15 May 2013

Wife In Name Only by Hayson Manning

Wife in Name Only

4 stars

Rory and Zoe Hughes are an estranged married couple living apart for year--Rory is in Los Angeles and Zoe in Tonga. She runs a successful honeymoon resort which sells happily ever after. The only problem was no one knows except Zoe that her marriage was a sham. And now, a famous honeymoon magazine wants to run a story about her and Rory.
So Zoe must convince her estranged husband to come to Tonga and pretend to be happily married to generate publicity for the resort.

This story started a little slow for me, and I wasn't feeling Rory or Zoe until about 20% to 30% when it was slowly revealed how their marriage unraveled and we get to see how these two people who were so much in love lost each other along the way.

Rory Hughes

“I fell in love with the young, ambitious, driven, but kind Rory. I fell out of love with the cutthroat businessman who’d sell his soul for a merger. The speak-or-shut-up guy.”

Rory Hughes was a business who came from the wrong side of the tracks. He literally had nothing except for a drive and ambition to succeed. This would be normal of course, but Rory took it to another level to the point where he had no more time for his wife. No time at all. And worse, became somewhat unscrupulous, sacrificing his relationships and caring for no one except the bottom line.

Don't get me wrong. I think he loved Zoe but it was his own interpretation of love. For him, love is giving Zoe everything even the things she didn't ask for. For him, being successful and rich would make him deserving of Zoe's love.

And while I disagree with him and thinks he's an ass, sometimes--well, most of the time actually, Rory's character was actually likable. He's funny, for one, brutally honest, and he did grow throughout the book which I really love. And in spite being estranged from his wife, he remained faithful to her the whole time they were apart. Yay! I loved this little nugget here...

A snort of disbelief tripped out of her mouth. “You haven’t had sex in a year?” She stared up into Rory’s heartbreak-blue eyes and nearly tripped over her feet. Mister I-Can-Have-Sex-Anytime-Anywhere-Just-Give-Me-Two-Seconds hadn't in twelve months? Impossible.
“Nope.” None of my business. Still, a man had needs. A quiver pulled low in her belly. And Rory had needs. She swallowed over a suddenly dry throat.
“I take my vows seriously. As far as I’m concerned, we’re still married.” She blinked up at him, surprised at the ripple of emotion expanding outwards from her heart. Oh.
“But we’re only married on paper. We’ve, ah, we’ve moved on.”
“So it would seem.
“So you don’t have a Rudy?” The words squeaked out of her like Helium Barbie. Excellent. Just what she needed. She tried to lighten the mood as her insides went on a washing machine spin.
“I have a shower.”

LOL! Rudy, by the way, is Zoe's trusty vibrator, if anyone is asking. O_o

Zoe Hughes

Zoe loves ABBA. Like Rory, she has had a difficult life but unlike Rory, she knows who she is. And despite her rebel nipples, which always makes an appearance whenever Rory is around, I actually like her character. She's fun, sassy, and honest with herself. She left her life and successfully made her resort successful.

Another thing I enjoyed about her character was that she knows herself. She wasn't whiny, which I appreciated and when she realized she can't make her husband stay, she dealt with it and accepted it.

Overall, I really enjoyed the story. I was surprised by the depth of each character's development throughout the story. Although, the story started in the middle of the couple's separation, we see a glimpse of their life before it went sour. We also get to see where and why it went wrong.

And while this book is not perfect, it did a great job of depicting very real problems that married couples go through, which I really appreciate. The banter is light and fun and of course, we get to experience the Tonga through Ms.Manning's vivid description of the island.

So if you like your romance light, fun with plenty of heart, this would be a perfect book for you.

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