~ Book Review: Better Off Wed (ARC) ~

Published: April 10, 2023

Author: Portia MacIntosh

Save the date…!

Olivia can’t believe it when her boyfriend, Teddy, proposes out of the blue. She loves him (of course she does!) BUT it does seem sudden, especially when they don’t even live together yet…

There is only one place that Olivia has ever wanted to get married – a gorgeous venue on the Cornish coast, built by her grandfather. The problem is they only have one date available – and it’s only a few weeks away! Olivia isn’t so sure about rushing but Teddy jumps at the chance to be married within the month.

Thrown into a whirlwind of wedding planning, alarm bells start to ring for Olivia. Are they doing this for the right reasons? Why is Teddy in such a rush? And when he fails to help with any part of the preparations, Olivia must find help elsewhere, with unexpected results…

As the countdown begins, will the wedding go ahead? Or will Olivia find that her future happiness lies elsewhere…?

Better Off Wed is my fifth Portia MacIntosh novel. I love how each novel has the same ease while reading yet the stories feel unique. She has written a ton more novels, so I have a long way to go before I can experience all of them. This novel follows comedian and romance ghostwriter, Olivia (Liv), who lives in London and dreams of writing a romance novel under her own name. She has been dating her workaholic boyfriend, Teddy, for the past nine months and is shocked when he proposes out of the blue while they are on their way to her brother’s engagement party. Doug (Dougie) and his fiancé, Eden, are on the same page as Liv where there is a tradition in their family to get married at a barn their grandfather built in Cornwall.  As there is only one date available, the two couples decide to have a double wedding and there are only a few weeks left to plan the whole affair.

Dougie, Liv, Eden, and their families arrive at Porthian Sands to begin the wedding planning, however, Teddy needs to stay behind for work. This means that Liv is on her own against Eden who wants her dream wedding, which may not match Liv’s. As Teddy is not there to back her up, Liv constantly finds herself against Eden and Dougie (although Dougie just agrees with Eden). Throughout the story, I felt bad for Liv as she kept saying that the decision making would go differently if Teddy was there to take her side. I had a difficult time understanding this as she did not need Teddy and instead just needed to stand up for herself as this is her wedding, too. Throughout the entire novel Eden was a mystery to me as she wanted her engagement to be all about her, yet she was willing to share a wedding date. It was not a major part of the story, but it was difficult to figure out how I felt about her.

While in Cornwall, Liv meets Hugo, who works at the venue and the two end up being friends. Liv is excited finally have an ally as her family took a shine to Hugo and the two even enter a contest to win the services of a famed photographer.  The dynamic between Hugo and Liv was sweet and I enjoyed how Hugo fit into the rest of the wedding group. As the two had great chemistry, it was apparent that they would make a great couple, but I liked that MacIntosh kept the focus on Liv’s journey with trying to get through the wedding preparations. Through the reading process, I had trouble picturing the double wedding in my head based on the prep as I started to picture both couples together at the same time at the altar, but I could not understand why they couldn’t do two ceremonies one after the other with a single reception. It seemed Liv and Eden were on different pages for both the ceremony and reception, but I think this would have solved one issue while still leaving Liv to deal with trying to get her way in the reception. There may have been a lot of ideas running through my head to see how it could have worked with Liv and Eden and their two visions, but I realize that this was not the point of the story. Instead, the focus was on Liv and her journey to realize what she would make her happy and the story does accomplish this. Overall, I think this story had great ideas but needed a little more work to properly execute the details. It may not have been my favorite read by the author, but I still love her style and will continue to read more from her in the future.

**I give a special thank you to Netgalley and the publisher, Boldwood Books, for the opportunity to read this entertaining novel. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.**

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