ARC Review: My Fake Canadian Wife by M. Hollis // sapphic fake dating

I was sent this book as an advanced copy by the publisher via NetGalley for reviewing purposes, but all opinions are my own. 

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Summary: When Dora receives a letter from the immigration service in Canada saying she will be deported soon, as her visa is expiring, a friend suggests she marry a woman. Since she doesn’t currently have a girlfriend, faking a relationship might be her only option since she can’t muster the desire to return to school for advanced photograph studies.
Abby is a reserved librarian who seems enthusiastic about helping with the marriage plan. As the two girls get to know each other through dates in snowy Toronto and meeting Abby’s family for Christmas, Dora starts to wonder how much of this relationship they are faking and how much is real.

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★★★✩

M. Hollis’s books continue to be a safe haven for queer women and I’m so grateful for her.

This book is about Dora, a lesbian girl from Brasil living in Canada, who has to find a way to not get deported because of her expired visa. One way would be to get married, and when a friend of a friend, Abby (who is pansexual), seems willing to fake a relationship with her, the two have to spend some time together to have proof of their relationship.

What I always love in M. Hollis books is the relaxed atmosphere, which is always very queer-positive and comforting. The writing always goes straight to the point but I wouldn’t say it’s a case of too much tell and little show. It just does what it’s supposed to do, especially in books that are on the shorter side (this one is around 100 pages).

With that said, one of the reasons I love the fake relationship trope is to get to that moment when both characters are so deep into the act that their own feelings start coming to the surface and they forget for a second that the relationship is fake. This is something I didn’t really feel happened in this book, and I sort of missed it. Everything played out very safely and neatly but I wish I could said that I rooted for the couple more than I did. I know it’s supposed to be short, but for a romance, I felt like it ended at what would’ve been the 40 or 60% mark on a full-length novel with a similar premise.

In any case, I really appreciate the kind of stories this author puts out because they always find a way to make you feel safe and seen in your identities. I definitely recommend this book if you want a soft romance that’s low on angst and with a cozy, winter atmosphere.

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