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ARC Review: The Charm Offensive by Alison Cochrun
The Charm Offensive

4.5 Stars

Book Info

Released: September 7th 2021
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published by Atria Books
Pages: 368
Format: eARC
 

“Well written, witty, and sincere, The Charm Offensive is a delight to read…”

~ Under the Covers

Recommended Read!

In a play to rehabilitate his image, tech mogul Charles Winshaw let himself get talked into being the bachelor on a reality TV dating show. But before the show can even wrap filming, let alone air, Charlie finds himself running into a few issues. For one, he’s finding it hard to date multiple women at once when his real-life dating experience is non-existent. For another, his anxiety and OCD is off the charts, and the show’s expectations are only making it worse. Oh, and Charlie is definitely way more attracted to his handler, Dev Deshpande, than to any of the women on the show. During a competition to find their fairy-tale romance, Charlie and Dev will end up finding each other as well as their true, authentic selves.

The Charm Offensive is that rare blend of romance that manages to be laugh-out-loud funny and witty, while also discussing some very serious subjects like mental disorders, sexual awakenings, and what it means to be in a healthy relationship. Both Charlie and Dev were wonderfully imperfect characters, and readers will be cheering for their happily-ever-after from the first chapter. Cochrun, in my opinion, did a fantastic job of realistically representing disorders such as anxiety, depression, and OCD. Her characters were vulnerable without being weak; they were real without being portrayed as either too perfect or too broken. I honestly can’t say which character’s story I liked more; both Charlie and Dev had parallel, yet vastly different, journeys to go on. Charlie’s journey in The Charm Offensive was all about self-discovery. He was finding his true self throughout the entire story, both in terms of his sexuality and his career. Dev, on the other hand, knew he had depression and his journey throughout the story revolved around him getting the help he needed so he could get off his self-destructive cycle. I particularly loved that both main characters easily accepted the other’s issues, no questions asked, and immediately wanted to help. Dev and Charlie became the other’s lifeline when the rest of the world ignored them or made fun of them.

Almost every character in The Charm Offensive was funny and/or witty. It’s been a while since I’ve read a romance that made me laugh on almost every page. Between intentional jokes and dry humor, even the secondary characters had bright personalities that made them stand out.

But, all humor aside, Cochrun managed to pack some very real conversations in between the sarcasm and jokes. As a M/M romance, obviously both Charlie and Dev’s sexualities were going to play a major part in the romance but figuring out who you truly are is rarely so plain and simple and that is very much true for both the main characters. Often funny and surprisingly heartfelt, Cochrun managed to bring the romance while also addressing some serious topics.

Well written, witty, and sincere, The Charm Offensive is a delight to read while also bringing light to some very serious internal and external issues that people face everyday.



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About Alison Cochrun

Alison Cochrun is a high school English teacher living outside Portland, Oregon. When she's not reading and writing queer love stories, you can find her torturing teenagers with Shakespeare, crafting perfect travel itineraries, hate-watching reality dating shows, and searching for the best happy hour nachos.

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ARC Review: The Charm Offensive by Alison Cochrun

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Darynda Jones

Great review! Another one-click. My TBR pile is getting ridiculous, but this sounds really good.

Amy R

This sounds really good, thanks for your review.