✍🏻 Professor Romance’s 4.5 ⭐️ Review: CD Reiss’s Fake Crowne, a Crowne Brothers romance ✍🏻

Overall Grade: 4.5 ⭐️

Tropes: fake relationship; work romance; LA romance; contemporary romance; billionaire brothers; band of brothers

Bear with me as I ramble about CD Reiss’s newest Crowne family story, Fake Crowne. There’s so much I want to say, but it’s not organized or probably even insightful; however, I need to say it anyway. 

Reiss is attempting (I actually believe she did it — but I really want to hear from people) to capture a voice in romancelandia that is burgeoning: the voice of the later Millenials or the older Gen Zers. I’ve been thinking about this generation in romancelandia. They live in a different world than the former generations, and they connect in spaces that are visual and muted. They’ve been raised with trauma infused into their systems and parents who have recognized that and created safe spaces to fall. All of that has conspired to build people with mental health struggles. How does this generation fall in love? It’s both the same and different from the past. And CD Reiss builds the space and unspoken words into the relationship between Colton Crowne and Skye. 

As I was reading this book, I was imagining my son’s voice as Skye’s voice. They have very similar mental health struggles, and Reiss elaborated on them in a real way. Both Colton and Skye are overwhelmed by and push against parental expectations. Colton rebels against it, while Skye contends with them within a set of stifling boundaries she sets for herself. Through this struggle, Colton and Skye forge a fake relationship, upend their own set boundaries of that relationship, and fall in love on their own terms. This is CD Reiss imagining correctly, I think, a love forged in the 21st century by people who simply don’t know the depth of their future. They’ve either denied themselves, rebelled against tradition and expectation, or made concessions to avoid failure. 

In fact, that seems to be the battle cry of Fake Crowne: “There’s something comforting about failure. Like I don’t have to be responsible for my work or my choices because…whoops, I failed, color me shocked. Oh well, no big deal. And it’s easy, right? I don’t have to improve. I don’t have to face the next stage. I don’t have to learn. […] I’m weak, but sometimes weak is a choice.” Through Colton and Skye’s journeys, Reiss suggests that we can treat life in one of three ways: play it safe; fail incredibly and stay down; or fail on some level and get up and try again. Each of these has consequences, and Reiss illustrates it beautifully through Colton and Skye’s falling in love. 

Are Reiss’s style and storytelling flair all over this book? Yep. In fact, as I read this book, I felt like it straddled her Crowne Brothers series and her Hollywood A-List/Star-Crossed/Lead Me Back stories. It’s very LA…and freaking Gene Testarossa is back wreaking havoc. Given I’m a So. California girl, I love Reiss’s characterization of LA for her readers. But her knack for wordsmithing and her infusion of spice and steam are encompassed in this book. 

Please…read Fake Crowne and tell me she’s capturing some of Gen Z in it. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not of that generation. I simply need more stories in it so we keep Gen Z readers gobbling books, and they need to find themselves in the books that are served. And I believe CD Reiss has done it with her newest book. 

In love and romance,

Professor A

Sorry for the rambly quality of the review. I just had so many words to say about this book.