Romances usually follow a pretty recognizable pattern – two people meet, are attracted to each other, fall in love, have some dramatic moment or falling out, and eventually hurtle towards their happily ever after. Most of the time, we (as readers) don’t get to see what happens after that happily ever after. That’s what sets The Bromance Book Club apart – it’s a story about two married people on the brink of divorce – people who had their happily ever after, and let their marriage deteriorate.
The first rule of book club: You don’t talk about book club.
Nashville Legends second baseman Gavin Scott’s marriage is in major league trouble. He’s recently discovered a humiliating secret: his wife Thea has always faked the Big O. When he loses his cool at the revelation, it’s the final straw on their already strained relationship. Thea asks for a divorce, and Gavin realizes he’s let his pride and fear get the better of him.
Welcome to the Bromance Book Club.
Distraught and desperate, Gavin finds help from an unlikely source: a secret romance book club made up of Nashville’s top alpha men. With the help of their current read, a steamy Regency titled Courting the Countess, the guys coach Gavin on saving his marriage. But it’ll take a lot more than flowery words and grand gestures for this hapless Romeo to find his inner hero and win back the trust of his wife.
Right off the bat, The Bromance Book Club launches into the midst of Gavin and Thea’s separation (and dissolution of their marriage). Their marriage had been declining for years, but after one final blow up, Thea has decided to cut her losses. Gavin, on the other hand, is not ready to call it quits – up until their big fight, he had no idea that their marriage was even in trouble. Desperate to not lose his wife, Gavin proposes a deal: if he can win her back in a month, they don’t divorce. Naturally, he needs help getting their relationship back on track, which is where The Bromance Book Club comes in. The Book Club is a group of high power men who sit down to read and discuss romance novels, and try to glean relationship advice from them.
The Bromance Book Club is told from both Thea and Gavin’s points of view. Having these two different points of view was critical in this story – where Gavin was determined to save their relationship, Thea was ready to move on with her life and reclaim her identity from before their marriage. With their polar opposite stances on their marriage, it was really important to have the story told from both of their POV’s so neither one of them ended up looking like a villain. It was interesting and heartbreaking reading about Thea realizing that she had become a shadow of who she was, and then reading Gavin coming to that realization, much, much later.
Honestly, I went into this book already biased towards Thea – after only a few pages it becomes pretty clear that her marriage to Gavin has been one sided and she has never been treated as his equal. Watching her slowly gain her sense of self back as the story progressed was wonderful – her overall character growth was massive. At the beginning of the book, she barely existed outside of her marriage – she had pretty much become a stereotypical Pinterest mom with no personal life. As the story progresses, she slowly gains her spontaneity back, and starts standing up to the people in her life who treat her poorly. I really liked that she didn’t immediately bow to Gavin’s pressure to solve their marriage. She made him work for her, and didn’t accept any insincere attempts at sweeping their issues under the rug.
Gavin, on the other hand, started this book in denial that his marriage even had any issues. He wanted to just rug-sweep all of their problems and continue on the course that they had been on for years. When he finally joined The Bromance Book Club, they slowly highlighted the issues in his marriage and what he needed to do to rescue it. It wasn’t a perfect road to recovery, but Gavin truly dedicated himself to it. He wasn’t a flawless character by any stretch of the imagination, and his temper often got the worst of him. His journey to winning back his wife was just as much a journey to bettering himself as it was to save his marriage.
Hearing about Gavin and Thea’s past from both of their points of view was great – they both had very different takes on a lot of the defining moments of their relationship. Having these recollections of major events in their marriage was a great way to explore the chemistry they had before their marriage fell into a rut. When Gavin finally started to earn Thea back, their chemistry was clear – and made it easy to finally start rooting for them to end up together.
Also, I really loved the inclusion of snippets of the book that The Bromance Book Club was reading to help Gavin save his marriage. It’s a regency era romance that mirrors the story of Gavin and Thea – focusing on a reluctant duchess who has emotionally withdrawn from her marriage with a Duke who will stop at nothing to win her heart back. Honestly, I would love for Lyssa Kay Adams to actually write this book – the snippets we got were steamy and perfect.
Give its unique take on a romance story, The Bromance Book Club was a breath of fresh air in a very crowded genre. It featured men who actually listened to (and wanted to learn about) the women in their lives, a female lead with a strong backbone, and a realistic portrayal of a marriage on the rocks. It was an honest, romantic, and funny book with a whole lot of heart – perfect for reading this summer at the beach or, more realistically, at home (thanks Corona). 5/5
Looking for other fantastic, unique romances? Check out these titles: