Just For Show by Jae

Just For Show

I received a free e-ARC of Just For Show by Jae directly from the publisher in return for review consideration. Just For Show is a contemporary lesbian romance novel, due to be published by Ylva Publishing in the UK on 21st February 2018 on the Ylva webstore (available everywhere from March 7th).

Please note that the book contains scenes of an explicit, sexual nature between consenting adults of the same gender.

Below is my synopsis of the book:

Successful psychologist Claire Renshaw is on the verge of a book deal, something she’s wanted all her life. Then, out of nowhere, her fiancée breaks up with her, and suddenly not only is Claire single, but the book deal is at risk – would potential readers want to take advice from someone who’s not successful in her own relationships? Enter Lana Henderson, a struggling actress who is Claire’s opposite in so many ways

I’m going to start by saying that I absolutely loved this book! I’m a sucker for the ‘fake relationship’ trope, and Jae handles it so well in Just For Show.

Lana and Claire, the main characters, are both appealing and entertaining. Lana, the free-spirited actress, is a perfect foil for tightly-strung Claire, and as the pair get to know one another better, some of their better qualities rub off on each other. I really enjoyed seeing the two characters grow over the course of the story, without either of them losing any of the key aspects of their personalities. I also liked the fact that Lana is not a stick-thin waif with a perfectly flat stomach – she’s described as being full-figured, and generally feeling happy in her body, which I found really refreshing.

Claire’s career as a psychologist also works as a tool to allow Claire to think about her own relationships and start to apply her professional training to her own life, something which she hasn’t really done before. Lana is far more in touch with her own feelings, and along with her skills and experience as an actress, she’s better able to cope with the unexpected incidents that arise as their relationship develops. But she also has a lot of insecurities, and is dealing with the aftermath of a serious accident and few years previously.

The actual fake relationship, the central concept of the story, is dealt with very well. I appreciated that the parameters of the relationship were clearly laid out and agreed to by both Claire and Lana, and that when their relationship officially moved beyond those bounds, they actively made the decision to put the contract aside.

There are some entertaining secondary characters as well. Claire’s parents and sister provide depth to Claire’s character, showing some of how she came to be the person she is, and why, publishing contract aside, she’s so set on presenting a certain persona to the wider world. Lana’s friends, Jill and Crash, are warm and welcoming, and as the story progresses, we learn about the supportive role they played during a difficult period in Lana’s life.

Just For Show is easily a favourite of the lesbian romance novels I’ve read, and I’ve read a lot of them! If you’re looking for a fresh take on an old trope, with great characters and a lot of humour, check out Just For Show.

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