ROMANCE

Canadian Boyfriend

Forever: Grand Central Jan. 2024. 384p. ISBN 9781538724927. pap. $16.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
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As a teen, Aurora’s life was dictated by ballet classes and performances (and her overbearing mother). Her only escape was as a mall barista, and that’s where she met the template for the perfect fake boyfriend. Based on a slightly older Canadian teen in town for a hockey match, Aurora’s fake boyfriend was her way to avoid awkward social situations. Years later, Aurora has left ballet and now teaches children’s dance classes. It’s at the dance studio that her fake Canadian boyfriend resurfaces—as the father of a student. As it happens, the real Mike, a widower nearing the end of his professional hockey career, is even better than the one she made up. Aurora’s years of ballet left her with panic attacks and an eating disorder, which she mostly manages with the help of a therapist. Mike and his daughter, also in therapy, are in different stages of grief. These situations are depicted realistically and sensitively.
VERDICT Holiday’s (So This Is Christmas) heartwarming, engaging, slow-burn romance is character-driven, and the witty banter and outrageous situations keep the tone upbeat even as characters face challenging situations.
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