Review of ‘Just for show’ by Jae,
Audiobook narrated by Angela Dawe.
This is another fantastic book by Jae, a heartwarming romance about a fake relationship between psychologist Claire Renshaw and barista/actress Lana Henderson. Dr. Renshaw is a successful couples therapist with a mild obsessive-compulsive disorder and a big reputation at stake when her fiancée calls the engagement off. As an expert in relationships, a career-changing book deal might fall through if her publisher realises that she’s been dumped. Hiring an actress to play the role of her fiancée seems to be the perfect solution, at least in theory. But when Lana appears in Claire’s life with her untidiness, her diet full of carbs and tendency to put her foot in her mouth, Claire starts second-guessing her decision. Will they be able to fake their relationship? And what if it’s not so pretend after all?
Lately, there’s been a few lesfic books on sham marriage or fake relationships with different degrees of success. ‘Just for show’ is one of the best (if not the best) I’ve read so far. As usual, Jae likes to deviate from the common stereotypes portraying Lana as a plus-size woman proud to show her curves and happy to enjoy food. Jae tackles issues such as anxiety and OCD with tact and the rest with a healthy dose of humour. She exploits the absurd fake relationship situation with great skill.
“I want you to be my girlfriend.” For a moment, all Lana could do was stare at her. Was this some kind of joke? Then the humor of the situation overcame her. “Shouldn’t you at least buy me dinner first?”
The dialogues are witty, the chemistry is off the charts and the secondary characters are spot on. Jae is a master of the ‘show not tell’ in lesfic (no wonder she’s authored a non-fiction book on the issue), the pace is perfect and the growing chemistry is believable. A pleasure to read.
As a bonus, readers can catch up with the lives of Jill and Crash from ‘Just physical’ and Lelah and Hope from ‘Heart trouble’ who make their appearance as secondary characters.
Regarding the audiobook version, Ms. Dawe has excelled in her narration, she can change the tone from funny to melancholic and funny again at the drop of a hat. She got the voices of both leads spot-on (specially Lana’s smoky voice) along with the rest of the cast, which is really impressive and highly entertaining. As a bonus, she got the perfect Scottish lilt for the voice of the radio presenter who interviews Claire. This is another super performance by this narrator who made the story even better if that’s possible.
Overall, a very entertaining, well written, heartwarming lesbian fake relationship audiobook. 5 stars for the story, 5+ stars for the narration. 5 stars.
Not available on Audible Escape but it’s free with the Scribd subscription.