This is an unusual one to review. It’s a very good story and grabbed my heart strings emotionally especially regarding the stories of the two lots of three kids who had been seemingly abandoned by their respective parents. Interestingly, in both situations there didn’t appear to be any mention of the father of the kids. Ferguson’s perspectives and insights into both families was tremendously well portrayed, especially for a debut author.
Further, Ferguson does a brilliant job with the depth of character she brings regarding her two leads: Cassie Everson and Jett Bentley. It was fascinating reading their struggles of becoming instant parents and Ferguson uses good self-deprecating humour interspersed with lots of sincerity to develop both Cassie and Jett. My admiration for both of them grew throughout the story not simply because of their positive response to the kids being thrust upon them but their maturity and willingness to discover the joys and struggles of a life that had radically changed in an instant.
What I struggled with though was the lack of Cassie and Jett being together. We hear both perspectives via alternate chapters, but the couple don’t really spend much time together at all. And even though it’s easy to understand their unwillingness to share their newfound ‘attachments’ to the other, it got tiresome after a while and was a little inconsistent with the rest of the authentic character development we experience in the rest of the story.
Star, the eldest child of the six, was a standout backup character as was Bree, Cassie’s lifelong friend who knew when to push her friend out of her comfort zones, lovingly counsel her at the exact right moment plus simply be by her side when required. It was a beautiful picture of a lovely deep friendship.
Many of the endorsements make reference to The Dating Charade being categorised as a contemporary rom-com and you’d expect that with such a title, but both the rom and the com almost paled into the background of the relatively serious content of adoption and its ensuing impacts not just on the instant parents but the kids. In my mind it’s more a mix between contemporary fiction and contemporary romance.
I’m so pleased to have read The Dating Charade. Ferguson’s writing for a debut novelist is excellent and her character development plus gentle portrayal of the family unit breakdown and flow-on of adopted kids was very well done.
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