When Grumpy Met Sunshine by Charlotte Stein Book Review

When Grumpy Met Sunshine by Charlotte Stein

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When Grumpy Met Sunshine by Charlotte Stein is a spicy adult contemporary romance set in the UK following a ghost writer and a former famous soccer player.


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When Grumpy Met Sunshine

Author: Charlotte Stein

Pub. Date: Feb. 6, 2024

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance

Pages: 336 

Rating: 3.5 stars

Spice: 4.5 hearts

Content Warnings: swearing, fat phobia, harassment, explicit sex, & crass language


When grumpy ex-footballer Alfie Harding gets badgered into selling his memoirs, he knows he’s never going to be able to write them. He hates revealing a single thing about himself, is allergic to most emotions, and can’t imagine doing a good job of putting pen to paper.

And so in walks curvy, cheery, cute as heck ghostwriter Mabel Willicker, who knows just how to sunshine and sass her way into getting every little detail out of Alfie. They banter and bicker their way to writing his life story, both of them sure they’ll never be anything other than at odds.

But after their business arrangement is mistaken for a budding romance, the pair have to pretend to be an item for a public who’s ravenous for more of this Cinderella story. Or at least, it feels like it’s pretend–until each slow burn step in their fake relationship sparks a heat neither can control. Now they just have to decide: is this sizzling chemistry just for show? Or something so real it might just give them their fairytale ending?


Book Review

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the ARC of When Grumpy Met Sunshine by Charlotte Stein. All opinions are my own.

After seeing that this book had some of my favorite romance tropes in it (grumpy/sunshine, fake dating, and slow burn romance), I was very excited to read it. That being said, I have very mixed feelings about it.



Here are the things I liked best about this book:

First, I loved both Alfie and Mabel as main characters. They were both so sweet and lovable, and it was easy to root for them. Also, Alfie was just so adorably awkward and said the sweetest things to Mabel. I also loved how technology-challenged he was because it made him even more endearing.

Second, I loved all the British-isms. While there were a lot of references to British culture that I did not understand, I still loved all the hilarious phrases they would use.

Third, I loved the banter between Mabel and Alfie. They just got along so well, and they had such great conversations and chemistry.

Lastly, I really enjoyed the whole first half of the book. The friendship that was formed, Alfie’s awkward moments, and just the cute moments together really had me loving it.

With all that in mind, here is why this book ultimately fell flat for me:

The explicitness of the sexual content, the crassness of language, and the ending really ruined this book for me.

While I expected there to be some open door romance scenes in this book, the fact that the second half of the book was just mostly smut was disappointing to me. It went from barely anything in the first half of the book to the exact opposite in the latter half. Also, the amount of crude language between Mabel and Alfie was just way too much for me, and I feel like the first half of the book did not build up well to that.

The other major issue I had was how the book ended. Without spoiling anything, there were definitely miscommunication and immaturity involved that made me angry (especially when considering the ages of these characters). It was unnecessary and could have been handled differently. I will say that Alfie’s grand gesture was so sweet and romantic and redeemed it a tiny amount.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I might recommend this book to some people, but only those who really like spice in their romance books and ones that don’t mind miscommunication.


Where to Read & Purchase

You can purchase a copy of this book at the following retailers:

Bookshop.org (supports independent book stores) [affiliate]

Libro.fm (audiobooks that support independent book stores) [affiliate]

get a free audiobook when you start a membership

Amazon [affiliate]

Books a Million (BAM) [affiliate]

AbeBooks [affiliate]

Barnes & Noble


Have you read When Grumpy Met Sunshine or any other books by Charlotte Stein?

I would love to hear your thoughts! Comment down below.

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