Thanks to NetGalley for this review copy!
As you can see on the cover, They’re Strictly Friends is a spinoff of the Tough Love Series. I haven’t read any of the other books of the series before but in my opinion, the book is good to read even without knowing the other ones.
I loved a lot about this book. Really high up there is how unbelievably British it is. Over the past few months, I’ve watched many English tv-series and read English books to not get rusty. But They’re Strictly Friends is so full of British idioms and sayings which wasn’t the case for most of the other books I’ve read recently. To be honest, it felt a bit like coming home.
Next, I loved the fact that not everybody is able-bodied. There are too few books with protagonists who are not white, able-bodied and heterosexual. While I can’t tell how accurate this book is on handling Lucas’s illness and the fact that Nairne (Elodie’s best friend) is sitting in a wheelchair, I think it’s great that those are topics included in the book.
I can, however, judge how realistic it is when it comes to children and I liked how Liese built them in. They are not just there to get the story going and after that, you are sometimes left wondering what the hell happened to them or whether the author thought a one-year-old child is able to provide for itself. Here they are cute and cuddly, but they are also annoying, keeping their parents awake, attention-seeking and also getting in the way of a career. That last one is a point I would’ve liked to be addressed a bit more. Because here it’s again the mums who stay at home with the babies. And while the fathers in the book do change nappies or wake up at night to calm the baby down, I felt like that’s pretty much all they are doing. The rest of the child-care lies still squarely on the mum’s shoulders.
When it comes to Elodies and Lucas‘ relationship the books title is a bit misleading. Most of the book is not actually about whether the two of them should just be friends or more than that. They know really early on how much they like each other and this could be something serious and important. Nevertheless, I liked the way the relationship between them evolved and I especially liked how they talked about what they want in their relationship and also, just as important, in bed.
They’re Strictly Friends is a great book about a relationship that has to conquer a lot of obstacles. But Elodie and Lucas talk about the problems they have and are generally being adults about the important stuff. It’s also about friendships (maybe even more so than romance), family and how to combine two lives where each person brings a whole bunch of problems with them.
While dealing with all this the book is funny, sweet and very, very British which for me is about the best combi.
Rating: 4/5 stars
The Tough Love Series
- #1: He’s a Brute (Narnie & Zed)
- #2: She’s a Spitfire (Narnie & Zed)
- #3: They’re a Match (Narnie & Zed)
- #4: They’re Strictly Friends (Elodie & Lucas)
Other opinions about the book:
The Portuguese Bibliophile (4,5/5 stars; „funny, adorable, heartwarming“)
Literary Love Books (4/5 stars; „it was a good read and I was happy to have had the chance to read it“)
About Chloe Liese:
Liese was born in the late 1980s. She writes romance novels about people who are rarely featured in (romance) novels. She was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in early 2019 and has since then been working on a novel whose heroine has ASD as well.
When she’s not writing she’s reading a lot; she loves Harry Potter and peanut butter cups.
Source: authors website
E-Book: ISBN 9781701506275 | £0,99
342 pages | published 2019