I know nothing about the trilogy of which Once Ghosted, Twice Shy is a spin-off, I read this novella just because it was a second-chance romance about two black women falling in love – and then falling in love again – in New York, and that premise was enough for me. And now I can say two things:
- you do not need to have read A Princess in Theory to understand this or understand the characters;
- you might want to read A Princess in Theory first anyway, because after reading this you’ll want to read it for sure, Alyssa Cole’s writing is amazing, and you might as well read things in order!
I loved this book more than I expected to, and with that premise, I had high expectations. The main reason it surprised me? The writing. All the descriptions – the sounds, the food, the clothes – were so vivid that I could picture everything effortlessly. It’s a contemporary romance that is actually atmospheric, and I can’t believe how rare that is. One of my main problems with American contemporaries is the way they never describe the setting, because they assume that you – the reader, who is of course American, because it’s not like books written in the US are read (and translated!) worldwide, no – already know how it looks like. And I don’t! I love when books don’t assume I do.
I also loved the romance, of course. Fabiola and Likotsi had chemistry (these two!! I can’t. They were adorable), the conflict was believable, the pacing was slow but not so slow that it became a problem for me (and this is why I prefer romance novellas to novels).
Once Ghosted, Twice Shy is also a story that talks about some heavy themes – like deportation – without losing the lightheartedness that is typical of the romance genre, and it has, of course, a happy ending.
If you’ve ever wanted to read a story about a Haitian-American bisexual woman who dreams of making and selling jewelry falling in love with an African woman (from the fictional country of Thesolo) who is the assistant of a prince… here it is. It was everything I didn’t know I wanted.
My rating: ★★★★¾