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Just One of the Groomsmen - Book Review

by Mary Knutson 2 years ago in literature
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Cheesy Ideal or Adorable Appeal?

Photo by Nicholas Githiri

Not going to lie, I started this book off extremely wary. I’m always leery of romance novels because I find they are often cheesy, have flat characters, and can be incredibly boring when the subplots (if there even are any) show up. However, that wasn’t the case for Just One of the Groomsmen! It was funny, relatable, had amazing characters, and the subplots intertwined with the main storyline beautifully!

The ways Addie reacted to her friends and family were all too relatable! She responded to situations in a way that was real and true to how actual people behave…especially stubborn people. Tucker was always ready to take a stand and push back against what other people thought, even if he was wrong. Both were stubborn and strong on their own, but together they were practically unstoppable.

Madsen also took an interesting approach in the story by showing two different perspectives in each chapter. Usually divided pretty evenly, half would be from Addie’s perspective and half from Tucker’s. It would show a scene from one perspective then the aftermath from the other while they also reflected on the scene from their own point of view. It worked well to keep readers in the know while also being unique in the sense that it has, essentially, two characters’ points of view shown throughout the entire book. That being said, it still holds true with the third person limited perspective narrator not knowing everything that everyone is thinking, the narrator only knows what the POV character of the moment knows and feels.

The dialogue in the book had me laughing hysterically and I couldn’t wait to turn the page and find out what they were going to say next. I was also incredibly impressed by the fact that Madsen really nailed the southern dialect. From the Italian grandmother who spoke in semi-broken English to the typical southern drawl, the characters each had their own voice and their own way of being themselves. No two characters were exactly the same and the minor characters often stole the spotlight from the main characters—whether it was the town gossip or the hyperactive puppy, someone was always up to something.

This book also put an interesting spin on the classic idea of “femininity.” I rarely see strong romance-driven plots that also have strong female characters. Addie discovered throughout this book that “femininity” is not a dirty word, and it’s okay to love sports and that it’s also okay to love dressing up. Addie sets incredibly high standards for herself and realizes that women who love dresses and dancing can too. It’s not a one or the other type of situation because being strong does not negate a person’s interests and vice versa.

Another great thing about this book is that the characters are beautifully flawed and actually learn from their mistakes. It’s rare to see in books or even shows and movies, where characters make a mistake then learn and move past it. Often, characters make a mistake, claim to have learned, then make it all over again later and continue an annoying cycle of toxicity. However, in Madsen’s book, not only did the character learn from their mistake, they understood when the wronged character wasn’t quite ready to forgive yet, and made the effort to show they had changed and would work on doing better.

It was sweet and satisfying to see a relationship in literature that had great chemistry, hilarious exchanges, and found a healthy way to continue forward past difficulties.

Almost all romance novels have a tendency to set unrealistic expectations, but Madsen’s isn’t nearly as guilty as others I can think of. She did a great job showing a more realistic version while still feeding into the fantasy of an Epic Romance.

I personally can’t wait to read the second book, and any book in the series for as long as it goes!

I laughed, I nearly cried, and I always wanted more.

literature

About the author

Mary Knutson

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