This is Your Happiness... Because I Says So

Stealing the Groom - Sonya Weiss

Childhood best friends;
A free-spirited heroine to a by-the-book hero;
And their fake marriage.

”Sounds like a cheesy made-for-television movie. Some people won’t be so easily fooled. How are we going to pull that off?”

Actually, I am among the easily fooled: I love nearly all of these tropes. The plot sounds awfully like a direct-to-DVD Kate Hudson chick flick, but when it comes to books I’m unerringly impulsive in picking up titles promising this well-trodden plot line. The best kinds of comfort reads offer the most predictable story, putting the characters in the most cliched situations both of which you pay no heed because it’s all about the MCs: their ability to charm me well enough to provide escapist, mindless entertainment with their heart wrenching history, the undeniable chemistry, the snappy dialogue that you quote to death in your blog (if I had a blog).

”It would never work between the two of you. You never see eye to eye on anything that matters in keeping a marriage together,” Ann said.

“You don’t know that for sure. We like a lot of the same foods. And sports. We root for the same team,” Amelia bit her lip and pulled the car in a parking slot… “Life is… I don’t know… sunnier when he’s around. Is that a cliche?” 

“No that sounds like love.”

NO THAT’S A CLICHE. And since the story in itself is a cliche, which would have been okay but this has out-cliched itself beyond redemption as it is further hampered by an utterly charmless pair of protagonists and enough loopholes in the plot it has actually just become one big hole.

Oh but it gets better (not really). Free-spirited Amelia chooses not to stay in one place because she promised her dead parents that she will live life to the fullest. Which is in direct contrast to Chad who leads a regimented life of a workaholic, rich businessman swearing off love altogether after witnessing his father suffer from its ill-effects. So he fears she would eventually leave him and she fears he would chain and limit her to one place.

I’m actually on-board with the “opposites attract” trope, there’s so many ways this could have been executed to maximize the squee and squeeze the ripe sentimentality out of that background dry. Instead the entire book focuses on Amelia trying to teach Chad to become more of a risk taker, how to be more spontaneous and how to enjoy life. Because you know: sky-diving, going to the town fair and owning a puppy is HOW YOU SHOULD LIVE YOUR LIFE. Perish the thought of someone enjoying working in an office and making money. I think that’s what pissed me off the most: that everyone seems to have some vested interest in Chad’s happiness but nobody even asked him if he ENJOYS doing the boring things that he does. His happiness is always pre-emptively assumed. Amelia surprises Chad with a puppy because that’s how YOU SUCK THE MARROW OUT OF LIFE. By shoving a fucking puppy to your pretend husband’s way. By assuming your own idea of happiness is true for everyone. Even at the expense of an unwitting puppy.

It just dangerously oversimplifies relationships as a whole. And I know this intends to play into certain readers’ fantasies but changing the person you love to fit the mold of your ideals and expectations is not one of mine. Relationships are an eternity of compromises yes, but if you can’t love a person enough to know what it is that he loves doing first before forcing what YOU love down his throat then maybe you shouldn’t be together in the first place. 

Much of the dialogue and narrative were mercilessly cheesy.

Help her out of her dress? How the hell was he supposed to stay strong when temptation had his number on speed dial?

And to make things a little bit worse than it already is, Chad is actually bit of a whiner and Amelia spent a great majority of the time wishy-washying about her feelings towards Chad: she married him because she loves him vs she married him because he’s her best friend and she wants to help ad nauseam.
And as if it’s not enough that neither had a drop of charm in their personalities, the foundations of their friendship and eventual relationship make little sense since these were mostly told rather than demonstrated adequately in the book. 

I don’t understand why I should root for an HEA for these two when seeing them get massacred by the vengeful, ditched first bride (who disappeared from the story completely) seems more apt. I'm not even disappointed there wasn't any sexytimes in this story and for that I am giving this the half star part from the 1 star it earned for being short.

ARC provided by Entangled Bliss thru Netgalley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review. Quotes may not appearing the final edition.