Sunday, June 27, 2021

Review: To Sir, with Love by Lauren Layne

To Sir, with Love by Lauren Layne
Publisher: Gallery Books
Genre: Contemporary Romance 
To Sir with Love cover
ISBN: 9781982152819
Release Date: June 29, 2021
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Audible

Perpetually cheerful and eager to please, Gracie Cooper strives to make the best out of every situation. So when her father dies just months after a lung cancer diagnosis, she sets aside her dreams of pursuing her passion for art to take over his Midtown Manhattan champagne shop. She soon finds out that the store’s profit margins are being squeezed perilously tight, and complicating matters further, a giant corporation headed by the impossibly handsome, but irritatingly arrogant Sebastian Andrews is proposing a buyout. But Gracie can’t bear the thought of throwing away her father’s dream like she did her own.

Overwhelmed and not wanting to admit to her friends or family that she’s having second thoughts about the shop, Gracie seeks advice and solace from someone she’s never met—the faceless “Sir”, with whom she connected on a blind dating app where matches get to know each other through messages and common interests before exchanging real names or photos.

But although Gracie finds herself slowly falling for Sir online, she has no idea she’s already met him in real life…and they can’t stand each other.

To Sir, with Love is as bubbly as a glass of good champagne. It’s a sprightly romance inspired by Parfumerie, The Shop Around the Corner, and You’ve Got Mail and I adored it so much that I read the book in one sitting.

Gracie is a New York Cinderella who put aside her dreams of becoming an artist to run her family’s Manhattan champagne shop after the death of her father. I adored Gracie’s sunny nature and found her tendency to use her dreams as a shield for rejection relatable. Gracie believes in true love and Prince Charming but she just hasn’t found it yet. The closest thing she has to that is the mysterious “Sir” who she met on a blind dating app. They’ve never met, don’t know each other’s names or what they look like, but there’s a connection there that makes her smile and dream. The exact opposite reaction she has to Sebastian Andrews, the man who is trying to buy out her business and turn it into some high rise. Sebastian is gorgeous but he’s also the enemy. And what Gracie doesn’t know is that he’s also Sir.

Gracie is instantly charming and endearing. She’s got a kind heart but she does mess up with Sebastian because she’s not perfect (and what kind of story would it be if she were?). Sebastian is a Mr. Darcy type. He seems aloof and it’s easy for people to have misconceptions about him but underneath the suit is a loving, funny man with a good heart that can be bruised. I loved watching Gracie fall for him and it’s clear he’s equally taken with her. The elephant in the room is, of course, him wanting to buy out the lease for Bubbles & More while she is trying to keep her father’s dream alive even as the market changes and makes that dream unsustainable. Gracie doesn’t need to give up her fairytales but she does need to live in reality a bit more and to also take a chance and go for what she wants instead of wondering what might have been. Her personal journey was every bit as satisfying as the romance.

In To Sir, with Love Lauren Layne delivers sparkling banter and fun characters who grab your heart and don’t let go. The romance between Gracie and Sebastian made me smile and sigh the way a top-tier romantic comedy would. Their chemistry is excellent both when they meet in person and when they write to each other as Sir and Lady. There is such warmth and kindness to this book that it’s like a big hug. The supporting cast is well-defined and I want books for them all because they’re every bit as likeable as Gracie and Sebastian. All in all I absolutely adored To Sir, with Love; it’s the perfect pick-me-up book.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.