Summary (from the publisher): Daisy Patel is a software engineer who understands lists and logic better than bosses and boyfriends. With her life all planned out, and no interest in love, the one thing she can’t give her family is the marriage they expect. Left with few options, she asks her childhood crush to be her decoy fiance.
Liam Murphy is a venture capitalist with something to prove. When he learns that his inheritance is contingent on being married, he realizes his best friend’s little sister has the perfect solution to his problem. A marriage of convenience will get Daisy’s matchmaking relatives off her back and fulfill the terms of his late grandfather’s will. If only he hadn’t broken her tender teenage heart nine years ago…
Sparks fly when Daisy and Liam go on a series of dates to legitimize their fake relationship. Too late, they realize that very little is convenient about their arrangement. History and chemistry aren’t about to follow the rules of this engagement.
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
Sara Desai’s The Marriage Game was an unexpected contemporary romance favorite of mine in 2020, so I was really excited to get my hands-on the companion novel, The Dating Plan. The Dating Plan follows Layla’s cousin & assistant from book #1, Daisy, a software engineer whose company needs capital to save them from going under & is always receiving pressure from her family to finally great married. At a tech convention, Daisy runs into venture capitalist & the guy who never showed up to prom, Liam, who recently has inherited his late grandfather’s distillery under 1 condition: he has to get married before his birthday that is two months away. Daisy & Liam agree to a marriage of convenience to get their families off their backs and to help each other with their careers, while encountering the feelings they had for each other years ago. I also have to give a mini shout-out to the cover-designer(s) of this series, as The Marriage Game and The Dating Plan have some of the best illustrated covers in the contemporary romance world!
Like so many of the great contemporary romance I’ve read this year, I absolutely tore through The Dating Plan. The book flips between Daisy and Liam’s third person perspectives, and I really enjoyed getting both sides of their story & pasts. There’s something about Sara Desai’s writing style that is so easy to read and is genuinely funny – most of my favorite lines in the book came from Daisy’s Indian & wedding-crazy aunties. Daisy comes from a large Indian American family, while Liam is from a large Irish American family, and I loved diving into both of their culture heritage (and we also know that I of course always love an Irish MC).
I haven’t read too many marriage/engagement-of-convenience stories, so I liked expiring Sara Desai’s take on the trope although I do admit that it didn’t seem 100% perfect? I know fake dating/fake relationships of course never stay secret in most contemporary romances, but I thought it was a little risky that Daisy basically let all of her co-workers know that Liam was her fake-finance (especially since part of the story is Liam helping her save the company) and even Liam’s family is in on it. A big part of the book is Daisy’s mistrust of Liam after he blew her off for prom 10 years ago and while Liam was a part of Daisy’s family, I thought her hatred and bitterness was almost still too intense – I would’ve understood it more if the author had dived more into how it emotionally affected her even today.
Overall, The Dating Plan is a fun, unique, & diverse contemporary romance that is definitely worth the read. I recommend bingeing The Marriage Game and The Dating Plan together to really be immersed in this romance world – it might even be worth waiting for the upcoming third book in the series, The Singles Table!
Have you read The Dating Plan or The Marriage Game? What marriage-of-convenience romances have you read? Favorite contemporary romances lately? Share in the comments!