A MOST ANTICIPATED ROM-COM SELECTED BY * BUZZFEED * LGBTQ READS * BUSTLE * THE NERD DAILY * ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT * FROLIC MEDIA * AND MORE!
“The Charm Offensive will sweep you off your feet.” —PopSugar
In this witty and heartwarming romantic comedy—reminiscent of Red, White & Royal Blue and One to Watch—an awkward tech wunderkind on a reality dating show goes off-script when sparks fly with his producer.
Dev Deshpande has always believed in fairy tales. So it’s no wonder then that he’s spent his career crafting them on the long-running reality dating show Ever After. As the most successful producer in the franchise’s history, Dev always scripts the perfect love story for his contestants, even as his own love life crashes and burns. But then the show casts disgraced tech wunderkind Charlie Winshaw as its star.
Charlie is far from the romantic Prince Charming Ever After expects. He doesn’t believe in true love, and only agreed to the show as a last-ditch effort to rehabilitate his image. In front of the cameras, he’s a stiff, anxious mess with no idea how to date twenty women on national television. Behind the scenes, he’s cold, awkward, and emotionally closed-off.
As Dev fights to get Charlie to connect with the contestants on a whirlwind, worldwide tour, they begin to open up to each other, and Charlie realizes he has better chemistry with Dev than with any of his female co-stars. But even reality TV has a script, and in order to find to happily ever after, they’ll have to reconsider whose love story gets told.
Cochrun probes the realities behind a fairy tale romance in her warmhearted if flawed debut. After awkward tech millionaire Charles Winshaw is ousted from his Silicon Valley company, he makes the improbable decision to rehabilitate his image by becoming the next star of Ever After, a Bachelor-style reality show. He's not expecting to find real love with any of the women competing for his proposal, but he does discover a genuine connection with handsome producer Dev Deshpande, a hopeless romantic tasked with making Charlie seem more personable on camera. Their relationship deepens in secret as Dev coaches Charlie through filming, but their obligations to the show threaten their happy ending. Cochrun beautifully captures how inexperienced Charlie comes to recognize his feelings for Dev and takes great pains to portray her diverse cast of LGBTQ characters sensitively. She's also scrupulous in portraying both Charlie's and Dev's struggles with mental health, though Charlie's panic attacks during difficult social interactions or unexpected physical contact make the premise that he would choose to participate in a dating show even more dubious. And in order to achieve a twist ending, Cochrun arranges the denouement in a way that strains credulity. Nonetheless, readers seeking romance that prioritizes inclusive explorations of sexual identity and mental illness will treasure this.)\n