The Five Stages of Courting Dalisay Ramos

Union Square & Co. Jul. 2024. 304p. ISBN 9781454947677. pap. $18.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Two travel writers fall in love when a bet to complete Filipino courtship rituals leads them to challenge each other’s beliefs and traditions in this lighthearted rom-com. Europe travel expert Evan is hoping for a promotion and a chance to visit Asia as senior editor, but when a newcomer from the Philippines, Dalisay, nabs his dream job, he’s more captivated by her than irked. When Dalisay turns him down and rejects American dating and hookup culture, Evan learns about the five stages of courting in the Philippines. With Dalisay betting on his inability to successfully pull off the stages, Evan can’t resist proving her wrong, only to realize they might be the right match for each other. Fun romantic moments highlight the novel’s vivid San Francisco setting: stage one is “teasing of friends” at the Fil-Am community center; stage three is a serenade at the city’s Asian Art Museum, plus a reunion walk on the pier. There are wonderfully encouraging supporting characters, but both Evan’s and Dalisay’s family histories and relationships are authentically complicated.
VERDICT With an entertaining plot and lively characters, de la Cruz (Witches of East End) offers a romance about overcoming cultural differences, proving that true love is worth the effort.
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