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Publisher's Summary

A 2022 Audie Award Finalist

A Most Anticipated Rom-Com Selected by * Buzzfeed * LGBTQ Reads * Bustle * the Nerd Daily * Entertainment Tonight * Frolic Media * and More!

A Best Book Pick by * Harper’s Bazaar * Entertainment Weekly

The Charm Offensive will sweep you off your feet.” (PopSugar)

​​​​In this witty and heartwarming romantic comedy — reminiscent of Red, White & Royal Blue and One to Watch — an awkward tech wunderkind on a reality dating show goes off-script when sparks fly with his producer.

Dev Deshpande has always believed in fairy tales. So it’s no wonder then that he’s spent his career crafting them on the long-running reality dating show Ever After. As the most successful producer in the franchise’s history, Dev always scripts the perfect love story for his contestants, even as his own love life crashes and burns. But then the show casts disgraced tech wunderkind Charlie Winshaw as its star.

Charlie is far from the romantic Prince Charming Ever After expects. He doesn’t believe in true love, and only agreed to the show as a last-ditch effort to rehabilitate his image. In front of the cameras, he’s a stiff, anxious mess with no idea how to date 20 women on national television. Behind the scenes, he’s cold, awkward, and emotionally closed-off.

As Dev fights to get Charlie to connect with the contestants on a whirlwind, worldwide tour, they begin to open up to each other, and Charlie realizes he has better chemistry with Dev than with any of his female co-stars. But even reality TV has a script, and in order to find to happily ever after, they’ll have to reconsider whose love story gets told.

©2021 Alison Cochrun. All rights reserved. (P)2021 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: Romance

Critic Reviews

"Adam depicts Dev as a mix of dreamy and dramatic, showing his idealistic side and his love for the show. Adam’s flowing narration smooths out the author’s occasional didacticism. Halstead voices Charlie Winshaw, the show’s star and a tech genius who suffers from OCD and generalized anxiety. Halstead accurately represents Charlie’s stilted TV performance, hesitant speech, and withdrawn manner. Cassandra Campbell delivers the daily script updates, her voice creating needed contrast among the sections. With meticulous attention to Dev and Charlie’s singular romance, Adam and Halstead paint a lively picture of reality TV." (AudioFile Magazine)

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What listeners say about The Charm Offensive

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Tiresome

I had to break off listening to this title about 5 hours in, as it just got so tedious! More angst, more awkwardness, more anxiety, more "it could never work... it must never happen again..."
Oh, get on with it!
A fluffy little rom-com story like this could have been told just as satisfactorily without dragging on for TEN HOURS. Take a pass on this one and re-listen to one of your other favorite rom-coms instead.

13 people found this helpful

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About 50% too long and pointless angst

This started strong, funny as per the phrase “romantic comedy”. But after a couple hours it stopped being funny, and then it kept going. And going. It reads like a bad YA novel that Tackles Issues with Meaningful Conversations and a parade of characters meant to fill a diversity quota. The main character cannot get his head out of his butt. You’d think in 10+ hours a character would evolve, but no. There was no conflict other than the one in his own head. Possibly if you’re in your twenties this book is amazing. If you prefer a little healthy and mature emotional repression in your characters… don’t do it. Your eyes may get stuck from rolling so much.

9 people found this helpful

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  • SL
  • 10-07-21

Wow, that was EXCELLENT

I wasn't sure what to expect but I thoroughly enjoyed this lovely, romantic, modern story. Terrific writing, well-developed, charming characters, great humor, lots of twists and turns, lovely slow burn, and never a dull moment. And, most importantly, representation, queerness and mental health are front and center -- a complete part of the story for many of the characters. It was wonderful to see these topics dealt with so smartly, accurately and sensitively. I especially enjoyed the delicate nuances and complexities of each character - mental struggles, sexuality and identity aren't just one dimensional and the author did an amazing job with these topics. Yes, the story is a bit formulaic but this is what you want in a modern love story: romance tropes cleverly turned on their heads. I don't think I've enjoyed an MM romance this much in a while. Highly recommend.

3 people found this helpful

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Fun!

