By Christina Lauren
Read by Cynthia Farrell / With Deacon Lee
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio (May 2019)
Length: 416 pages
Runtime: 9 hours and 7 minutes
Fiction > Romance > Romantic Comedy
Fiction > General
Fiction > Contemporary Women
I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader’s copy of this book. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.
For two sworn enemies, anything can happen during the Hawaiian trip of a lifetime—maybe even love—in this romantic comedy from the New York Times bestselling authors of Roomies.
Olive Torres is used to being the unlucky twin: from inexplicable mishaps to a recent layoff, her life seems to be almost comically jinxed. By contrast, her sister Ami is an eternal champion . . . she even managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a slew of contests. Unfortunately for Olive, the only thing worse than constant bad luck is having to spend the wedding day with the best man (and her nemesis), Ethan Thomas.
Olive braces herself for wedding hell, determined to put on a brave face, but when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. Suddenly there’s a free honeymoon up for grabs, and Olive will be damned if Ethan gets to enjoy paradise solo.
Agreeing to a temporary truce, the pair head for Maui. After all, ten days of bliss is worth having to assume the role of loving newlyweds, right? But the weird thing is . . . Olive doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, the more she pretends to be the luckiest woman alive, the more it feels like she might be. With Christina Lauren’s “uniquely hilarious and touching voice” (Entertainment Weekly), The Unhoneymooners is a romance for anyone who has ever felt unlucky in love. https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/The-Unhoneymooners/Christina-Lauren/9781508282815
This is a cute story about family, fidelity falsehoods and food and that may be the beauty of it: It’s simple but that allows some other ideas to sneak in. There’s a lot of foreshadowing, some written and some because it is how this sub-genre works, so I began to have my suspicions about how the two main characters really felt about each other pretty early early on. Ethan is defensive and Olive is reactive, and is it’s obviously misinformation, misdirection and misunderstanding.
The story has a couple of levels of coincidence, which works in this kind of steamy, romantic comedy that takes it into gawky, caught-with-my -pants-down, territory.
My only issue is that at first I did not feel the love between the twin sisters. I felt Olive was woeful, bitchy, and curmudgeonly. She seemed to resent her twin sister — especially her winning streak and her self-confident nature. But, when push comes to shove Olive dons the too small, hideously bright, green satin monstrosity of a bridesmaid’s dress, and then carries her vomiting sister to a safe and comfortable place.
Ethan is, until later in the book, adolescently pleased to annoy Olive; he harangues her on her wardrobe malfunctions, pokes fun at her first name. When, again, push and shove intersect, he believes his brother.
In a way, I thought, this is a “me too” situation where Olive was gas-lighted by Ethan’s brother. How these little events bring us down. Then again, Ami, her twin sister, is also a bit less than believing. Is it worse, do you think, to be disbelieved by a twin, or even a non-twin sibling, than to be disbelieved by a boyfriend who, in turn, is believing his brother? What about when evidence points to the lover over the brother — like the brother is found standing over the body of his marriage with a metaphoric smoking gun?
Both internal and external romantic obstacles, as well as a couple of twists, are employed. The comedy is often sweet and slapstick. The annoying jabs give Olive a chance to get over her embarrassments. The hate to love part of the story is natural with the enforced togetherness and necessary aspects allowing for a slightly speedier changeover.
The narrator has a great, husky voice full of sensuality, and perfect for Olive. I found her breathing a little heavy, as if she has been a smoker too long. Deacon Lee, (as in WITH Deacon Lee) only does the “Simon and Schuster audio presents” bit.
This would be a great beach read or a super travel tome. It isn’t intellectually taxing, but has some deeper points about family and honesty.