last hurrah to the ‘dating’ stage of her life: she’s going on twenty dates in twenty days. If this ‘love’ thing really is a numbers game, then surely she’ll find The One. And if not? Well, at least the memory of her date with the Spice Girls’ biggest fan will be enough to put her off for life. She’ll never again wonder what she was missing.

But being love’s biggest sceptic is a challenge in the face of best friend Hattie’s upcoming nuptials. And as maid of honour, she really has to give it a chance.

Then Bridie’s lifelong nemesis Ben Kemp returns home to join the wedding party. Ben, who left her waiting outside their leavers’ prom in a brand-new dress, alone. Ben, who triggered the sorry state of affairs that has been Bridie’s love life ever since. Ben, the best man to her maid of honour.

As old enemies reunite, sparks fly – in ways Bridie could never have seen coming…

 

Not too long ago, I read and loved Meet Me At the Lighthouse by Mary Jayne Baker, so I was really excited to find another one of her books available for request on NetGalley. And from the blurb, it sounded like it was going to be an absolute riot with enemies to lovers and childhood lovers reuniting. And it was fun, for a while. I absolutely loved Bridie and Ben, because their relationship was so much fun!

Bridie and Ben’s history goes all the way back to school and the time he stood her up at a school dance. Bridie was in love with Ben and maybe he felt the same way too, which only made the falling apart of their friendship so much worse for Bridie. Fast forward to present-day, Bridie’s on a mission to prove that she doesn’t need a man and goes on 20 dates in 20 days. They all end up complete duds, further proving her point. Till Ben returns to town and sends her whole life into a tailspin. Between their friends – her best friend is married to Ben’s brother – coming together to plot a reunion between Ben and Bridie, the shenanigans are all kinds of entertaining. I loved how everything worked out just the way they wanted it to, with all the overhearing and the hint dropping and the storytelling. But as is the case with all things that are plotted and played out, the truth comes out and hurts everyone. 

I was rooting for Bridie and Ben the whole time, even before we got to meet Ben. Because they’re perfect together! Their personalities are so entertaining and perfectly matched, they make their relationship work so well. It always helps when the characters have great chemistry and lots of history to support their relationship.

My biggest issue with this book was that it wasn’t about Ben and Bridie at all. Sure, the first half of the book is to bring them together, but then suddenly we’re diving into another couple’s life and their relationship drama. I think we could have had all of Hattie and Cal’s drama without having their POV on the same. It completely took away from Bridie and Ben, who were supposed to be the protagonists of the story. Initially when we got chapters from Hattie and Cal’s point of view, I figured it was just about the plot to get the two leads together, but it became so much more and that was weird. 

It also felt like Hattie and Cal’s issues were the main conflict of the story, which really upsets what Bridie and Ben have going on.

As always, I love the way Mary Jayne Baker writes stories and I absolutely adore her characters. They’re quirky, witty, hilarious and smart and she writes some really great banter. This one didn’t hit the spot, but it’s not my last time reading her books either!

Thanks to NetGalley, Aria & Aries and Mary Jayne Baker for an advance copy. I am voluntarily leaving an honest review.

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