Review: Accidentally Married by Victorine E. Lieske
Author: VICTORINE E. LIESKE
Genre: Romance/Women's Fiction
You'll like it if you liked: any romcom movies like Leap Year, The Proposal
Madison Nichols, aspiring actress, is floundering. Her rent is due and she needs a job. Desperately. After getting a tip about an open position, she rushes to Jameson Technologies and meets CEO Jared Jameson. Unfortunately, due to a misunderstanding, she is put in the awkward position of pretending to be his girlfriend. Not the job she was applying for. And when she finds out Jared lied to her to get what he wanted, she decides to get back at him. In front of his family.
Jared is stunned when Madison announces they are getting married. She pushed her revenge too far. How can he tell them it's all a lie? And when his sick aunt asks them to be married before she dies, Madison comes up with a hair-brained plan to hire an actor and stage a fake wedding.
What they both don't know is Jared's father has found out about the fake wedding. And he's got his own hair-brained plan...
ACCIDENTALLY MARRIED follows all the standard romantic tropes that work very well in Hollywood: boy meets girl under unusual circumstances and despite their early dislike for one another, their growing attraction (coupled with an interfering but well meaning family) brings them together in time for the happily ever after. I went into this book expecting this and this was exactly what I got.
Madison is the down on her luck but plucky heroine who, despite the fact she's desperate for a job, decides to have fun with her prospective employer and tease him mercilessly in front of his wealthy family. Jared is uptight and focused - a young CEO who has a whole world of family issues, from his inability to connect with his father's new wife and his heartbreak over the loss of his mother when he was a child. After a joke gets way out of hand, Madison and Jared face the prospect of being married to an utter stranger - at least until they can quietly annul the marriage and pretend it didn't work out. Their relationship is sweet, if not a little quick, but that fits in with the themes of marriage, true love and 'when it's right, it's right'. Madison is the sweet to Jared's sour and they balance one another out in the way that romantic couples should. Madison helps Jared to reconnect with his family and Jared brings stability and love to Madison's. I thought some of their scenes were passionate, but they kind of sizzled out very quickly and weren't always that believable. Having said that, I was rooting for them to get together and thought their conclusion was satisfying.
As a supporting cast, the Jameson family don't break any molds. They make Madison feel welcomed and give her the familial love that she didn't have as a child, which serves as a foil to her growing guilt about her deception, but they don't stand out in any way. I liked that Maxwell actually loved Irene, contrary to Jared's belief that she would be replaced by another, prettier model in a year or so. Patricia was sweet, but her fiance was almost invisible - even though he was part of the double wedding! I can't even remember his name, let alone whether he had anything to say in the book. Shelley, Jared's aunt and surrogate maternal figure, is the catalyst for the impromptu double wedding but she spends much of the story in the hospital, without much involvement (other than the moments where Jared used Shelley as an excuse to keep Madison from telling the truth...) I would have liked to see her more but the focus was very much on Jared and Madison's burgeoning feelings for one another. Having said all that, the family weren't unbearable and their love and concern for Jared and Madison was good; I just couldn't connect with any of them very deeply.
My least favourite character was Veronica, Jared's ex. Of all the cliches in this story, she was the biggest. A gold digger as well as a conniving cowbag, she finds out about Jared's faux wedding and attempts to blackmail him into getting back together with her. When that fails, she finds Madison's long lost party girl mother and uses her to disrupt the wedding. She provides the drama but it barely ripples the water; all the conflict she provides is resolved easily. The novel could have easily worked without her input at all, or she could have been made more of a thorn in their side.
The plot moved quickly and when you consider the two main characters go from perfect strangers to engaged in the space of a chapter, I guess the bottleneck speed of this story makes sense. I would have liked a little more pacing because the speed of it felt really unrealistic, but it was still a fun read - especially the jokes about Irene's cooking and Madison's antics.
I have a theory that there are movies and books in this world that we read or watch simply for the sake of it. We gain nothing from doing so, but we lose nothing either. There isn't anything wrong with that at all; sometimes what you need isn't a provoking, heart wrenching story about the deeper meaning in life. Sometimes you just need to switch off and follow these characters for as long as the story goes and walk away again. ACCIDENTALLY MARRIED was one of those stories for me. Did it make me smile? Yes. Did I want them to have their happy ending? Of course. Did it stay with me after I'd finished? Not for long. Overall, I liked this story and enjoyed the journey despite the flaws; it's a fun frolic and it doesn't hurt anyone.