Book Review: The Reunion (ARC)

Expected publication: June 10th 2022

Author: Elizabeth Drummond

The brand new enemies-to-lovers romcom for fans of Mhairi McFarlane and The Love Hyphothesis.
‘A properly joyful caper of heads vying with hearts. Drummond had me laughing, ‘eeek!’ing and ‘aaah’ing, as Posy and Lucas navigate their fake-wedding planning, old animosities and new longings of the heart. A lovely funny uplifting read.’
Pernille Hughes

Two high school rivals. Ten years later. A vow not to fall in love . . .

School reunions: the perfect opportunity to catch up with old friends, dazzle old foes, and basically show everyone that your life could not be going better.

But for Lucas O’Rourke and Posy Edwins this isn’t quite the case. Lucas is about to lose his business unless he finds an investor fast, and Posy’s father has cut her off financially, just when she needs to get to Hawaii. And a reunion is the worst moment to come face-to-face with your rival. Ten years ago they hated each other, what could have changed since then?

As tensions rise, Posy comes up with a plan to solve both their problems, all she needs to do is persuade Lucas to go along with it. Trouble is, how do you ask your high school enemy to pretend you’re madly in love when everyone knows you don’t get along? And what happens when that plan involves a wedding, honeymoon and an old school bylaw stating that the school will pay for the entire event…

Surely Posy has thought everything through, hasn’t she?

The Reunion is a debut novel with all the pieces for a great novel, but it, unfortunately, fell short in a lot of areas for me. Honestly, I normally do not DNF novels as I love to see them through to the end, but this one came extremely close for me. The only reason I kept going was because it was a debut and I wanted to give the benefit of the doubt. On its surface, this novel is about two characters who did not like each other while in school. They meet again to see that each of them is in a place where a relationship of convenience would benefit them. The two of them end up spending time together to see that maybe they are no longer enemies after all. This general premise is something that sounded amazing, but, again, it unfortunately just never got there for me.

Posy Edwins and Lucas O’Rourke first met at the elite Arundel College. Posy was a rich socialite while Lucas was attending on a scholarship as the son of two staff members. They each became Head Girl and Head Boy during their final year with a school rule where if the two prefects marry, then the school will pay for their wedding and honeymoon. This comes back to Posy’s mind when she is older, and her father has cut her off as he wants her to start being more serious. As a photographer, Posy has been invited to a festival in Hawaii, but she now needs the funds to pay for the trip. Enter Lucas, who now owns a wealth management business, and has his own issues as he tries to gain clients. After meeting again over ten years later at the reunion, the two figure out that a marriage could solve a lot of problems. Posy could use the money to go to Hawaii and Lucas can use Posy’s connections to help his business. The two begin a relationship and begin to get to know each other and let their guards down.

 Everything in the above summary sounds right up my alley for a story, but Posy was extremely unlikable. It was set up, I believe, to have opposites attract where Lucas came from a humbler background and Posy was part of the elite/rich crowd. He had to work very hard for anything he had while Posy had everything handed to her. The two characters go through a process learning about each other; however, they did not interact enough where I would believe that this occurred. The two also lacked chemistry where it felt, at times, that the novel was about the two characters on separate journeys and occasionally overlapped rather than a story to bring them together. Posy goes through some redemption, but there is not enough to make me, as a reader, root for her. The same went, unfortunately, for their romance. There was no build up where I could believe these two went naturally from enemies to lovers. As there were some subplots throughout the story, I wish the author deleted those and instead focused on building the romance.

While I can understand where the author was going with Lucas and Posy’s story, the one area that just truly did not work at all were the fat-shaming jokes. As a plus size person, I even partake in my own jokes amongst my friends/family and am not a stranger to them being used in a negative way. The way they were written in this story came across as attempting to be humorous, but it just came across as mean and unnecessary. Fat-shaming was not the only one that was bothersome as there were many others, including economic-shaming as even Lucas’s nickname was “Helpboy.” I’ve read many novels that included all of these more “offensive” topics, but they were handled in a different way where they did not come across as just being there for the sake of trying to be funny. If the author wanted to include any of these “jokes”, then it would have been more beneficial, for me, to put some more care where they felt like natural banter and not mean.

Overall, the premise was amazing and drew me to read this story. Posy may have been introduced as a very unlikable character, she had potential for redemption. This kept me reading as I kept hoping for her to grow and become better, for me. Lucas started great as he was likable from the start, although I am not sure if he truly was likable or just likable in comparison to Posy, but I did not feel any growth from him except for the allowances he made in his life to accommodate Posy. The writing and pacing worked well for me, and I liked the author’s general style at its core. This novel was not for me and, unfortunately, one that I would not recommend; however, there is enough in the author’s style where I would give her next novel a try.

**I give a special thank you to Netgalley and the publisher, HarperCollins UK, for the opportunity to read this enjoyable novel. The opinions expressed are completely my own.**

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