You may know by now that enemies to lovers is one of my least favorite tropes. Two characters antagonizing and sniping at each other can often veer into meanness and that never works for me. The blurb for this also alluded to it being a relationship in trouble. I knew I had to give it a try and hoped for the best.
When your nemesis also happens to be your fiancé, happily ever after becomes a lot more complicated in this wickedly funny, lovers-to-enemies-to-lovers romantic comedy debut.
Naomi Westfield has the perfect fiancé: Nicholas Rose holds doors open for her, remembers her restaurant orders, and comes from the kind of upstanding society family any bride would love to be a part of. They never fight. They’re preparing for their lavish wedding that’s three months away. And she is miserably and utterly sick of him.
Naomi wants out, but there’s a catch: whoever ends the engagement will have to foot the nonrefundable wedding bill. When Naomi discovers that Nicholas, too, has been feigning contentment, the two of them go head-to-head in a battle of pranks, sabotage, and all-out emotional warfare.
But with the countdown looming to the wedding that may or may not come to pass, Naomi finds her resolve slipping. Because now that they have nothing to lose, they’re finally being themselves—and having fun with the last person they expect: each other.
I was not disappointed. This will be one of my favorite reads from 2020. This book kept me up until 2 am reading it. It had me laughing out loud with laughter and also had me crying at the very tender moments.
Naomi and Nicholas have been engaged for about a year and their wedding is three months away. The problem is that over their time together, they have held onto their problems and issues instead of talking them out. They are in that period of a relationship where the shine has worn off and now they have to figure it out.
Naomi decides the only way out of the wedding is to get Nicholas to break up with her. She resorts to petty pranks and he responds in kind. There were some tense moments that felt very real. It was at times uncomfortable. When people are hurting, sometimes they hurt other people. Especially ones they love. But also there was a lot of love between the two main characters. There is a scene where they are mad at each other but they decide to go out to dinner. They are frosty to each other but he orders her favorite drink while she’s in the bathroom and he stacks up the dirty dishes for the busperson because she knows that is how Nicholas likes to do it. This scene made me love them both.
I don’t want to rehash the whole plot, but I thought this book was fantastic. The pacing was great. The dialogue was sharp and witty. It is single POV, Naomi only. There are glimpses of Nick’s thoughts but they are obviously clouded by Naomi’s anger. But for me as the reader, I could see past that.
Here are a few quotes that I really enjoyed and I think you might too.
I tried to keep him at a safe distance where he could only see the decent parts of me and it made us both miserable. I inadvertently let him in to see the ugly parts but instead of running away like I’d counted on him to do, he wrapped his arms around all of that ugliness and didn’t let go.
I hold my ring finger above me and watch the diamond sparkle. It’s too forward for me to lay my head on my fiancé’s chest. How absurd is that? I don’t touch him, but I think about it. I think his shirt would feel soft, fragrant with subtle notes of cologne you only catch when he moves. He’d feel like reassurance. Quiet strength. Security. The bright coals of a fire. He’d feel like warm arms on a cold starry night, breaths puffing up white. He would feel like a sturdy old house in the woods and a plaid winter cap. Nicholas Benjamin Rose is a good man right down to his bones, and that is true even if he and I have been impossible.
If you like flawed characters who sometimes behave badly and say petty things, I think you will really enjoy this. I know the price is high ($12 on kindle) but I think it is worth it.
I do like the enemies-to-lovers trope (although I prefer to think of it as antagonists-to-lovers), but, in order for the trope to work, there have to be valid reasons for the antagonism on both sides and the behavior of the MCs has to proceed organically from those reasons and not because of emotional immaturity or abusive tendencies. I absolutely love it when the MCs realize how much they admire and are unwillingly attracted to their antagonist. A perfect recent example for me is CD Reiss’s IRON CROWNE (one of my favorite books of 2019): she’s an environmental lawyer, he’s a real estate developer with a reputation for skirting environmental regulations. They meet when her law firm sues his company and sparks fly. Reiss does a really good job of keeping the sexual tension on a constant simmer and of being even-handed as to the feelings and motivations of both the hero and heroine. Great stuff!
This does sound appealing, Kini. Thanks for your review!