Review – Act Like You Love Me (Accidentally in Love #2) by Cindi Madsen

Act Like You Love Me cover image
Publisher: Entangled: Bliss
Publish Date: Out now
How I got this book: ARC from the publisher

Brynn McAdams isn’t the awkward drama geek she was in high school—she’s grown up and confident, or at least she likes to think so. But when her old crush, the impossibly handsome and impossibly unattainable Sawyer Raines, comes back to town to direct her community play, Brynn finds herself determined to be someone other than the girl he doesn’t even recognize. Good thing she’s an excellent actress.

After his bad breakup in NYC, the last thing Sawyer wants is to get involved with another actress. But the glamorous and beautiful Brynn draws him in, even though as her director, he knows she’s off-limits. There’s just something about the woman that feels…familiar. Like home.

As Brynn’s lies start to snowball, she struggles to stop acting and come clean. But what if Sawyer is already falling for the fake Brynn, not the Brynn she truly is?
This blurb came from the author’s website.

I was offered Act Like You Love Me, a sweet romance, since I have been known to read and enjoy them in the past. Reading the blurb, I was intrigued because I have a HUGE soft spot for drama geeks. I refuse to confirm or deny that I might remember being a drama geek in a past life **grin**. For me, the thought of watching the drama geek get her dream crush far outweighed my usual dislike of the hero or heroine pretending to be someone they are not in a contemporary romance. I am glad that I decided to try it because this sweet romance had some unexpected depths that I enjoyed.

Brynn was a smallish town girl who never quite fit in. She loved drama, plays, and the great orators and could find a quote for any situation. As a result, high school really didn’t include the best years of her life. She was embarrassed in front of the entire school when she lost part of her costume during a performance and never lived down the resulting nickname. Despite all of the adversity Brynn faced in high school, I loved the fact that she never wavered from her enthusiasm of the performing arts. It made me think that for the most part, Brynn knew who she was and she was happy being herself until a certain Sawyer arrived in town.

Sawyer left a significant amount of stress behind in New York only to return to his hometown and face a different sort of grief and stress. He was there to renovate and hopefully convince his mother to sell an empty house his family owned. The house was also full of memories of the plans Sawyer’s father had for projects until the illness that killed him progressed to the state that he could no longer do manual work. Right after his arrival in town, he was guilted/volunteered into directing the local play. Sawyer had some preconceived notions about women and about actresses in general. He assumed that any decent actress had to be from the big city because they couldn’t have a career in a small town.

I enjoyed discovering Brynn and Sawyer and watching them fight, argue, and give into their mutual attraction. There were times when I am sure Sawyer chalked Brynn’s flashes of temper up to being a temperamental actress instead of thinking that maybe he had said something that insulted the real Brynn. It was obvious that he never associated the Brynn of today with the Brynn of high school, which actually emphasized the superficiality of high school. Even with that, it was great to see that both characters had things going on in the background of their lives during high school that remained hidden from others. To me, that leveled the playing field and certainly made Sawyer’s obliviousness much more forgivable. I also found the family interaction both touching and entertaining. I enjoy seeing contemporary characters that have a family that cares because it shows me that they are capable of having a loving relationship without requiring major suspension of disbelief on my part.

Act Like You Love Me is the second of Madsen’s Accidentally in Love series, and while I think I caught one reference to the previous book I did not feel like I missed things in this book by not reading the first one. In fact, I didn’t realize this was book two until I was looking up the information to format this review. Brynn and Sawyer did have a sweet romance complete with humor, poignant times, and each learned a few things about life. I am glad I decided to take a chance on it.

I give Act Like You Love Me a B

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