Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
What should make a rom-com successful? For one, there should be some level of humor. Usually, it’s in the form of witty banter between the hero and heroine or the hero/heroine and their supporting characters. The humor might come in the form of unfortunate circumstances that might be embarrassing but are funnier in nature. Secondly, while there is always some tension between the hero and heroine, for the most part, their journey is unencumbered by too many issues. Instead, the hero and heroine devolve into a love that has a variety of heats. In the end, though, there is a guaranteed happy ending that makes their journey on any level feel complete. Lastly, just because a rom-com is funny and sometimes sweet too, they can be as sultry as ever. In contrast to a dark romance, the heat level might be a medium boil, but it’s there just as you like in any romance.
When you read Monica Murphy’s Rate A Date, you find all of these qualities, and she articulates them well through her storytelling. Her hero, Mitch, is a bit of a misunderstood professional football player. He has reached a time in his life when he’s done with a quick hook-up. He is looking for a deeper connection with a woman, a relationship. However, his occupation makes it difficult for him to find women who can see the “real” him beyond being a professional football player. He decides to sign up on a dating app, Rate A Date. But not as the Mitchell Anderson of the Raiders; instead, he is Mitch with very little identifying information.
Eleanor is looking for a relationship. Her friends are either engaged to be married or in committed relationships. Her friend, Kaitlyn, recommends a dating app, but honestly, Eleanor wants to meet a man organically. When Kaitlyn makes her a deal to try the Rate A Date app for thirty days, Eleanor agrees trepidatiously. Quickly, she and Mitch connect, and they begin to fall for each other. Here’s the problem: Mitch isn’t forthcoming with his true identity. Will Eleanor accept him when she finds out about his lies, or will they both have to return to the app to find someone new?
Rate A Date has all of the qualities I listed at the beginning of this review. Mitch and Eleanor have chemistry, they are a seemingly good match, and they eventually will find a happy ending, however that looks. I enjoyed reading Murphy’s romance. I found myself laughing in all the right parts, and I even worried about their relationship during its tension. However, this story was a little slow, and it seemed more about their physical coupling than the development of any emotional attachment. I found myself curious about why they liked each other beyond the physical. That’s the part of Rate A Date that isn’t clear. Instead, it felt like Eleanor theoretically could be another hook-up for Mitch even though he tells the reader multiple times that Eleanor is everything he ever wanted. I struggle with stories like that. Even in rom-coms, you can build the emotional attachment between the H and h without introducing too much emotional gravitas. It’s possible. I’ve read it. However, that is the part missing in Rate A Date, and I want it to be there so much because I generally like Mitch and Eleanor. I just want it to be believable that they like each other.
Of its qualities, I think Rate A Date’s best part is the sisterhood between the friends. I know this has been developed in other stories in this series. As it plays out even more here, you can’t help but wish that you could join their friend group because you know you’ll be well-loved and cared for. For me, that’s the highlight of Monica Murphy’s Rate A Date. Is it worthy of a read? Yes. However, you might find yourself a little underwhelmed by it as I did. It simply needed a bit more emotional connection beyond the physical for Mitch and Eleanor.
In love and romance,