Book Review: A Proposal They Can’t Refuse by Natalie Caña

Quick Summary:

A Proposal They Can’t Refuse by Natalie Caña is the story of Kamilah and Liam, who used to be best friends but now are “enemies.” They remain neighbors as Kamilah’s family’s restaurant El Coqui, is next door to Liam’s family’s whiskey distillery Kane Distillery. Kamilah and Liam are pushed together when their grandfathers basically blackmail them into getting married so that Kamilah can save her family’s restaurant, and Liam can save his grandfather.

Plot Overview:

Given that Kamilah and Liam are “enemies,” they’re not on board with this fake engagement but go along with it because bigger picture – they both individually get something they want. However, they really do get pushed together in order to make the charade believable, meaning that Kamilah moves out of the family home and in with Liam. As they spend more time together, the ice between them begins to melt and they remember why they were friends in the first place, and discover a little bit more between them.
The breaking point between Liam and Kamilah’s relationship – real and fake – happens at their engagement party where Kamilah essentially lied to Liam and he found out. This caused a huge fight where they both said some things that they shouldn’t have, and the whole family heard thanks to a hot mic left by one of Kamilah’s brothers. Kamilah’s world falls apart where she now has to pick up the pieces on her own, and figure out whether or not things are fixable.

Common Themes + Opinions:

After the reveal that Kamilah had lied to Liam, to everyone about their relationship, and to Sofi about their futures, she has to deal with the repercussions. Her family is disappointed in her because according to them, she never thinks things through or sticks to anything and seemingly quits when things get hard. Towards the end of the book, Kamilah admits that she felt like her mistakes were perpetually magnified and all her good was always glossed over. That, and that she felt immense pressure on herself to put “family first” before herself, which led to feelings of resentment towards her family. The “family first” attitude seemingly created a rift between her and Liam, and between her and her ex Chase because Kamilah used her family as an excuse to hide or detract from something she didn’t want to do. Liam threw this in her face during their fight but it didn’t hit her until she had another conversation with Chase where he echoed the same sentiment.

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Final Thoughts + Ratings:

Aside from the very unbelievable plot, I liked A Proposal They Can’t Refuse. I find I can always see a little bit of myself in every book I read written by a Latina author with a Latina main character. I love seeing bits of Latin culture on the page, Spanish included, and very much identified with Kamilah and her family issues. I did wish that Sofi and Kamilah’s friendship would have gotten redeemed before the end of the book. Their friendship seemed important to Kamilah, so it felt weird that their friendship was over just like that without a chance at reconciliation. I know this is a romance novel and the romantic relationship is front and center, but Kamilah needs more than just Liam and her family – she needs her found family too. She seemingly has none by the end + epilogue and that’s honestly just sad. If this becomes a series, I hope Sofi gets a story and they get to reconcile.
I’ll give A Proposal They Can’t Refuse 3.5 stars because the blackmail plot was meh. Spice wise, i’d say like 3 peppers. There’s really only one steamy scene in the book; the rest of the physical shenanigans were just implied.
Did you read A Proposal They Can’t Refuse? Let me know your thoughts!
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