Book Reviews

Don’t Want You Like a Best Friend by Emma R. Alban: Book Review

This is a spoiler-free review.

Don’t Want You Like a Best Friend by Emma R. Alban

Published January 9th, 2024

Genres: Young Adult, Historical, Romance, LGBTQ+

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A swoon-worthy debut queer Victorian romance in which two debutantes distract themselves from having to seek husbands by setting up their widowed parents, and instead find their perfect match in each other—the lesbian Bridgerton/Parent Trap you never knew you needed!

Gwen has a brilliant beyond brilliant idea.

It’s 1857, and anxious debutante Beth has just one season to snag a wealthy husband, or she and her mother will be out on the street. But playing the blushing ingenue makes Beth’s skin crawl and she’d rather be anywhere but here.

Gwen, on the other hand, is on her fourth season and counting, with absolutely no intention of finding a husband, possibly ever. She figures she has plenty of security as the only daughter of a rakish earl, from whom she’s gotten all her flair, fun, and less-than-proper party games.

“Let’s get them together,” she says.

It doesn’t take long for Gwen to hatch her latest scheme: rather than surrender Beth to courtship, they should set up Gwen’s father and Beth’s newly widowed mother. Let them get married instead.

“It’ll be easy” she says.

There’s just…one, teeny, tiny problem. Their parents kind of seem to hate each other.

But no worries. Beth and Gwen are more than up to the challenge of a little twenty-year-old heartbreak. How hard can parent-trapping widowed ex-lovers be?

Of course, just as their plan begins to unfold, a handsome, wealthy viscount starts calling on Beth, offering up the perfect, secure marriage.

Beth’s not mature enough for this…

Now Gwen must face the prospect of sharing Beth with someone else, forever. And Beth must reckon with the fact that she’s caught feelings, hard, and they’re definitely not for her potential fiancé.

That’s the trouble with matchmaking: sometimes you accidentally fall in love with your best friend in the process.

Thank you to the publisher, HarperCollins Canada, and NetGalley for providing me with an e-ARC of this book. All thoughts are my own.

Don’t Want You Like a Best Friend by Emma R. Alban is a sweet and steamy sapphic romance set in the Victorian era.

As a queer woman who is a huge fan of regency romance novels, I was head-over-heels excited to read Don’t Want You Like a Best Friend. But, I was also a little apprehensive. I like my romances to feature a HEA (see: happily ever after). So, I was a little nervous about how that was going to happen for two young women out in society during that time…

But – not to spoil anything! – I think the way this was handled in Don’t Want You Like a Best Friend was perfect. The romance between Gwen and Beth gave me everything I could have hoped for and more. The move from ‘close confidants’ to ‘wanting something more but knowing they can’t have it’ to ‘going for it anyways’ was done so well. 😍 The Victorian setting created a fitting backdrop for such juicy pinning and angst. (Look, every romance needs a little angst.)

While this book was a little slow to start, once the romance and the rest of the cast of characters were introduced, it really picked up speed. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the second-chance romance between their parents. The way the ending of this book set up its sequel, You’re the Problem, It’s You, fit well and made me quite excited to check it out.

Have you read Don’t Want You Like a Best Friend?

What did you think of it?

Let me know!

Liza is a twenty-something book blogger who spends way too much time with her nose in books and feels way too much. She loves cooking, baking, reality tv show watching and, of course, reading. She can be found most often with a cup of tea in one hand and a book in the other. Her blog, Literary Liza, features bookish content like reviews, recommendations, and author interviews.

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