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August 4, 2020

The Love Scam by MaryJanice Davidson ~ a Review

by MK French

Agh. Pain. And thirst. Painful thirst. Thirsty pain. Where? Was? Ow.
Rake Tarbell sloooowly rolled over and stared at a ceiling (His ceiling? No.) His eyes were so gritty and the room so quiet, he could hear his eyelids sticking and unsticking as he blinked. And sometime in the last few hours, he's eaten...a dead bird? And washed it down with another dead bird? One that had drowned in vermouth? (p 1)
Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

The Love Scam
August 2020; Griffin; 978-1250053169
audio, ebook, print (320 pages); romance
Rake Tarbell woke up in Venice, Italy with no wallet or phone, and apparently no way to get hold of the fortune he normally has access to. That leaves him with Claire Delaney, the woman acting as a private investigator who has a young girl in tow that might be his daughter. He has to help Claire with her endeavors to earn enough money to get a phone, and somewhere along the way Claire and Lillith both grow on him. That’s good for all three because there are men following them in Venice, and too many secrets to determine who those men work for.

Love romance novel tropes? Then you’re in luck. This novel hits SO MANY of them, there’s even a list of them at the end with notations if the trope was inverted. Normally I don’t like parenthetical storytelling (where thoughts are inserted partway through like this) but it works in this case. The story is told from Rake’s point of view, and frequently he interrupts his own thoughts and statements. He is charming in spite of himself, really, which draws in others. Rake, even with such a suggestive name like that, isn’t one to emotionally compromise others. He’s had his fair share of flings as a handsome rich man fluent in multiple languages that went to different countries around the world, but it was understood by both parties. Claire has her history in the foster care system which means she immediately distrusts his charm and thinks less of him for it. Rake does have a genuine desire to help others at times, even when he can’t actually do anything useful about it, which sets their emotional connection rolling from the start.

Lillith is a cute and intelligent child and is a great counterpoint to Rake’s wild mood and behavior changes. I really liked her as well as Claire. Rake is our central character, and I found him as annoying and charming as Claire did from the start. As smart as Rake can be, he often prefers to play dumb in order to be liked by random strangers and avoid responsibility. He’s diametrically opposite to Claire, who almost takes on too much responsibility behind the scenes. The story behind her past is gradually revealed, as is Lillith’s parentage and the secrets her mother was keeping. If anything, it’s sad what happened to her mother and to all the young women of their group. That drives them to try to do better for others, which is always a worthy goal.

As a book that thrives on tropes, yes, it can get a little predictable at points. That doesn’t make this terrible, it’s more that it’s a fun and comfortable type of story so that when the suspense kicks up at the end, we’re more invested in the characters and care about what happens to them.

 Buy The Love Scam at Amazon

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and a golden retriever.

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  1. Interesting excerpt! Thanks for sharing, and enjoy. Here's mine: “HIS & HERS”

  2. I haven't read this author in awhile. This book souds really good. I have to add it to my wishlist.

  3. just because a book is predictable doesn't mean it can't be good. your great review proves the point

    sherry @ fundinmental

  4. I've never heard of this author. I like what you shared.