Title: First Comes Like
Author: Alisha Rai
Series: Modern Love #3
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Narrators: Saira Ayers, Neil Shah
Length: 11 hours (432 pages)
Release Date: February 16, 2021
Source: ALC via Libro.fm; paperback via publisher
Content Warnings: catfishing, panic attacks, grief, death of parent, pregnancy
The author of The Right Swipe and Girl Gone Viral returns with a story about finding love in all the wrong inboxes…
Beauty expert and influencer Jia Ahmed has her eye on the prize: conquering the internet today, the entire makeup industry tomorrow, and finally, finally proving herself to her big opinionated family. She has little time for love, and even less time for the men in her private messages—until the day a certain international superstar slides into her DMs, and she falls hard and fast.
There’s just one wrinkle: he has no idea who she is.
The son of a powerful Bollywood family, soap opera star Dev Dixit is used to drama, but a strange woman who accuses him of wooing her online, well, that’s a new one. As much as he’d like to focus on his Hollywood fresh start, he can’t get Jia out of his head. Especially once he starts to suspect who might have used his famous name to catfish her…
When paparazzi blast their private business into the public eye, Dev is happy to engage in some friendly fake dating to calm the gossips and to dazzle her family. But as the whole world swoons over their relationship, Jia can’t help but wonder: Can an online romance-turned-offline-fauxmance ever become love in real life?
After months of online flirting, Jia, a beauty vlogger, finally has the chance to meet Dev, a Bollywood star making his Hollywood debut, irl… only discover she’s been the victim of catfishing. Naturally, they hatch a fake dating scheme.
I really liked Jia and Dev as individuals. Both were career oriented and driven. They both come from large (albeit very different) families they love. The development of their romance was very sweet, and they completely supported each other even before they admitted their feelings for each other were real. I also love how this book represented diversity in the media.
However, a lot of things in this book didn’t make sense to me. For a series called Modern Love, the relationship in this story felt very outdated. Dev’s grandmother was incredibly manipulative, rushing Dev and Jia’s budding relationship into marriage because she overreacted to some fairly innocuous paparazzi photos. I just don’t buy that it was a career ending scandal! I also don’t think the catfishing explanation made sense.
And we need to talk about the confusing steam. This was a CLEAN romance (like didn’t want to be seen holding hands in public to avoid scandal…hello, this is not the regency era) until they put a ring on it. Then it was very open door. I usually don’t mind steamy scenes, but it felt very jarring based on their relationship development. They clearly had a strong connection, but they barely knew each other and had barely admitted their feelings for each other when they rushed to wed. Again, it did not feel like MODERN love.