Gracie Reed is doing just fine. Sure, she was fired by her overly “friendly” boss, and yes she still hasn’t gotten her mother into the nursing home of their dreams, but she’s healthy, she’s (somewhat) happy, and she’s (mostly) holding it all together.
But when a mysterious SUV pulls up beside her, revealing Chinese cinema’s golden couple Wei Fangli and Sam Yao, Gracie’s world is turned on its head. The famous actress has a proposition: due to their uncanny resemblance, Fangli wants Gracie to be her stand-in. The catch? Gracie will have to be escorted by Sam, the most attractive—and infuriating—man Gracie’s ever met.
If it means getting the money she needs for her mother, Gracie’s in. Soon Gracie moves into a world of luxury she never knew existed. But resisting Sam, and playing the role of an elegant movie star, proves more difficult than she ever imagined—especially when she learns the real reason Fangli so desperately needs her help. In the end all the lists in the world won’t be able to help Gracie keep up this elaborate ruse without losing herself…and her heart.
When I read the synopsis of The Stand-In I was super excited as I absolutely love this type of story. Unfortunately, I didn’t love this, just liked it. I really, really wish this had a dual point of view. The story would have been so much better if you also got to see what was happening from Fangli’s side. The fact that it didn’t have this made it feel quite one dimensional and there was never really any danger of the secret getting out.
Which is another negative point for me. Everything was very smooth sailing and it honestly made it quite boring. I was willing the secret to get out just to see what would happen, but alas that didn’t come to fruition. Sorry, that was probably a bit of a spoiler.
I’m not sure if romance was supposed to be a big part of this book. Is it a contemporary romance? I don’t know. However, there was a romantic subplot, which came out of nowhere. Well not completely out of nowhere as Gracie basically drools over him for the entirety of the book, but the confessions of love were a total shock.
That stupid miscommunication trope is at it again with The Stand-in. It’s probably my least favourite trope as it’s so infuriating and everything would be fine if people just talk about what is going on. This is exactly what happens here. Although saying that it wasn’t necessary wouldn’t be true as honestly not much would have happened otherwise, but as the listener, it’s not fun to go through. Just annoying really.
The ‘twist’ was pretty obvious from the start but it’s what happens almost every time with this type of story. You can’t be mad about the “clicheness” of it as it just is what happens with this type of story and the background of it was interesting. It was nice to add more dimension to a secondary character who you don’t know much about.
The Stand-In is a great listen if you are a member of Audible plus. Would I have been happy to outright pay for this? No. but as a free listen with my membership it was good enough.
Like this post? Why not read this one too: To Be Read: June 2022