The Engagement Plot by Krista Phillips (review)

theengagementplot_phillips_shilohrunpressI was feeling a little special when I received an email that Barbour Publishing had pre-approved me to read an e-galley of a new book from their Shiloh Run Press imprint.  This lasted until I signed in and found that they had set The Engagement Plot as a “Read Now.”  Not so special when they’ve really just put a book available to all NetGalley reviewers onto your shelf.  Oh, well.

Now, if they hadn’t put this book onto my Netgalley shelf, it is likely I would not have chosen it to read.  I’m not a fan of very many “reality” shows (British Bake-Off and, oddly, the three Border Security shows on Netflix being the primary exceptions) and I have no respect for anything remotely connected to the various shows like The Bachelor (well, except that single season fake fiancee one that made me cringe and laugh all at once).  That said, this ended up being the perfect late-night “I just can’t sleep,” up-until-2am read.  Light, bordering on fluffy, and fun with a small cast of characters.  An easy to follow plot line, with forces working for and against the young couple, contemplations of their faith and a touch of character development.

Now, Hanna and William, the young couple in question, are easy to root for in the relationship department but hard to take seriously.  Especially in William’s role as a big-wig corporate type, it just didn’t ring very true.  This is probably a side effect of the rather shallow, quick treatments given to their backgrounds.  But this is easy to look past if approached as a delightfully frothy romance with a bit of angst over their treatment by the media and corporate intrigue thrown in for variety.  Somehow, the villain of the story comes off as more believably corporate than the hero.  Hmmm.

The characters I most enjoyed were Hanna and William’s parents.  The scene where the fathers meet had me smiling, and I could so easily picture this and the reactions of all the characters that this brief scene stands out as a favorite.

So, for literary value this rates a “meh” but for entertainment value I’d say it is worth picking up.  Though fake engagement is not a new plot device, the author kept it from feeling overdone or cliche.  The writing keeps you tripping along, with a few laughs and a bit of dramatic tension, but nothing to disturb or challenge the reader.  A charming little piece of fiction for those who enjoy a sweet contemporary romance, and a light, quick read.

The Engagement Plot by Krista Phillips | Shiloh Run Press, November 2017 | ebook, 320 pages

This review refers to an e-galley read, courtesy of the publisher, through NetGalley.  All opinions expressed are my own.

From the Publisher:

Can Hanna and Will Find True Love amid the Bright Lights of Reality TV? 
Perfect for the fans of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette!

Six months ago, William stole Hanna’s heart and shattered it in front of millions of people on a reality TV dating show. And now the big-wig CEO is back on Hanna’s home turf in Minnesota and wants her to forgive him? Fat chance of that. But life is swirling around faster than snow in a blizzard, and despite her objections, teaming up with William seems like the only option to rescue her reputation.

William has never regretted anything more than the day he gave that ill-fated interview for the reality show, The Price of Love. But while he can’t change the past, he’s determined to fix the future. He just needs to convince Hanna to forgive him—and pretend to be engaged with him. Simple, right?

When the media erupts with even worse accusations, teaming up and pretending to be engaged seems to be the only way to salvage their reputations.  Despite the media frenzy that swirls around them, an attraction neither of them can fight off begins to surface. Could this love run deeper than a scandal, or will old wounds tear them apart once and for all?  When all seems lost, it’s only with help from above that Hanna and Will may find their happily-ever-after.