Lottie just knows that her boyfriend is going to propose during lunch at one of London’s fanciest restaurants. But when his big question involves a trip abroad, not a trip down the aisle, she’s completely crushed. So when Ben, an old flame, calls her out of the blue and reminds Lottie of their pact to get married if they were both still single at 30, she jumps at the chance. No formal dates - just a quick march to the altar and a honeymoon on Ikonos, the sun-drenched Greek island where they first met years ago.
Their family and friends are horrified. Fliss, Lottie’s older sister, knows that Lottie can be impulsive - but surely this is her worst decision yet. And Ben’s colleague Lorcan fears that this hasty marriage will ruin his friend’s career. To keep Lottie and Ben from making a terrible mistake, Fliss concocts an elaborate scheme to sabotage their wedding night. As she and Lorcan jet off to Ikonos in pursuit, Lottie and Ben are in for a honeymoon to remember, for better...or worse.
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Um... well... that was... hmmm...
- Bexlyn Wright
Overly Negative, Unlikable Characters
Other reviewers criticize the foul language, but it isn't the use of profanity that is itself a problem: it is the characterization of Fliss, Richard and Ben. These are characters so negative and mean that the swearing just punctuates how foul and unlikeable they are. Not a problem in some books perhaps, but here these ugly personalities cause big problems:
1) Fliss is not only a central character, she is one of two protagonists, yet she is completely unsympathetic. This not only alienates the audience, it is agitating. She is really a self-centered, bitter woman. Hard to buy she loves her sister. She comes across as so crass and cold-hearted in her view of love and sex, that even her relationship with her young son cannot make her appear more loving. (The son does behave far too immature for his age...is this because he's special needs? If so, it's not clear; this isn't built up very well.)
2)Ben as a character is under-developed and inconsistent. Are we supposed to be glad these two are together or not? Is he a good guy or not? I don't think there's any harm in making him more likable, but he is just a pawn to move the plot forward. We never get inside his head, really, and his lack of integrity makes him annoying, also.
3) Small spoiler: Richard appears back on the scene: are we supposed to like him? Maybe some chapters from his perspective would help. But when we first meet him, he is such a bonehead, how can we want anything but for him to get lost, no matter how much he's described by Fliss in flattering ways. Fliss's opinion of him is unreliable because she's too neurotic and bitter and cold.
4) The only two likable characters are each paired with unlikeable characters. Big problem in a romance story because all I could find myself hoping for is Lottie and Lorcan to ditch the other three people, telling them where to stuff it, and run off together to never talk to the others. (If that's where the story is headed, then there is no clue of that by the half way mark.) So the majority of the story isn't light-hearted, funny romance but frustration that these nice people are stuck with such jerks. The story is in a constant state of tension with very little comic relief because these characters are such self centered downers.
The concept of chasing after two impulsive people to stop a wedding is an interesting one, and maybe it could be pulled off with different characterizations or with a different premise. But what they're trying to stop from happening, and the attitude and manner in which they try to stop it...well, it stretches way too far beyond suspension of disbelief. That element of crassness...it's too crude.
It's meant to be funny, and maybe there was some future comedy of errors/sexcapade film in mind when it was written. It doesn't ring true, though, and the chemistry is off, and it doesn't hold together or deliver happy laughs, just uncomfortable ones. It doesn't hit its mark.I want fun, cheerful, affable and charming characters when I read this genre. I pick it up to have my mood lifted, not to be annoyed. The bad language isn't the problem, it's just an example of what's wrong with the overall story.
The narrators, though, deliver such wonderful, lively performances that this audiobook still remains an enjoyable listen. And it is well-written and interesting overall. Just be sure you're in the right mood for it, ready to find amusement in the oddball circumstances and interplay between the dueling main characters. Let go of judgement and expectations, and just listen. It's too bad when critical thinking needs to be dialed back in order to enjoy a book. It's that sort of thing that gives "chick lit" a derogatory reputation. But, if you can do that, this is an entertaining production and still may rate better than much of the other romance drivel out there.
- Elle W