A very fun and cute romcom. I laughed out loud and loved it! Great narration.

3 people found this helpful

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  • t
  • 06-13-22

Another MM romcom that falls flat

Ever since Red, White & Royal Blue came out, there's been a cascade of badly done MM Romcoms. While this one is better than its predecessors, it still fails.

For one thing, it comes across majorly as fan fiction. There were several scenes throughout that were pretty much knockoffs from McQuiston's work. There was even one line that was exactly the same.

The premise was good, though it didn't fallow through. Reality show with tons of women going after a man. Said man falls for his producer. Good concept. However, for the most part, the contestants were ignored except a few it threw it for good measure. Angie was a strong character. She could carry her own story. So could Charlie's publicist (I won't attempt to spell her name because I'm sure I would get it wrong).

The angst was overdone as though the author knew where they wanted to go, but not how to get there. So they just kept pulling us along on what felt like an unending trip until suddenly... it skipped ahead 3 months. 3 Months where we're shown what Dev's been doing. But he doesn't come across as better. However... he has to be to bring everything together, right? That didn't sell. It felt plastic and contrived and completely not believable. And the producer? She got off majorly considering how horrendous she was, what with not only her extreme phobia, but her desire to screw over anyone with mental health issues.

The ending for Daphne felt so contrived as to be unbelievable. She supposedly had no idea she was a lesbian and then WHAM 6 months after the show ends she's not just come out but is looking for her own princess? Coming to terms with who you are takes time. 6 months is NOT time. It's barely a blip to start figuring out the new you.

Quite honestly, the only thing that kept me listening to the end were the narrators. I adore Vikas Adam who does incredible narration, including differing voices (Just give his Heartstriker's a try). Graham Halstead was decent.

I wish the book industry would. bring us more unique books rather than copy cats. It's annoying.

1 person found this helpful

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My new favorite romance

The Charm Offensive follows the star of a reality dating show (*cough* The Bachelor) falling in love with a producer behind the scenes, but it’s so much more. It’s an LGBTQIA+ love story with an earnest exploration of mental health, and it doesn’t shy away from the hard parts… but that makes the sweet parts that much sweeter. I loved the audiobook, the actors did an amazing job bringing Dev and Charlie to life. This is a story that sticks with you and raises the bar for what contemporary romance stories can be.

1 person found this helpful

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This book was everything!!!

It was so brilliant and like able. The characters felt very three dimensional. They weren’t perfect. They were both neurodivergent and it was beautiful handled. I laughed with them and got so caught up in their story I didn’t want it to end. This MM romance has real substance. In the write up it mentions red white and royal blue and I agree that this story has a similar weight and depth to it. It’s also very light on sexual detail so if you love MM but don’t want something to explicit this is for you. And if you love explicit. You won’t feel cheated by this book.

1 person found this helpful

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Love it! X10

Great story and great performances, especially Vikas Adam. Would recommend to any fans of the Bachelor 😉

1 person found this helpful

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My heart explode. it's not another romantic book. IS WAY MORE

OMG! Please read this book, I thought it was just another simply romantic book, was not, it teaches, it broadens your mind, it touches so many delicate subjects.
This books is simply AMAZING! I was not prepared for this and it turns out to be the absolute best! Yes please read it !, absolutely 5 out of 5 ⭐️

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Dragged on

Great performances but the story seemed to drag on in the middle, which made me consider not finishing. I did finish, and I’m glad I did because it wrapped nicely.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-09-22

Cheesy but nice

I found the voices a little stiff and robotic and the story was sometimes predictable but it was quite charming and at points I couldn’t put it down, overall I really enjoyed it.

1 person found this helpful

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  • HMM
  • 03-24-22

Nice for one time

I enjoyed reading about the romance but then the conflict occured and after that I found it poorly executed.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-21-22

Definitely recommend

I expected something light and fairly mindless but got so much more than that! It was still a light and entertaining read but it also brought with it a refreshing of implementation of discussions on mental health, sexuality and sexual attraction and relationships in general.

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  • Miss I, London
  • 08-15-22

I wanna watch this movie.

