Aussie Book Review: Playing by the Rules by Imelda Evans

My Rating:              3 / 5
Format:                   eARC courtesy of Penguin Australia and
Publication Date:    16 September 2013
Category:               Adult and Contemporary Romance
ISBN:                      9781743483961
Publisher:               Penguin Australia
Imprint:                   Penguin eBooks

The Blurb

“Kate Adams expected to return home from Paris with a ring on her finger. Instead, her French boyfriend, Alain, breaks up with her right before she leaves for Australia.

Unwilling to show up at her high school reunion desperate and dateless, Kate asks her best friend's brother, handsome Josh Marchant, to pretend to be her fiancé.

Josh has always had a soft spot for his sister's friend and happily takes on the role. And as they spend time together, the lines between fact and fiction blur and they're soon struggling to remember it's all just an act.

But will the arrival of an unexpected visitor shatter the illusion they've created?”

Summary and Thoughts

Kate Adams expected to arrive back home from Paris in time for her high school reunion with a fiancé in tow.  Unfortunately, for the “planning life down to a t” Kate, she now has to embarrassingly attend that reunion alone, after responding that she would be bringing her partner.

Desperate, dateless and utterly shattered that her marriage plans, and therefore her life, have fallen apart, when Jo’s brother Josh arrives on the scene, plans are hastily made for Josh to go along as Kate’s date … and pretend to be her fiancé.

Josh is gorgeous.  Having just flown in from the USA where he has been working, he’s eager to spend some time with Kate as, unbeknownst to her, he’s always had a soft spot for his sister’s best friend.

Kate soon realises that she couldn’t have asked for a better partner to attend the reunion with her.  He is attentive, funny and shares all kinds of memories from their teenage years with their former peers.  And their first kiss … it’s earth shattering.

However their new found friendship appears about to blow up in their faces when they can’t keep their lips off one another and rather embarrassingly get caught in the lift, after which she remembers that she was meant to tell her mother about the surprise that she had for her.

When Kate’s ex-fiancé arrives in Australia and Josh makes some startling revelations and an unexpected proposal, we see Kate floundering and can only hope that she will realise that not even she can plan love. 

I first met Kate Adams in Imelda Evans’ debut novel, Rules are for Breaking (my review here) which tells the story about the “three strikes and you’re out” Jo Marchant and how she met Declan.  I was therefore thrilled when Imelda contacted me and requested a review on Playing by the Rules and immediately sank my teeth into it.

Imelda's characters are well-crafted and Kate, who is seriously flawed, managed to annoy me intensely with her constant planning for everything in her life.  Josh, on the other hand, is the total opposite, being almost flawless and just so darned nice and there were a few times in the novel where I really felt sorry for him and wanted to shake some common sense into Kate with all her little insecurities.  The story about the rabbit, was just fabulous!

Once again, Imelda hasn’t disappointed with her humour and wit bringing us this sweet and light-hearted read which kept me entertained and one which I would recommend to those lovers of romance looking for a bit of escapism.

I wish to thank Imelda Evans for requesting the review (as well as the lovely mention in her acknowledgements) and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC.

A Little About the Author

Imelda was born in Fremantle and grew up under the nose-peeling sun of WA – at least, she would have, if she hadn’t spent most of her time under a tree reading a book.  From under that tree, she battled pirates on the seven seas, solved crimes in Victorian London, journeyed to the centre of the earth, travelled to distant stars and consorted with witches on blasted heaths – and along the way developed
a life-long love of stories.

Her first book, in what she fondly imagined was the style of Agatha Christie, was published by her grade four teacher to the acclaim of her parents and classmates and the lukewarm interest of her siblings.  Her second effort, a middle grade thriller written in grade six, was less well received and in a fit of pique, she put away her authorly fountain pen until she discovered the  Romance Writers of Australia and thought she’d try again.

In the intervening years she occupied herself as a student, editor, office manager, chorister, kid wrangler, volunteer, storyteller, copywriter and general pest about town.  She has enjoyed all of these roles, but likes being an author best, as none of the others give her an excuse to read novels and call it work.

She lives in Melbourne with her long-suffering darling of a husband, her daughter, an arthritic but enthusiastic dog and an indeterminate number of frogs.


  1. Oh, Marcia, you make me laugh! I seem to specialise in heroines that people want to shake. I hope that means they're realistic, or is that just my friends...?

    Thank you for your review and I'm glad you found the mention! :)

  2. I never knew you were a Fremantle girl Imelda. I have both your books on my Kindle and I'm looking forward to them. (Holiday in 5 minus 1 week).
    Lily M

  3. Born, bred and reared, Lily! I am only an adopted Melbourne gal - most of my family are still in the West. Roll on the holidays! I'm still waiting to get to the Goodbye Ride too. Oh for more time for the virtual TBR! Thanks for coming by.


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