Author: Marina Ford
Overview from Goodreads:
It was meant to be a one-night stand, not “I do.”
Joe Kaminski likes to go with the flow, a good trait to have as a young artist living in London. His laidback approach to life makes him a fish out of water when he’s hired at P&B Designs, a high-powered PR agency. The money’s good, but with his poor planning skills, he doesn’t see it lasting.
Harry Byrne likes his life the same way he likes his PowerPoint presentations: structured. Known for his dynamic personality, Harry suffered a blow when his seven-year relationship fell apart, souring his mood. The last thing on his mind is getting into another relationship, especially with a man who can barely make it to the office on time.
They’re not even supposed to like each other. But five years later, Joe and Harry are getting ready to tie the knot. They should’ve known it was only a matter of time before everything starts to fall apart: obstructive friends, well-meaning but meddlesome family, a hovering ex, international incidents, fires, pregnancies, and an airport chase. It seems their “I do”s were doomed from the start.
We begin the novel on Joe’s wedding day where everything that could go wrong has gone wrong. It’s absolute chaos. It was an interesting opening to the story, but excellent foreshadowing of the craziness that is featured in this novel.
Our main couple is Joe, an adopted carefree artist, and Harry, a more conservative marketing executive. These two are polar opposites who find each other when Joe is commissioned to create art for Harry’s company. This is when I wish the author expanded more on their backstories to build up their initial meetings. I felt it was rushed and could have included more of their inner thoughts of their attractions to the other rather than gloss over it and have the reader imagine their own details.
This novel time jumps and features “present” day (starting with their wedding day), their initial meeting five years ago, and in-between at 6 months before the wedding. I love time jumps to a point as I feel they can bring more details to the story without having to write about every single event in-between, but with all the jumping back and forth it was hard to keep up at times. I would find myself really getting into one storyline and then the chapter would end and we would jump time again so then I would have to remember what was going on during that part of the story again before going back to the initial event in another chapter. I wish the story did some time jumping instead – maybe following open on the wedding day, go back to the beginning, time jump to the wedding day so Joe can reminisce, then go back to six months before, and finally come back to present to finish up the story. (Just a thought.) The way it is written creates a detachment from the reader as you never get to fully connect to what is happening in the moment between Harry and Joe.
The writing itself was enjoyable and I would gladly read more from this author as the wording choices and style were great for each sentence. The lists were a great addition as it gave a fun summary of what was going through their minds during certain points of the story. Each chapter itself was enjoyable so by moving them around a little in my mind, I re-imagine the flow and it becomes a more cohesive story. I’m sure there are many readers that will disagree and think the current arrangement is great, but it’s just my personal preference for flow.
I can guess where the author was trying to go with Joe and create him as Harry’s opposite and fulfill the classic opposites attract belief, but I think he fell short as a character. Instead of being fun and carefree, he just came off as childish. It was hard to believe in places that I was reading about a full-grown adult who has his own career and life. I can deal with the crazy things that happen to him, but he lacked basic social skills in many scenes. There’s outgoing and fun, but then his character takes it to an unlikeable level. It was hard to believe that his personality and Harry’s would last together in the long-run and not fizzle out after the two personalities discontinue connecting.
The side plots of Joe attempting to find his birth family and Harry’s struggle to gain acceptance from his family were underdeveloped in favor of Harry’s ex-boyfriend Kieran. Even then, I feel like Kieran and Harry were underdeveloped as I felt that they kept talking about how Joe was insecure about Harry’s past relationship, but it’s never fully explored about why this relationship was hard to give up for Harry and also why Kieran was always around. It’s mentioned here and there to where some readers may be satisfied with what’s on the page, but I just felt like it could’ve been explored even more to make the reader understand the struggle that Joe and Harry faced to be together.
Overall, this story was a quick and easy read. There were many enjoyable bits, but sadly it just wasn’t for me. There was a lot of potential in this novel and I encourage any reader to give this book a try as there are tons of mixed reviews so who knows where you will live on the spectrum. Even though, I had my issues with the novel, I would still give this author many more chances and will try out any other books they have!
**Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of this novel. Opinions expressed in this honest review are completely my own.**