Review by Kayleigh

In truth, a large part of me was relieved that Sam and his new husband Scott had just bought a tiny lakefront condo that barely accommodated them and their two cats. While moving in with them would save me the stress and the hassle of what I was going through now, Sam and Scott had just gotten married two months ago.  Not only would my living with them hinder their ability to have sex wherever and whenever they felt like it the way I understood newlyweds tended to, it would also be an awkward reminder of just how long it had been since I’d last been in a relationship.

As well as a constant reminder of what a colossal failure every other aspect of my life was. 

This is a funny and quirky debut with a great premise.  

Cassie Greenberg loves being an artist, but it’s a tough way to make a living. On the brink of eviction, she’s desperate when she finds a too-good-to-be-true apartment in a beautiful Chicago neighborhood. Cassie knows there has to be a catch—only someone with a secret to hide would rent out a room for that price.

Of course, her new roommate Frederick J. Fitzwilliam is far from normal. He sleeps all day, is out at night on business, and talks like he walked out of a regency romance novel. He also leaves Cassie heart-melting notes around the apartment, cares about her art, and asks about her day. And he doesn’t look half bad shirtless, on the rare occasions they’re both home and awake. But when Cassie finds bags of blood in the fridge that definitely weren’t there earlier, Frederick has to come clean… 

Cassie’s sexy new roommate is a vampire. And he has a proposition for her. 

This book was almost a standout read for me: it’s got a great premise, Cassie is a strong main character, and there’s a good cast of supporting characters. The only problem? The vampires are boring. Cassie’s a down on her luck artist looking for some sort of break. She’s a character you can’t help but root for: she’s charming, hard working, kind and just can’t seem to make it work. When she meets her new roommate, the mysterious, handsome and wealthy Frederick, sparks fly. And this is where I got stuck. Frederick is a vampire who was made in the early 1700’s, and was asleep for the past hundred years due to a friend’s prank gone wrong. This would have had him living during the turn of the 20th century. But somehow Frederick, and every other vampire we encounter, still acts like it’s 1815. They don’t even seem out of touch but simply out of time. Which, if you’re the living undead and you want to assimilate with the masses of humanity, it seems to me you’d keep up with the times, at least in the very basic sense. 

Secondly, while Cassie and Frederick fall for each other, we only see the story from Cassie’s point of view, other than some letters we get from Frederick to Cassie. Frederick comes off with a very “Mr. Darcy” vibe which only takes him so far. We don’t get to see enough of him to get a good sense of him and the life and experiences he must have lived. I don’t know about you, but if I met a person who’d lived through the last few hundred years, I’d sit them down and ask them so many questions. Cassie, however, doesn’t seem curious at all. And herein lies the rub. I’m not sure why Cassie and Frederick are attracted to each other: Frederick is instantly smitten with the young, human Cassie and Cassie longs for him aggressively. But I don’t know why. I don’t feel like we learn enough about either of them to understand how they are so instantly connected to each other. I think having some of Frederick’s perspective would have been helpful here in connecting the reader to him.

I loved the premise of this book, and I really enjoyed the setting and the wider cast of characters. The story is set in Chicago which I like because it’s a very random city compared to other vampire stories (Paris, London, New York). Cassie’s struggles in finding her career path and life path is heartwarming and will resonate with anyone who’s struggling to carve out their own path instead of doing what’s expected of them. I was rooting for her from page one. I think this would have been a standout read for me if all of the characters and their desires and struggles were just taken a stretch further to help readers better understand the why. 

This is a promising debut novel with a fun premise. I’ll be reading Jenna’s next book, for sure. 

Thank you Berkley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.