Friday, April 14, 2023

Book Review: Better Off Wed


By Sara Steven

Olivia can’t believe it when her boyfriend, Teddy, proposes out of the blue. She loves him (of course she does!) BUT it does seem sudden, especially when they don’t even live together yet…

There is only one place that Olivia has ever wanted to get married - a gorgeous venue on the Cornish coast, built by her grandfather. The problem is they only have one date available - and it's only a few weeks away! Olivia isn't so sure about rushing but Teddy jumps at the chance to be married within the month.

Thrown into a whirlwind of wedding planning, alarm bells start to ring for Olivia. Are they doing this for the right reasons? Why is Teddy in such a rush? And when he fails to help with any part of the preparations, Olivia must find help elsewhere, with unexpected results...

As the countdown begins, will the wedding go ahead? Or will Olivia find that her future happiness lies elsewhere...? (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads)

Olivia (Liv) reminded me a bit of myself from years ago, when I had a tougher time in expressing my wants and needs, particularly when it meant going against the grain. She is a definite people pleaser, and it was obvious that even though she doesn’t always agree with what others want to do, she has a hard time asking for a compromise. It starts with her boyfriend, Teddy. When he proposes to her, she questions whether it’s the best decision to speed up a marriage, but doesn’t want to say anything in case it might hurt his feelings. 

This vein of people pleasing carries on throughout Better Off Wed. Soon enough, she’s bombarded with everyone else’s decisions, with no one really wanting to listen to her. And when she tries to speak up, she’s quickly shot down. I could feel the anxiety and frustration as she is continually steamrolled, to the point where she finds herself in a potential double wedding situation, with color choices, cake, flowers, and even her own wedding dress up for debate, with none of her own input. Meanwhile, Teddy is nowhere to be found, opting to focus more on business than on helping to plan their wedding. 

As the synopsis indicates, Liv finds help from an unexpected source, which eventually leads to questioning everything in her life. I liked how her own experiences are parallelled with the experiences her grandparents had so many years ago, a nice tie in to the one and only choice of hers that was upheld: to get married in the venue her grandfather had helped to create and build.  And even that is questionable. But gradually, she begins to find her voice, particularly with clarity on what she really wants. 

Despite how timid Liv can be when it comes to expressing herself, she does a great job of inserting one liners and snarky quips that were a lot of fun to read! Better Off Wed was the perfect reminder on how important it can be to spend time with those who appreciate who you are for who you are, without intentions to change you, and it was funny to see how certain people in Liv’s life encourage her humor, while others–the ones who most likely aren’t the right support system for her–try to squash that. I think we can find the answers to life in the most unexpected of places, and Liv experiences that. It was a fun, quirky read, but with a deeper message of finding your way, working on seeking less of the approval from people who aren’t really in your circle, and appreciating those who love you the way you are, and appreciate being in your circle. A definite five-star experience!

Thanks to Rachel's Random Resources for the book in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US * Amazon UK

Portia MacIntosh is the bestselling author of over 20 romantic comedy novels. From disastrous dates to destination weddings, Portia’s romcoms are the perfect way to escape from day to day life, visiting sunny beaches in the summer and snowy villages at Christmas time. Whether it’s southern Italy or the Yorkshire coast, Portia’s stories are the holiday you’re craving, conveniently packed in between the pages.

Formerly a journalist, Portia has left the city, swapping the music biz for the moors, to live the (not so) quiet life with her husband and her dog in Yorkshire.

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