To Sir With Love by Lauren Layne
ABOUT THE BOOK
Perpetually cheerful and eager to please, Gracie Cooper strives to make the best out of every situation. So when her father dies just months after a lung cancer diagnosis, she sets aside her dreams of pursuing her passion for art to take over his Midtown Manhattan champagne shop. She soon finds out that the store’s profit margins are being squeezed perilously tight, and complicating matters further, a giant corporation headed by the impossibly handsome, but irritatingly arrogant Sebastian Andrews is proposing a buyout. But Gracie can’t bear the thought of throwing away her father’s dream like she did her own.
Overwhelmed and not wanting to admit to her friends or family that she’s having second thoughts about the shop, Gracie seeks advice and solace from someone she’s never met—the faceless “Sir”, with whom she connected on a blind dating app where matches get to know each other through messages and common interests before exchanging real names or photos.
But although Gracie finds herself slowly falling for Sir online, she has no idea she’s already met him in real life…and they can’t stand each other.
What a lovely modern fairy tale with a Cinderella, a Prince Charming, a villain, and a fairy godmother. I couldn’t put it down because of the enchanting characters and the beautiful plot set in New York City.
Gracie Cooper has a secret. A pen pal named Sir. A man she has never met. A man she fantasizes about as her Prince Charming. At the same time, she is trying to keep her father’s dream champagne shop in the black, but with the handsome and formidable Sebastian Andrews breathing down her neck to sell it, her life is about to change. In other words, her personal and professional life is not ideal. She has to make some serious decisions. Will she ever have her happily-ever-after ending?
I love the idea of a dating app name MysteryMate where there are only screen names and avatars and the app matches you with a potential mate. Gracie meets SirNYC on the app and they become friends who have a lot in common and who feel comfortable revealing their dreams and fears, but not their faces. It sounds like an interesting way to get to know someone’s inner self without the physical attraction first. As for Gracie and Sebastian’s relationship, it starts with an immediate physical attraction, then enemies when Gracie finds out he wants her shop, then unlikely friends with secrets. Needless to say, Gracie is torn between two men she has feelings for and she is forced to make a choice. As the secrets are revealed, the fairy tale builds to a beautiful grand gesture, a HEA ending, and a rewarding epilogue.
In addition, I would so love to visit Gracie’s champagne shop and I would be delighted to see Gracie’s paintings. They sound fantastic. Kudos to Sebastian for hooking her up with an art gallery. One of many charming acts he does for the adorable and selfless Gracie.
The supporting characters are great additions including Gracie’s disheartened sister Lily and her kind brother-in-law Alec who have a backstory of their own as they unsuccessfully try to have a family while it negatively affects their own relationship. Gracie’s brother, Caleb, lives in New Hampshire, but they stay in contact. May, Gracie’s flamboyant employee, and stepmother who gives wonderful advice and support. Keva, Gracie’s neighbor and feisty friend who is an assistant chef for a catering company, and who made me laugh many times.
Overall, I recommend this enjoyable romantic fairytale comedy with complex and relatable characters, a realistic plot with depth, and a well-developed world.
Thank you to Ms. Layne and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to review this book with no expectation of a positive review.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I often get asked if I always wanted to be a writer. Yes, absolutely. My parents introduced me to books early, and somewhere between The Castle in the Attic and binge-reading The Boxcar Children, I decided that creating stories had to be the best career in the world.
And then I hit puberty, and I began reading a bit differently. I read Nancy Drew for the Ned Nickerson references. I read The Babysitter’s Club mainly for Mary Anne & Logan, and for me, Sweet Valley Twins (and later SVH) was all about Todd & Liz.
By the time I got around to plucking a Nora Roberts book (The Reef) out of my mom’s Costco haul in high school, I knew: I didn’t just want to write any old novels. I wanted to write romantic books.
I took a meandering path to get there. I majored in Political Science. I was a receptionist at a corporate real estate company. I became an e-commerce manager for T-Mobile. When I was 27, I got sick of being the woman who talked about writing a book but never finished one.
So, I wrote a book. And then another. and 40+ books later, writing is my day job, and I’d like to think my eight-year-old self would be pleased.