Title: Wife in Name Only [Goodreads][Amazon]
Author: Hayson Manning
Publisher: Entangled Indulgence
Release Date: April 1, 2013
In My Opinion: Worth a try!
One Line: A nice “second chance” love story with great chemistry, although the actual plot fell a bit flat for me.
About the Book: Trapped in a loveless marriage, Zoe Hughes escaped to make a new life for herself on the tiny island of Tonga. Now she runs a successful boutique honeymoon resort. Selling true love is easy. No one needs to know she’s married in name only. At least until America’s premier honeymoon magazine wants to publish a feature on her perfect marriage. Now she must convince her estranged husband to rip himself away from plotting corporate takeovers in LA to save her island paradise.
Rory agrees to come for forty-eight hours, but only because he needs the positive PR. To his surprise, the wife he finds in Tonga isn’t the same woman he married. Now she’s so much more…
When a storm strands Rory in Tonga, will he win back his wife or leave paradise empty-handed?
I do love a good “second chance” love story, as long as it’s done well and while I liked Wife in Name Only just fine, it wasn’t all that engrossing to me. The tropical setting was great, the characters were interesting, it was just the plot line itself that fell a little flat for me and even the secondary storyline felt like an afterthought, so overall it didn’t hold my attention very well.
I liked Rory and Zoe’s relationship. These are two people who fell in love young and as the years went by, they lost track of who they are and became different people. When they’re forced to stay on a remote island together, they tackle the problems that made their relationship fall apart and slowly learn to fall in love with each other again. The chemistry and attraction is obvious right from the start. I loved their dialogue and their witty banter easily made me feel like they fit together nicely, it was just that he was too corporate, while she needed something more relaxed and free and they had to find a balance between both worlds. They were pretty opposite and set in their ways in that aspect, which made me wonder if they were ever going to make it work, but with the added secondary storyline, things kind of just fell into place a little too coincidentally, which I guess was that “un-wow” factor for me.
I felt like they didn’t really grow or change much and I kept wondering when Rory would relax and realize love was more important than work or when Zoe would realize how important Rory’s career is to him. It felt like they were at odds with each other for most of the story, him wanting to go back to his life as soon as he could, and she just needing him for the publicity, and then suddenly, they realize how much they love each other and can’t be apart. I didn’t really feel that connection that I equate to great romances.
Overall, I did like the story and the setting was great. The characters were okay, for the most part. I found some parts to drag a little and others that needed a bit more explanation, but the book is not without its fun moments. Things just ebbed and flowed with not much excitement or drama, which I think was the thing that made this just an “okay read” for me.