Posted in Reviews

ARC Review: No Ex Before Marriage by Portia MacIntosh (1/11/22!)

No Ex Before Marriage by Portia MacIntosh
Expected Release Date: January 11, 2022

Recommended: sure
For characters who might make you cackle in delight every now and then, for a plot that flirts with absurdity just enough to make you smile, for a slow wind into more serious territory where you’re there without realizing when it went from silly to somber


It’s not over until someone says ‘I do’…
While her friends join the “Wife Club” one by one, Poppy feels like that part of her life is done and dusted. Already married and divorced she’s not desperate to go through all that again.

But what if her divorce never actually went through…?

After a shock revelation Poppy not only discovers she is still married, but that Zac is about to have his second wedding!

Coming face to face with her (almost) ex-husband after six years apart is never going to be easy. And when Zac panics and tells his new wife-to-be that Poppy is family, things can’t get much worse as she is welcomed with open arms as part of the wedding party!

As the memories flood back, can Poppy really leave the past where it is? And can she watch the first love of her life walk down the aisle to say ‘I do’ once again?


I think the simplest way to sum this up is by saying that if you read the blurb and it makes you smile and think it sounds like something you might enjoy, you probably will. It definitely delivered, even though going into it I was like “how on earth will they explain that this guy introduced her as his cousin when that would be SO stupid of him??” And yet, in the moment, I was totally on board and thinking that the only way out of the situation was to pretend they were cousins. Yep.

This is a romance of course, and I’d say that the romance in it was a definite slow-burn and honestly a little bit secondary to the main issues of the relationships. Since Poppy and Zac have already had a relationship built and even been married, that initial falling in love stuff happened more or less off screen. We get some nostalgia and reminiscing, but no real flashbacks. So if you’re coming into this hoping for steamy or swoon-worthy moments, you’re probably not going to be satisfied. It’s more of an element to the character’s story rather than the singular focus.

The characters overall are… fine. They each play a role, and they fill it in as well as they need to. Some are definitely flatter than others, like Poppy’s pretty crappy friends and Poppy’s wild-child new friend Kat. Still, Kat was probably my favorite character despite it all. In the end, the friendship aspect of the story is resolved in a few pages, so it does come full circle, but it’s not something we see a lot of throughout.

While it’s mostly really silly and lighthearted, there are definitely some more serious issues that come up in the story of Poppy and Zac. As we learn more about what happened with them, the book does have some more serious moments to match the pain of what they went through. It typically bounces back fairly quickly, but just be aware that it’s not ALL Scotland and movie stars.

And finally: the resolution. WOW y’all, if you’re looking for an ending that’s Jerry-Springer-ish kinds of drama with over-the-top characters, then this will be everything you dream of! It’s all a bit silly, but in a way that still made me smile the whole way through.

Here’s the moment that made me cackle early on:

She cheers wildly as she catches [the bouquet], then almost violently throws it down on the floor in that way you often see American footballers do so.

This image tickled me just right, especially in context of that whole scene! I absolutely cackled the whole way through it. So if that seems like the kind of humour you enjoy, this will work for you. 🙂

A few trigger warnings (SPOILERS!) below, click here to view
    The characters discuss miscarriages and other characters are pretty crass about it. There’s also cheating referenced, though not seen. If you’re a fan of the snowed-in or only-one-bed tropes, then you’ll get your moments in this one!

Thank you to NetGalley and Boldwood Books for a free advanced copy! This is my honest review.


Reader, traveler, photographer, and always looking to learn!

5 thoughts on “ARC Review: No Ex Before Marriage by Portia MacIntosh (1/11/22!)

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