For a romance that’s a bit different than most but has familiar tropes worked in, for a book that made me cackle and cackle and really just laugh a ton, for a lovers who are enemies back to lovers kind of storyline that strays a bit from the usual in all the best ways
Naomi Westfield has the perfect fiancé: Nicholas Rose holds doors open for her, remembers her restaurant orders, and comes from the kind of upstanding society family any bride would love to be a part of. They never fight. They’re preparing for their lavish wedding that’s three months away. And she is miserably and utterly sick of him. Naomi wants out, but there’s a catch: whoever ends the engagement will have to foot the nonrefundable wedding bill. When Naomi discovers that Nicholas, too, has been feigning contentment, the two of them go head-to-head in a battle of pranks, sabotage, and all-out emotional warfare. But with the countdown looming to the wedding that may or may not come to pass, Naomi finds her resolve slipping. Because now that they have nothing to lose, they’re finally being themselves–and having fun with the last person they expect: each other.
On Valentine’s Day we sat in separate rooms and tagged each other in gushing Facebook posts. We don’t need to say sweet words in person because we know what Real Love is.You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle
I read Angelica’s review and that reminded me of how I had wanted to read this book when it came out, before it fell off my radar. Well, she successfully brought it back to my mind, and it was available at the library right away so the fates were aligned! And, oh my, was this exactly what I needed at the moment!
So many romance novels or romcoms are of a couple who are first meeting and starting to fall in love. This one is well after that, when they’re sort of falling out of love. As for me, well, I loved that! It’s a refreshing change to the usual formula. Having felt that fizzle in a relationship when it starts feeling more like an annoying roommate than the love of your life, Naomi’s fears mirrored my own from the past. They delivered poignant moments that made it so easy to sympathize with her.
And, of course, Nick. The evildoer in this case, the man we have to hate. Hogle successfully played a few tricks and avoided the trap of a flat character to take all the blame. We quickly move into a more dynamic relationship between Nick and Naomi… even if it is mostly characterized by the increasingly terrible things they do to each other. Honestly, some of them had me cringing so hard; I hate people being deliberately cruel to each other. But luckily, the story progresses, and I was able to start laughing again.
I’ve already mentioned two out of my top three fav things: how manically funny the book is, and the familiar pain of relationship on its last legs. My third favorite? Nick’s emotional honesty and depth. Usually in romances, men are not really into their feelings (unless it’s lust). Those have their place, but damn was it amazing to have an MC in this book who not only understood what he needed from the relationship, but was able to clearly state it to his partner. To talk about their issues (albeit sometimes with thrown shoes and the like). Ugh, it was amazing. Who wouldn’t want someone so self-aware as that??
So in conclusion: Angelica had it right when she read this three times in one week. It’s worth it. And it’s definitely one to buy.
PS – this is another rarity in that things like Instagram and other social media (and technology in general) are recognized as a part of people’s lives and worked in naturally. It’s weird how uncommon that still is in books, but I’m glad Hogle recognized that it makes sense to include!