Review: ‘The Husband Gambit’ by L. A. Witt

42610128Published November 16th 2018
302 pages

Marry me for 1 year. Payment: $1.2 million.

Hayden Somerset is convinced the ad is a joke, but he responds anyway because, hello, $1.2 million. He’s broke, living in a tiny apartment with two roommates, and exhausted from praying his ancient car survives just one more week. His skyrocketing rent and crushing student loans aren’t helping either. At this point, there isn’t much Hayden wouldn’t do for that kind of cash.

The ad isn’t a joke. Jesse Ambrose is absolutely serious. His father, the charismatic patriarch of a powerful Hollywood dynasty, has his eye on politics, and he’s counting on California’s liberals and progressives to elect him. But Jesse knows what his father believes when cameras and voters aren’t around. As the election looms, he’ll do anything to force the man’s hand and show the public who Isaac Ambrose really is.

Anything, including marrying a stranger so his father will make good on his promise to disown Jesse if he ever takes a husband.

Now he just has to wait for his father to take the bait… and try not to accidentally fall in love with his fake husband.

Fake-boyfriends/fake-husbands might just be one of my favourite tropes of all time. I can never resist it, especially when it’s written by an author who I love. This book takes things to a whole new level as the two MCs actually get married. Like, for real, legally married. Big fancy ceremony and everything. Jesse is trying to expose his father as the homophobic bigot he truly is, and the only way to get him to show his hand is by making his marriage as convincing as possible. And Hayden is desperate enough for the money that he barely thinks twice about doing it.

Of course they both just so happen to be beautiful men who find each other interesting and charming. Being married isn’t exactly a hardship for either of them. And of course they start falling for each other. Rather predictably there was plenty of self-doubt; both men thinking that their feelings are one-sided and that jazz. The emotional development wasn’t exactly ground-breaking, but the circumstances that set up the whole situation were so completely different to anything I’ve read before that I was hooked from start to finish.

This book managed to touch on a number of important subjects; homophobia, abusive parents, class divides, racism and sexism in Hollywood; but nothing ever got too heavy. There was drama and intensity, but everything flowed so well and Jesse and Hayden had truly excellent chemistry, in every department. The romantic aspect did sometimes have to take a backseat to allow the plot to keep moving forwards, but at its core the story is one of family and falling in love. I loved it.

4.5/5 stars