The Dating Game

The Dating Game

by Sandy Barker
Setting: England and Australia
Genres: Contemporary, Great Britain
Published on September 10, 2021
Pages: 400
Format: eARC Source: Book Tour, From author/publisher

Once upon a time, twelve women joined the hottest reality TV show looking for love. Except one had a secret identity . . .
Abby Jones is a serious writer. Or at least she will be, one day. Right now, she spends her time writing recaps of reality television under a secret identity.
When a recap for The Stag – the must-watch dating show – goes viral, her editor thinks she should be on set, writing the drama as it happens. The good news: the next season will be filmed in Sydney. Sun, sea and a glamorous trip abroad, this could be Abby’s big break.
The bad news: the producers don’t just want Abby to write the recaps, they want her to be on the show. Abby can’t think of anything worse than being undercover and followed around by cameras. But her career depends on it, and when she meets gorgeous producer Jack, Abby begins to wonder if this job might not be so bad after all . . .

I’ve never watched any of the dating shows that this book is based on but we all know how they work. A bunch of women compete for the attention of a man. The women are pitted against each other for the enjoyment of the people watching at home. Why do they do this to themselves? How much of it is real and how much is scripted?

These are the answers that Abigail is sent to find when she goes undercover on the set of The Stag. She hopes that she’ll be able to balance being on the show, writing the recaps for the website that sent her, and keeping notes for her own project – a tell-all about what really happens on a reality TV show. But keeping all of these identities secret is harder than she expected.

This book was a light and fun read. I appreciated the overall theme of women helping each other and standing up for each other. It wasn’t what you may expect to read in a book about women being in competition with each other. The author did a good job of making most of the contestant distinct enough that you could keep them straight. That’s hard with such a large cast of characters coming together with no back stories.

Even if you don’t like reality television, you might enjoy this book.

Sandy is a writer, traveller and hopeful romantic with a lengthy bucket list, and many of her travel adventures have found homes in her novels. She’s also an avid reader, a film buff, a wine lover and a coffee snob. She lives in Melbourne Australia with her partner, Ben, who she met while traveling inGreece. Their real-life love story inspired Sandy’s debut novelOne Summer in Santorini, the first in the Holiday Romance series with One More Chapter, an imprint of HarperCollins.