Are you in the market for a slow burn romance starring one of the sweetest heroes I’ve read in a long time? OF COURSE YOU ARE. Alisha Rai somehow wrote a book that started with catfishing and made me like it. Magic. It helps that the hero wasn’t the catfisher. Someone pretending to be Dev, our Bollywood star hero, romanced Jia, our beauty YouTuber heroine, via Instagram. When they meet in person, the connection is instant, despite the embarrassing miscommunication.
FIRST COMES LIKE feels different than any book I’ve ever read by Rai. It’s poignant in its quiet moments and the romance unfolds slowly—Dev and Jia just like each other. Of course, the chemistry is there, but our main characters take the time to get to know each other and become friends. Dev’s genuine enjoyment when he spends time with Jia and his appreciation for her hit me right in the emotions. I loved watching them build the foundation of their relationship brick-by-brick. (Dev is A+ boyfriend material, FYI).
Watching Dev and Jia tackle issues like religion, family expectations, grief, and many more added weight to the story. But overall, this was a feel-good, low-angst romance, and I enjoyed it immensely. It was easy to get lost in the small romantic moments while the chemistry between Dev and Jia simmered. The love scenes at the end of the book were well worth the wait. Sensual, yet realistic, they had Rai’s signature flair. The secondary characters, both from the previous books in the series and Dev and Jia’s families rounded out the book perfectly.
If Rai had kept with the low-angst romance theme, I think this would have been an easy five-star read. Instead, she tried to add some drama and tension right at the end. It ended up feeling out of character for Dev and out of place within the book. The unnecessary drama threw me for a loop and had me knocking off a star.
I appreciated the representation in FIRST COMES LIKE, and I am looking forward to reading some Own Voices reviews! I listened to an ALC thanks to Libro.fm and thought the dual narration brought the book to life.
Overall, I highly recommend this romance for anyone looking for a sweet and sexy contemporary romance with a wonderfully diverse cast of characters. Rai’s superb writing shines through; I anxiously await her next book!
**I received a free copy of this book in order to provide an honest review**