A review by now_booking
Accidentally Engaged by Farah Heron

emotional funny hopeful informative inspiring lighthearted reflective relaxing medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


This was an easy 5 stars for me! Within the first 10 minutes of picking this up, I already knew this was going to be fabulous- my first impressions of this being breezily relatable, relevant and absolutely delicious were spot on. It has all the ingredients I like- an introspective slightly neurotic heroine, complex family dynamics, female friendships, an instantly emotionally-available hero, and the most delectable breads (my favourite) and food. This book is absolute rom-com gold to me.

The premise of this book is that Reena is an aspiring baker and all round cooking/bread making savant stuck in a financial job she doesn’t really care about and trying to keep her head above water when it comes to her meddling family. When said meddling family hooks her up with recently arrived to Canada, Nadim, she instantly rejects him  so as not to reward their meddling even though she’s super attracted to him. When the worst of days leads to Reena and Nadim inadvertently entering entering a tv cooking competition for families, the two find themselves accidentally engaged.

Everything about this book is absolutely adorable. Indeed now I’m gagging to read this author’s debut, The Chai Factor, which I believe stars Reena’s best friend in this book, Amira. I need more of this author’s engaging, eminently-readable humour and wit, as well as her understanding of family and people and society. But have no fear, you CAN start with this book. It is completely standalone and makes absolute sense even if you haven’t read Amira’s book- I’m a stickler for reading in order and though the vague references to Amira’s story intrigued me, I was never lost in the story. 

What’s great about this is that it follows traditional rom-com plotting in terms of the way the story is told, but the FOOD!!!! The culture!!!! The family!!! All of that adds colour and life and vibrancy to what is a standard rom-com plot trajectory. There’s as much intrigue and tension in this as there is emotion and vulnerability. There’s humour and there’s brokenness. There’s relationships being healed and truths being told, but also the recognition that some relationships are beyond healing. I love the amount of growth in both protagonists as characters. The amount of learning to go beyond past toxic acceptance of situations and relationships with themselves and others that no longer serve them. I adored the complexity of the family dynamics from Reena’s fraught relationship with her parents, and with her sister Saira. Nadim was an absolute delight- imperfect but adorable and likable with his kinks and closed off openness. He was a perfect match to Reena who was more reserved and self-protective. 

Heat-wise, this felt immensely spicy even though it’s more a closed door romance or at least, one with the door ajar. It’s not explicit but there’s so much chemistry and banter foreplay and food foreplay that it feels hotter than it probably is in truth. The characters in this are Ismaili (Muslim) but it’s not a book in which religion is a significant theme. To me, and social norms are more significant in this novel than religion is, but I’d love to read some own voices reviews about how this read to people who share a cultural background with the characters. Personally, I felt like I got new insights into East African Indian food and diaspora culture and it was a joy to experience. I HIGHLY recommend this to any fans of food-based romances or rom-coms. This book is gentle but also dramatic and a perfect read if you’re looking to be consumed by your next read. 

I got a complimentary copy of this book from Forever (Grand Central Publishing) in exchange for an honest review.

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