The Catch

Berkley. (The Influencer Series, Bk. 3). Feb. 2024. 416p. ISBN 9780593336618. pap. $18. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Melanie Karlsen, an avowed city girl in Boston, maintains a curated lifestyle as a fashion and beauty influencer but needs to revitalize her brand. When she’s offered a sponsored trip to Nova Scotia she jumps at the chance—only to end up desperately seeking an Airbnb in a rural fishing town when a scheduling mishap occurs. Evan Whaler’s run-down family inn is her only option, and he’s a surly fisherman who seems to find Melanie’s very presence offensive. When whale-watching with a stubborn Melanie lands Evan in the hospital, the two fake an engagement to reconcile Evan’s feuding family. Snarky bickering between the main characters makes for enjoyable dialogue, and the romantic development is wonderful despite Melanie and Evan’s opposing personalities and different backgrounds. Melanie’s familial struggles (she’s a transracial adoptee who is also her brother’s keeper) are well-depicted and complement the charm of Evan’s caring family and his town. Fans of the series’ first two books (Set on You and Exes and O’s) will appreciate seeing previous heroines thriving while maintaining supportive friendships with Melanie.
VERDICT Lea’s final “Influencer” novel is a fabulous rom-com brimming with magnetic chemistry and delightful tropes.
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