Book Reviews

Review: Don’t Want You Like a Best Friend by Emma R. Alban

We are a fan of queer historical fiction romance novels here. Just so you know. And Don’t Want You Like a Best Friend is my recent favorite. I’m already waiting for the sequel! Keep reading this book review of Don’t Want You Like a Best Friend for my full thoughts.


Gwen has a brilliant beyond brilliant idea.

It’s 1857, and anxious debutante Beth has just one season to snag a wealthy husband, or she and her mother will be out on the street. But playing the blushing ingenue makes Beth’s skin crawl and she’d rather be anywhere but here.

Gwen, on the other hand, is on her fourth season and counting, with absolutely no intention of finding a husband, possibly ever. She figures she has plenty of security as the only daughter of a rakish earl, from whom she’s gotten all her flair, fun, and less-than-proper party games.

Let’s get them together,” she says.

It doesn’t take long for Gwen to hatch her latest scheme: rather than surrender Beth to courtship, they should set up Gwen’s father and Beth’s newly widowed mother. Let them get married instead.

It’ll be easy” she says.

There’s just…one, teeny, tiny problem. Their parents kind of seem to hate each other.

But no worries. Beth and Gwen are more than up to the challenge of a little twenty-year-old heartbreak. How hard can parent-trapping widowed ex-lovers be?

Of course, just as their plan begins to unfold, a handsome, wealthy viscount starts calling on Beth, offering up the perfect, secure marriage.

Beth’s not mature enough for this…

Now Gwen must face the prospect of sharing Beth with someone else, forever. And Beth must reckon with the fact that she’s caught feelings, hard, and they’re definitely not for her potential fiancé.

That’s the trouble with matchmaking: sometimes you accidentally fall in love with your best friend in the process.


(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

Anything “Parent Trap” will always hook me. So when I heard about this regency queer historical fiction that was “Parent Trap” meets “Bridgerton” I was flabbergasted. And it 100% delivers the vibes with perfection! If you love a story which balances regency era – balls and courting – with a queer romance story this is for you! I also love that Don’t Want You Like a Best Friend explores the privilege and opportunities of marginalized and queer folks during the time. How a ‘happy’ ending isn’t always possible for everyone.

I think just like “Bridgerton” if you’re coming for something that feels historical in terms of language and vernacular, there are some pieces that definitely feel modern. But this feels like a very accurate comp for the type of historical fiction this is. There’s this sense of setting which feels like a light mix of historical and also modern. But I think what I enjoyed the most were the characters. Particularly, I enjoyed the mother daughter, father daughter relationship. I think that’s one of the key “Parent Trap” elements – this close bond between the two. While I wanted a few more scenes between them because they were amazing, this makes it to my list of favorite elements.

(Disclaimer: Some of the links below are affiliate links. For more information you can look at the Policy page. If you’re uncomfortable with that, know you can look up the book on any of the sites below to avoid the link)

Don’t Want You Like a Best Friend is full of queer awakenings, of matchmaking, and happy endings that only a romance novel could so beautifully tie up. At the core is a quesiton of what we would do for safety and security? What might we have to settle for? Another small element I enjoyed was the ways it talks about the politics of the time and specifically how women were treated in marriages in the law. All in all, this is just like a queer romance hug.

Find Don’t Want You Like a Best Friend on Goodreads, Storygraph, Amazon,, & Blackwells.


What is your favorite historical fiction romance?

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