From the first time I saw the cover and title of this book, I was hooked. The idea of this book seemed so much fun and I’ve been waiting since to read it. But it’s taken a while coz apparently everyone else had the same idea and it has a long line at my library. And wow was this worth all the wait.
First, I have to mention that the book is very fast paced and engaging right from the get go – once I started reading, I just didn’t wanna put it down and flew through it in a few hours. The book totally lives up to the word “bromance” in its title and I thoroughly enjoyed the banter between the guys in the book club. I absolutely adored the idea of them trying to learn something from romance novels that might help their relationships – this was definitely my biggest draw for reading the book because romance novels are always looked down upon, and seeing it acknowledged through the words of male characters was mildly satisfying. There were some discussions about toxic masculinity and how it was important for even men to express themselves openly; while some of these discussions could come across as preachy, I also didn’t think they were wrong.
As the men are reading a regency romance within the book, we also get excerpts of that story and I thought the author did a wonderful job with that story as well – giving us just enough of the story so we know what’s going on, but also to tie it in to whatever the main character is trying to figure out about saving his marriage. I also thought the author captured the conflict within relationships very well, and it felt so relatable.
Both Gavin and Thea are flawed characters, who deep down in their hearts really love each other but have their own hang ups which prevent them from expressing themselves. Gavin took a while to understand that there was more to a marriage than love, and Thea took even longer to realize that she couldn’t project the dysfunction of her childhood into her marriage. But I really liked how they finally decided to open up to each other and try to understand what was most important for themselves. The problems in their marriage, keeping things from each other and developing resentments without ever talking about them, keeping walls up that prevented them from ever being truly open – all of this felt too real and I instantly connected with their story.
While the narrative between Gavin and Thea could be both sweet and angsty, all the conversations of the book club were an absolute delight. I had so much fun when they all tried to school Gavin in their own way, and it was just very new to see a group of accomplished jocks and businessmen try to understand the nuances of romance novels. Del was like the steady one in the group, giving sensible advice whereas Mack was a complete charmer who is too full of himself. The other members of the group were much more quieter, just chiming in with their words of wisdom occasionally.
I was conflicted about Liv, Thea’s sister for a long time. I really appreciated her being so supportive when Thea was going through a rough time, but I also thought she expected Thea to behave a certain way and assumed she wasn’t capable of making her own decisions regarding her marriage. But ultimately they were able to resolve their issues as well and it was nice that they had each other.
To conclude, I’m just glad that this book lived up to my expectations because I had hyped it up a lot in my head. It’s an ode to the beauty of romance novels, the struggles of any marriage, the determination of a couple to make it work and overall, a fun but sometimes angsty love story. If that sounds interesting to you, do give it a try and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. I had a lot of fun and I’m already excited for the next book Undercover Bromance because it’s about Mack and Liv, and I have a feeling it’s gonna be pretty explosive.