Plot/Idea: Just a Fling is an appealing love story that balances passionate, fast, and tension-filled scenes with pockets of slow and contemplative moments. From beginning to end, readers will be swept into the world of Dawn and Callan’s romance, and all the secrets held unspoken until the very end.
Prose: Just a Fling features pacey and direct prose, similar to Emily Henry’s style of writing in People We Meet on Vacation. The writing is clean and keeps readers engaged throughout.
Originality: While the tale of a British-American summer love affair is somewhat familiar, the explorations of mental health and trauma provide welcome depth and substance. At times, the story would benefit from greater contrast between its romantic leads or greater stakes. Nonetheless, Just a Fling is a well-crafted romantic novel.
Character/Execution: Callan's struggles with his wife and daughter’s death provide a compelling contrast against the backdrop of his perfect face, physique, and personality. Dawn is well-painted as a strong, independent woman with high aspirations. While it is easy to fall into the story and into these characters’ lives, a bit more coloring of their inner and outer worlds would make the tension and world of this story feel that much richer.
Date Submitted: April 03, 2023
Grace skillfully captures the complexity of love, exploring a strong will-they-or-won’t-they connection. The story sustains that energy through Dawn and Callan’s personal-and professional-ups and downs. When the two throw themselves into work as an antidote for their longing, fate steps in to deal them a twist: Callan’s company hires Dawn’s firm, forcing them to face the truth of their attraction. With that move, Grace breathes new life into Dawn and Callan’s relationship, and this time they’re determined not to lose each other, even if it means they must face their pasts and futures head-on. The vulnerability both are willing to endure is inspiring, particularly Callan’s trauma that both threatens their tenuous reunion and is soothed by his attraction to Dawn.
This romance is a perfect match for readers who relish undeniable chemistry, complex characters, and intimate passion. Every plot point feels compelling and earned, and Grace’s writing is witty and perfectly paced, leaving room for the immersive case amid the page-turning storyline. Both leads experience personal growth as an outward manifestation of their support for one another, and although Callan and Dawn’s initial attraction is exciting, the growth of their flirtation into a deep connection is relatable and accurate to lived experience. This is a knockout romance.
Takeaway: This stellar romance captures love in the midst of the intricacies of healing.
Great for fans of: Emily Henry’s Book Lovers, Helen Hoang’s The Kiss Quotient.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A