Marriage gets less convenient when love is involved.
It started simple: Ondrej Kovac marries Archie Katsaros so Ondrej can stay in the US, away from his judgmental family in eastern Europe. Archie marries Ondrej in exchange for the money to bail out his failing company. It’s a fraud neither man is convinced he can pull off.
But as Archie introduces Ondrej to New York society and Ondrej proves his skill in the office, they start to discover a connection between them. Can they overcome the rocky foundation their relationship was built on, meddling immigration agents, gossip columnists determined to out their deception, and an aggressive executive set on selling Archie’s company out from under him? Only if they can prove to each other their love is worth fighting for.
(Book reviewed here previously)
Ondrej (pronounced Andre) has inherited some money from his grandfather and has a desire to leave his oppressive Czech home to explore New York. He gets an internship with Archie’s company and enjoys his work there. When his internship ends and he fails to get another job to extend his visa, he and Archie work out an agreement wherein he gets a green card and Archie’s company gets a cash influx.
Now the two, who were never even interested in one another before, are forced into a relationship that has them in the public eye.
This story, with it’s forced marriage trope, should have been one of my favorites. I love the idea of “arranged marriages or marriages of convenience” but this just didn’t work for me as much as I’d like it to. It’s not easy for me to put my finger on my issues with the story, but the one thing I can think to say is it lacked a “passionate” feel. It wasn’t a bad story – not at all – it just wasn’t anything that made me feel super compelled to keep reading.
First, I never quite felt the chemistry between Ondrej and Archie. It was a bit too dry. Almost, “since we’re here we might as well have sex” instead of “now I have an excuse to hump you like crazy!”. Even when they are having their “sex marathon” I didn’t feel their passion.
Second, I didn’t like Ondrej’s character much. He was a bit too laid back for me. I didn’t see him as passionate about anything in particular.
Finally, there wasn’t much passion in the rest of the story. The angst was tepid at best and didn’t do much to keep my interest. Yes, they were worried about the company and proving their marriage was “real” but – for whatever reason – I didn’t feel any real urgency about these issues.
The epilogue was super sweet and did manage to bring up my estimation a bit, but I wish that level of passion had been kept throughout the story.
The writing was technically good and I didn’t find editing errors, but I wasn’t that compelled by this couple. It might just be a matter of taste or timing, and if you like the trope you might have a different feel, so I urge you to read other reviews and see if it appeals to others in a way that didn’t work for me.
Rusty Topsfield narrates this and he attempts to give all the many different characters a unique and authentic voice. His accent for Ondrej doesn’t sound Czech to me (but I’m no expert) and it tends to come and go throughout the story. I did like Archie’s voice, solid, natural, and warm. Sometimes the other characters sound a bit more like caricatures (cartoonish) than authentic people (like big booming Banker-man voice and OTT Socialite voice) but it does keep the book entertaining. His non-dialog reading still tends to end on an upswing, like a lilt, that bothers me at times, but after awhile I was able to ignore it.
I think this is a good way to listen to this story but I don’t think it adds much to the overall experience.
3 of 5 stars for both book and narration
Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review