Great premise
Great story
Great precinct for a story like this
Lovely performances by narrators
Great story build, and lovely conclusion.
Have listened to it a couple of times.
I'd watch the crap outta this if someone made it a film.
10/10 would recommend.

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  • Miss CD
  • 01-21-22

Happy and sweet book

I loved this story! Was such a lovely easy listen, a great rom com with characters who are not flawless but have real issues they deal with individually and together. Charlie is so sweet and Dave strong and lovable!!
A feel good,makes you smile as you listen story…does exactly what it says on the tin

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  • brigitta
  • 11-18-21

Amazing!

Amazing queer rep (especially the demisexual main character), great story and characters. Had lots of fun

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Pavel Obolensky
  • 10-11-21

Weak plot, but promising author

The writing style is good, the characters are well constructed and the main couple is likeable. But the plot just didn’t work for me. It was an interesting premise, but it was poorly executed. The reason why Charlie decides to join the dating show and later remain in it is unconvincing and the ‘obstacles’ that Dev and Charlie face hardly feel like real obstacles. Moreover, the show, for most of the book, doesn’t seem to add anything to the advancement of the plot and at times one almost forgets about it. The twenty contestants, for example, play virtually no role in the story. The book feels too long, like it could have been five hours shorter. I also found it astonishing that Charlie and Dev talk to each other about their sexuality for the first time only very late in the book, despite opening up about many other personal things before that. This is just so unrealistic. I was sure the author was a straight woman because of that, but she actually isn’t! Despite this book’s being a disappointment for me, Alison Cochrun is a talented writer and I will definitely give her future work a chance.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-10-21

We need a story about Daphne

Okay so Charlie must be protected at all costs he is the most precious human being ever and he deserves the universe. I absolutely loved how this story wasn't just unapologeticly queer but it focused on mental health and actual good representation. I love the fact that people are mentioning with they them pronouns or as someone's partner and the author doesn't feel the need to explain it. People can just exist and that makes this book incredibly comforting. I also love how side characters with the tiniest part are still complex and fascinating everyone in the book feels like a fully realized human and it's so perfect. I of course struggled with the conflict because I wanted to see my babies happy and together and without pain but it hit extremely hard because Dave is very similar to me sometimes. You know a book is good when the main character feels like your best friend and you just want to go shake and yell at them so that they understand that they are good enough and soooooo deserving of everything they want and this book made me feel like that all throughout. I honestly think it's impossible not to fall in love with the book and everyone in it and I'm going to need stories about all of them. I'm really hoping there's going to be a story about Daphne and a certain hot af med student because I would absolutely sell my kidney for that. I can't sell my soul cos Charlie owns it along with everything I have. I could literally gush about this man forever, he makes me wanna play the protective big sister who goes and beats up all those fucking idiots who were ever mean to him and protect him and Dave and their happiness so they can live happily ever after. This book deserves sooo much love and I am soooo happy I read it.

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  • Emily Nash
  • 10-08-21

so cute

I love a good rom com and this was exactly what I needed! Great writing

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  • vanessa rosa subandi
  • 12-03-21

Golden and Fun

I finished this in 2 days, too good to be true. I saw the book and was interested and when I saw my friend got a hard copy of the book. I decided to purchase them. No regrets.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Nathan Coombes
  • 08-02-22

Pick a narrator though!!

Loved the book and all of the narrators, but I just wish they’d chose one. They sort of alternate the narrator depending on the POV, but the POV is scattered anyway and the narrators take on the same characters are so different. That’s not to say they weren’t both fantastic, but it was off putting how they changed.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-30-22

Loved it!

I loved every moment of this! It was so quirky and romantic and sexy and funny all at the same time. Not a single bad thing to say about the representation or the execution of the story. Absolutely gorgeous!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-12-21

Not what I expected

This book leads you to think the love interests are two women and instead it’s two men. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this book, it’s just the blurb is misleading

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-10-21

A big heart and lots of laughs

As a woman in an interracial queer relationship I loved seeing myself reflected in this story. It was such a fun book which made me laugh but was also grounded in its well developed and nuanced characters, huge heart and respectful exploration of mental health and discovering self identity. This is a new gem. I would die for Charlie.

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