As an avid reader, it is always my agenda to check up-and-coming books, know about novels that other readers are buzzing about online, and add new titles to my never-ending TBR list. This is how I knew about Elena Armas’ The Spanish Love Deception. I think I saw a bookstagrammer post about it a few weeks ago. Just a simple photo with a brief caption about a newly-released romantic fiction, which I quickly noted because duh, romance! I always, always pay extra attention to romance novels.
So, I began reading and quickly was captivated by the story of Catalina Martin and Aaron Blackford. At some point, I am convinced the author is a legit romance fanatic. There’s the usual romance tropes: enemies to lovers plot, workplace romance, a fake relationship, plus an unrequited, secret love… It’s the perfect recipe for a rich and definitely interesting storyline.
Not only is the plot bursting with details and crucial twists, I am surprised by the depth portrayed in each of the elements holding the story together. At the very first chapter, readers are immediately plunged into Lina’s life in New York–one that is full of competitive workplace energy shared with Aaron. The two are ridiculously stubborn with their exchanges to the point of exhaustion. The conversations so antagonistic it was driving me insane. There was a chapter where I was already developing minor headache visualizing Lina’s constant defiance every single time she comes across Aaron. It was infuriating!
Well, you know what they say about being angry all the time? It takes a toll on you. Lina’s consistent negative reaction to Aaron took its toll on me, but this was also the very reason why the story worked. When hate, hurt, and anger slowly–and I mean, deliciously slow–turned into something more complex, confusing, and terrifying, it gave a sense of genuine transformation. The change was not instant, unlike in other romantic novels, and the realization of having feelings of fondness, passion, and love towards someone you used to only view in a bad light was a life-changing, heart-stopping, liberating moment.
There’s also Lina’s past and life in Spain, which readers would eventually learn about as the two go on their Spanish love deception adventure. As I was reading, I already got small ideas, clues as to what really transpired in Lina’s past relationship with her ex, Daniel. But to finally read through it and become aware of the hidden emotions attached to such a deeply hurtful past, I am nothing but sympathetic and understanding. It’s not an easy thing to go through, and I cannot blame Lina for finding it difficult to completely trust another even years after what happened.
Which brings us to Aaron. I am in love with him. He is a sweetheart. Frustratingly stoic at times, but absolutely swoony. He goes after what he wants–without being overbearing, of course. Going above and beyond so as to achieve the things he deserves. He is sure of his feelings for Lina, gives her the space she needs, takes care of her all the time–though majority of it in secret. He won over her family by mainly showing them how he truly cares about Lina. He is perfect, the perfect hero in this contemporary romance novel.
The Spanish love deception adventure was a success, I’d give you that much, but there are many details you have to see for yourself. I can go on but I don’t want to spoil the plot. Maybe just be prepared to feel frustrated at first–don’t worry it won’t be too long–then enjoy the transformation of these characters as they come into terms with their emotions. It’s a beautiful thing to behold.
I give this book 4 stars. It was longer than I thought it would be, but every page, every scene had served a purpose. I like many aspects of it, which I have already mentioned in previous paragraphs. Ultimately, what I love most about this novel is the reminder the author so explicitly gives us. That is, when faced with adversity, big or small, never stop fighting for the people (or things) you love.
Oftentimes we go for the easy, convenient option, already feeling defeated when the battle hasn’t even begun. Well, we’ve got to come to our senses, and put up one big fight if it means we get a chance to be well and truly happy in life. I hope you enjoy this read as much I did, and hoping you find your Aaron/Lina in real life.
- Title: The Spanish Love Deception
- Author: Elena Armas
- Year published: 2021
- Publisher: Independently published
- Total number of pages: 482
- ISBN-13: 979-8-705-89384-3