Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Book Review: The Break-Up Agency

By Sara Steven

Ellie Shaw loves love. Unfortunately, she’s also an expert in break-ups. When a friend needs help with her ‘too nice to dump’ boyfriend, Ellie agrees to help. What she doesn’t expect is for American Dan to be kind, caring, to love dogs and look like a Disney hero. In other words, completely too good to be true.

She lets him down with grace and, encouraged by her friends, sets up Softer Landings, offering kinder, gentler break-ups.

A year later American Dan reappears in her life. With a new girlfriend. One who also decides he’s not the one for her.

The team hatch a plan to let Dan down easy, but while Ellie attempts to lead him gently away, real sparks start to fly. There’s just one big problem she can’t ignore. Can Ellie reveal that their romance is the result of an elaborate con without it feeling like a huge betrayal? Or is she about to star in the most awful dumping of all time? (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads)

The Break-Up Agency uses a really unique premise–professional relationship terminators–and elevates it by throwing in a possible romance that ultimately had come from the conclusion of one of those types of relationships. I’m not sure if there are organizations out there in real life that are similar to Softer Landings, but this type of distinctive storyline really kept my interest, eager to see what was next for Ellie.

There was a moment within the book when one of her fellow coworkers calls Ellie out on why she’s really in the break-up biz, and it was so true to what I experienced while learning more about her. Ellie feels the need to deflect what she thinks are shortcomings in her own relationships, particularly romantic ones. It’s a lot easier to take command of someone else’s love life, but all rules seem to disappear where American Dan is concerned. 

As the synopsis indicates, he seems too good to be true. Later, the reader discovers that there are a few secrets he hasn’t let Ellie in on. But Ellie has a few of her own, primarily the one where his current girlfriend has hired Softer Landings to help break up with Dan. My stomach felt twisted in knots during that scene! I know it’s fictional, but I imagined that type of scenario happening in the real world, and I just couldn’t even imagine what that must be like. To be hired to break up with the man you’re falling for. 

There is a lot of growth that occurs for the majority of the characters within The Break-Up Agency. Ellie has to find her own self worth, and realize she’s enough. Dan has to come to the realization that despite the changes that have occurred for him and to him, that he’s also enough. And Ellie’s coworkers, who project an air of frivolity most of the time, discover that it’s okay to be real.  I really enjoyed their story, and the back and forth banter between characters, making this a serious yet comedic experience.  

Thanks to Rachel's Random Resources for the book in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK * Amazon US

Sheila McClure lives in the English countryside with her Scottish husband, their dogs, Harris and Skye, and a small herd of delightfully striped Belted Galloway cattle. Prior to rural life in the UK, she was a camerawoman and news producer for Associated Press. As she’s originally from Seattle, she began her working life as a barista. She will never refuse a quality dill pickle.

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