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ALC Review: Happily Never After by Lynn Painter



Release date:  12 March 2024

Rating: 4.25/5

Narrators:  Helen Laser, Sean Patrick Hopkins

Book boxes:  BOTM March

Synopsis:  Their name? The objectors.


Their job? To break off weddings as hired.


Their dilemma? They might just be in love with each other.


When Sophie Steinbeck finds out just before her nuptials that her fiancé has cheated yet again, she desperately wants to call it off. But because her future father-in-law is her dad’s cutthroat boss, she doesn’t want to be the one to do it. Her savior comes in the form of a professional objector, whose purpose is to show up at weddings and proclaim the words no couple (usually) wants to hear at their ceremony: “I object!”


During anti-wedding festivities that night, Sophie learns more about Max the Objector’s job. It makes perfect sense to her: he saves people from wasting their lives, from hurting each other. He’s a modern-day hero. And Sophie wants in.


The two love cynics start working together, going from wedding to wedding, and Sophie’s having more fun than she’s had in ages. She looks forward to every nerve-racking ceremony saving the lovesick souls of the betrothed masses. As Sophie and Max spend more time together, however, they realize that their physical chemistry is off the charts, leading them to dabble in a little hookup session or two—but it’s totally fine, because they definitely do not have feelings for each other. Love doesn’t exist, after all.


And then everything changes. A groom-to-be hires Sophie to object, but his fiancée is the woman who broke Max’s heart. As Max wrestles with whether he can be a party to his ex’s getting hurt, Sophie grapples with the sudden realization that she may have fallen hard for her partner in crime.

 

Review


4.25 stars rounded down to 4.  My first Lynn Painter book may just have me hooked.  Because it’s March and flipping weird in regard to weather, I was mowing my yard when I listened to part of it and had to stop the mower for safety reasons because I was laughing so hard.  Aside from some Garfield and Calvin and Hobbes comic books I read when I was a kid, I don’t think I’ve ever laughed this hard at a book before.  Happily Never After had a great, unique premise and brought the com with the rom, for real.  I love the characters, the sidekicks (you’ll find out about those—I won’t spoil), and the story so much.  I highly recommend this for folks who love romcoms, but I will advise that there is a significant amount of language and some explicit sexual scenes in it.


I love love love the character interactions in Painter’s newest book.  Witty character banter remains the number 1 aspect of a story that entertains me and keeps me hooked on a story.  Happily Never After has banter in droves.  All the snap backs are clever and hilarious.  The characters prove impossible not to love, and the premise of wedding objectors must be one of the most original ones I’ve read in a romcom.


If you’re hoping for a great audiobook experience with this one, you’ll not be disappointed.  The narrators did such a great job, and the audiobook was completely immersive for me.  I highly recommend listening to the audiobook if you get the opportunity.  


I only found a couple of drawbacks to the story: I’m not happy with the use of redneck and hillbilly in the book, as they’re meant to be derogatory toward country folk and perpetuate the stereotype that country people are ignorant and stupid.  I also noted there was more explicit language in this book than I usually find in adult books; it was very jarring.  If you’re sensitive to explicit language, please be advised.


My thanks to libro.fm and Penguin Random House Audio for the ALC, for which I willingly give my own, honest opinion.


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