Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: January 7, 2018
Received From: NetGalley
When Dora receives a letter from the immigration service in Canada saying she will be deported soon, as her visa is expiring, a friend suggests she marry a woman. Since she doesn’t currently have a girlfriend, faking a relationship might be her only option since she can’t muster the desire to return to school for advanced photograph studies.
Abby is a reserved librarian who seems enthusiastic about helping with the marriage plan. As the two girls get to know each other through dates in snowy Toronto and meeting Abby’s family for Christmas, Dora starts to wonder how much of this relationship they are faking and how much is real.
SEXUALITY: lesbian, pansexual
ROMANTIC ORIENTATION: homoromantic, panromantic
TROPES: fake dating/fake married, marriage of convenience, holiday romance, class disparity
TAGS: new adult, contemporary, romance, queer romance, queer characters, Brazilian character, immigrant character, interracial relationship, Black character, POC author, Brazilian author
WARNINGS: car accident mention, deportation, cancer mention
This book was fun and cute, just as promised!
As the blurb indicates, the main character, Dora, receives a letter at the start of the novella saying that she’ll be deported if she doesn’t find a way to get a visa or citizenship before the time frame is up. Reluctantly, she agrees to a fake fiancee scheme and begins “dating” another woman she knows. Thus begins the adventure of the story. It’s full of the kind of awkwardness you’d expect of a relationship built on the kind of pressure that comes with a marriage of convenience, but there’s also moments of pure sweetness, during which you can’t help but hope things actually do work out for the two women. I really liked seeing the two of them getting to know each other while Dora also worried about what she could do so as not to be deported. There’s a lot of stress on her shoulders, and she generally holds it together really well and doesn’t freak out all that much.
***** MILD SPOILERS *****
And I really liked the way the “getting married for a green card” plot turned out. Because it doesn’t actually happen. Dora realizes that it’s really not fair or in either of their best interests, and explores another avenue that could help her with getting a visa. In doing so, it allows the two of them to ultimately get back together at the end and try for a real relationship, instead of forcing them into a marriage with someone they barely know.
***** END SPOILERS *****
Unfortunately, though, I do think the story suffered a bit due to the short nature of a novella. The friendship between the two never really lost any of the awkwardness from the beginning. This is perhaps because of the circumstances surrounding their connection, but we don’t even really get to see much of it. Other than a few scenes, we don’t get to see the two of them together much–a lot of it is just from Dora’s recollections of their time spent. So I would’ve liked a longer format so that we could read more about them as friends (and a couple), and to really get to know Abby better, since there’s very little due to the fact that the book is all from Dora’s point of view.
M. Hollis is a Brazilian writer working on stories about women who love other women while also running Bibliosapphic, a blog dedicated to sapphic literature. In her free time, you will always find her baking, reading fanfiction and binge-watching too many TV shows. Currently, she is living her best gay life in Canada and writing more than she sleeps.