published: 29th June 2021
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.
Galley provided by publisher
To Sir, With Love contains probably my favourite Lauren Layne couple. I don’t think I could call it my favourite book of hers, quite, but the relationship is definitely up there. It features a trope I love, characters I also grew to love, and basically I just adored it.
The story follows Gracie, whose family wine shop is steadily losing business and money, and who is being pestered to sell out, to Sebastian Andrews, who wants to buy the building that it’s situated in. While this is all happening, Gracie is also talking to a man, known only as Sir, on an anonymous dating app.
(Which, obviously, you can see it coming who that is. I mean. That’s the point.)
Me and this book had a bit of a rough start, I will admit. There’s a fair bit of backstory info-dumping on Gracie’s part, and I had to skim some of it because I felt myself getting bored. But then.
Then they met and I was hooked.
Lauren Layne always does couples who you want to root for. No matter what my feelings about the rest of it all have been, I’ve always wanted the couples to get together and I’ve always enjoyed reading about that build-up. To Sir, With Love was no different in that. Sure, I was a little bored initially, but then they met and nothing else mattered. Boredom? I don’t know her.
One of Lauren Layne’s skills is that, even though you know the couple will get together — it’s a romance novel after all — she still has you on tenterhooks waiting for that moment. And it was so so good here. I could see it coming a mile off in the best way possible.
(And there was no stupid misunderstanding leading to a third-act break-up, which is a win in my book.)
So basically, if you haven’t tried Lauren Layne before, or maybe you haven’t enjoyed some of her recent books, I can promise you’ll love this one.