Don’t Want You Like a Best Friend by Emma Alban

Don’t Want You Like a Best Friend is a funny, sweet variation on The Parent Trap. The plot is simple but the characters and their activities are uniformly delightful. This was a fun historical f/f romance with serious stakes that kept me wildly entertained until the last page. It’s the first in the Mischief and Matchmaking series.

The plot, as I said, is super simple: Beth, who doesn’t want to get married, has one season in which to snag a wealthy husband lest she and her mother be doomed to a life of poverty. Gwen has plenty of money and never has to get married, but is slogging through her fourth season. When the girls become friends, they discover that their parents had a mysterious connection in the past. Instead of getting married themselves, what if they could make a match between Beth’s poor mother and Gwen’s rich father? Problem solved – except that the parents seem to hate each other, and every scheme of the girls deepens the animosity. Meanwhile, Beth and Gwen find themselves increasingly fascinated by and attracted to one another.

I’m not generally a fan of Parent Trap-type stories, but this one has tons of humor and charm, character building, creativity, and chemistry. It helps that there’s no “separated at birth” stuff going on. Instead there’s a mystery to unravel about what the parents once were to each other, and why there’s so much animosity now.

Being a lesbian in the Victorian era was no joke and so Gwen and Beth have to be creative with their happy ending – and the minute they’ve sorted out their own, they are shipping another queer couple who, I assume, will be in the next book. The romance between shy Beth and slightly more worldly Gwen is tentative and fumbling and adorable, and their growing intimacy is hot in an awkward way that includes a lot of experimentation and giggling.

I am writing this review considerably after reading the book. This comes with pros and cons. The Con is that I can’t remember many details. The pro is that I have not just my first impression of the book, but a sense of what it has left me with. Every time I think of this book, I smile. Dear readers, I regret that I have forgotten so many of the finer points of the book. However, I can promise you that it will leave you smiling.

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