Marriage on Madison Avenue by Lauren Layne Book Review

Updated: Jan 21, 2021

Marriage on Madison Avenue

by Lauren Layne

Published by Gallery Books

Book #3 in The Central Park Pact

Can guys and girls ever be just friends?

According to Audrey Tate and Clarke West, absolutely. After all, they’ve been best friends since childhood without a single romantic entanglement. Clarke is the charming playboy Audrey can always count on, and he knows that the ever-loyal Audrey will never not play along with his strategy for dodging his matchmaking mother—announcing he’s already engaged…to Audrey. But what starts out as a playful game between two best friends turns into something infinitely more complicated, as just-for-show kisses begin to stir up forbidden feelings. As the faux wedding date looms closer, Audrey and Clarke realize that they can never go back to the way things were, but deep down, do they really want to?


Rom-Com Feel Good

Marriage on Madison Avenue by Lauren Layne is the third and final book in the Central Park Pact series, and is centered around our last member of the pact that is single, Audrey Tate, and her childhood best friend, Clarke West. While I am so sad that this series is done, I was so excited to read their story. I have a soft spot for best friends turn lovers romances, and I wasn't disappointed at all!

Marriage on Madison Ave is a combination of a fake romance story, and best friends fall in love story, but Lauren Layne gives it a settle twist, by having them continue the rouse of a fake engagement, only for it to turn real, when they convince themselves that as best friends, they can marry for the companionship. The story, right from the start, draws you in.. Clarke and Audrey's chemistry has always been there in the last two novels, but it leaps off the pages in this one. In this PG-13 type romance, Lauren Layne has an amazing ability to make settle looks, and touches feel hot, and I found myself not missing the steamy details, like I do in other novels.

Audrey and Clarke's friendship, slowly turning to their romance was flawlessly written. Their first kiss at their engagement party, and that steamy kiss at the ski-lodge was all kinds of hot, and Lauren Layne did a great job showing us just how confused Audrey and Clarke were about each other. And while it wasn't insta-love, which is probably my biggest pet peeve in romances, I think its obvious they loved each other the whole time, and more than they thought. What twelve year old boy would glue multiple wedding cake pictures in a scrapbook because his best friend asked him to? For hours?

Clarke's parents added an interesting element to the story, with his mother trying to mettle in his life by setting him up with Elizabeth, an ex of his, and his father offering to make him CEO of the family company, IF he marries Audrey (which I predicted Audrey would find out about, and be justifiably upset.) While we learn his mother actually realized Elizabeth wasn't a match for him, and she was actually going along with the pretend engagement, not to call her son on it, but because she was pushing him to go through with it, and his father meant well, it kinda sucks a great guy like Clarke doesn't have the greatest example of love at home. And Elizabeth was an annoying character, right up till she walks in on that steamy kiss at the ski-lodge, and she realizes that while Clarke and Audrey might not know it yet, they obviously love one another.

I was really surprised how this book ended. The whole book is the buildup to the wedding, and we get that ... but even the epilogue isn't set in the future. Its literally hours after the wedding, where the three women are toasting each other on the same park bench in Central Park they met, and making a new pact, while their husbands and fiance smoke cigars and watch. Its a great come around from the first of the series, where three women, heartbroken (except for Naomi) and angry that the man that was in their lives (who dies after falling off his yacht, drunk), led a secret life, and while married to Claire, was dating Audrey and Naomi on the side.), end off on the same bench, moved on with the right men. I just wish we had a little bit more. But I guess that's the way with every series when it ends.

Lucky for us, Lauren Layne's stories all seem to be in the same world, and we sometimes get a glimpse of a character in a different book