Loan Some by Megan McLachlan
It's been a bad week for Vera. She lost the job she loved as a librarian and ended a comfortable and seemingly reliable relationship. So when her eye catches a job ad for a company that boasts "a library of characters for every occasion", impulse (and the word "library") compels her to respond.
Shortly thereafter, Vera has accepted her first assignment from Loan Some, a business that rents out people who play parts at special occasions. Need a mourner at your funeral or a pretend girlfriend to make your ex-wife jealous at a comic book convention? Look no further.
The rules are strict: hide your identity, and no fraternizing with the clients. But as Vera begins relaxing into her new role - or rather, litany of roles - she finds herself attracted to several men, including the charming and flirtatious Greg Goodman as well as Cole, the sizzling nephew of the Lone Some CEO.
Vera's comfortable, if unusual, existence comes to an abrupt halt when she finds herself face-to-face with the woman she's been tracking for the last thirty-or-so years - the mother who abandoned her.
Will Vera be able to maintain her alias amid the family she never knew she had?
Review by Brittany:
I won this novella in a Goodreads giveaway, and the premise of the novel caught my attention immediately. I was excited to read it and was interested in the story.
Vera is a laid-off librarian in search of a new job. She stumbles upon Loan Some, a service that hires out people to serve as friends at events. She gets tangled up in a job that leads her to her estranged mother, but she isn't supposed to tell anyone her real identity.
I like the idea of Lone Some, and I think the author could do a lot with that idea, even in the future. I did feel like the author tried to shove too much story into this one novella. Everything happened way too fast, and I think that the different events Vera is hired to attend would each make interesting novellas, if the author chose to go that route. This one just had too much to it, especially considering the emotional discovery of her mother.
That being said, I still enjoyed it. I liked the idea and I thought the story line was interesting. I don't know if this is intended to be the first in a series of novellas or if this is a standalone. The ending left me feeling a bit incomplete, so I hope for more. I also think the author could consider fleshing this out a bit more. I'd read it again as a longer novel for sure.
Overall, I enjoyed this novella, but would have liked a little more to it.