The Love Wager by Lynn Painter

The Love Wager by Lynn Painter

Painter, Lynn. The Love Wager. Berkley, 2023. 320 pp. ISBN 9780593437285 $17.00


A bartender and landscape architect have a one-night stand when they hook up at his best friend’s wedding; when they reconnect on a dating app, they make a bet with a prize to whomever finds their love match first. Hallie is looking for a best friend with chemistry; Jack wants his one true love.

They make plans with other people and then meet up for tacos after to dissect their bad dates, but when Hallie meets someone and forges a connection, Jack has to fight off jealousy pangs. He confesses the wager to her sweetie, Alex, who dumps her. Hallie’s more hurt that she thought she would be. When her sister’s wedding rolls around, it’s Jack she takes as her fake date… and their passion reignites under the golden aspens of Vail.

This dual point of view novel gave me some whiplash—sections within chapters switch back and forth, with a few errors early on that have point of view from both characters simultaneously. It worked great as a device in Mr. Wrong Number and is less effective here. The messaging (first by dating app, then by text message) as part of the storytelling is excellent, however; their flirty banter is terrific, their chemistry is wonderful, and they are delightfully stupid in their not seeing the forest for the trees. In a meta moment, the characters poke fun at the just one bed trope.

Olivia and Colin make an appearance, and it’s fun to see their evolution. A sneak peak at Painter’s next romance followed the ARC, and I can’t wait to read it.

I recieved a free advance reader’s review copy of #TheLoveWager from #NetGalley

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