Love Her or Lose Her by Tessa Bailey

Photo of the book Love Her or List Her by Tessa Bailey

Photo of the book Love Her or List Her by Tessa Bailey

Financial abuse, a controlling husband, and an unhealthy relationship, oh my! I’ll be honest, I really didn’t love the first book in the series – Fix Her Up – but I decided to give the second one, Love Her or Lose Her, a shot. The reason I decided to try it out was because it had a different story than most of the romances I read. This book is about two characters who are already married and have gone through their meet cute and their love story and who are now considering getting divorced. Somehow, this book was even worse than the first and I definitely will not be reading anything else that this author puts out.

Rosie and Dominic Vega are the perfect couple: high school sweethearts, best friends, madly in love. Well, they used to be anyway. Now Rosie’s lucky to get a caveman grunt from the ex-soldier every time she walks in the door. Dom is faithful and a great provider, but the man she fell in love with ten years ago is nowhere to be found. When her girlfriends encourage Rosie to demand more out of life and pursue her dream of opening a restaurant, she decides to demand more out of love, too. Three words: marriage boot camp.

Never in a million years did Rosie believe her stoic, too-manly-to-emote husband would actually agree to relationship rehab with a weed-smoking hippy. Dom talking about feelings? Sitting on pillows? Communing with nature? Learning love languages? Nope. But to her surprise, he’s all in, and it forces her to admit her own role in their cracked foundation. As they complete one ridiculous—yet surprisingly helpful—assignment after another, their remodeled relationship gets stronger than ever. Except just as they’re getting back on track, Rosie discovers Dom has a secret… and it could demolish everything.

The problematic bits

OK, let’s go through the most problematic parts of this book – this book features financial abuse, a controlling husband, and a super unhealthy relationship. We’ll start with the relationship – Rosie and Dominic had been in a relationship for decades (they were high school sweethearts) but since her husband came back from the war, they had a hit a rut. They don’t talk to each other, they don’t make decisions together, and they barely even touch each other. When Rosie decides enough is enough and asked for a divorce, Dominic outright refused her. He went on to say that she was not serious, that this was a whim, and that they were totally fine the way they are. He refused to acknowledge his part in the deterioration of their relationship or to take her seriously.

The next problematic part of this book also ties into their unhealthy relationship – the financial abuse. We find out in the book that Dominic has been holding money from Rosie to buy her a house. While this might sound romantic, it’s pretty toxic to make such a huge purchase unilaterally without your spouse’s knowledge or input. This is made especially worse because of the fact that Rosie has been dreaming about owning her own restaurant and wanted to save to fund that endeavor. The fact that he thought this was a good idea (and didn’t save towards her restaurant) shows just how immature he was and the lack of regard he had for Rosie’s wellbeing and the lack of respect he had for her.

The final major problematic part of this book was how controlling Dominic was. He refused to let Rosie get the divorce, he refused to even hear her out about why she wanted one, and he kept trying to manipulate her back into a relationship with him. Dominic also totally disregarded her hopes and dreams for running a restaurant and constantly tried to force their relationship to be his ideal relationship. He had no regard for her at any point during this book.

About Rosie…

I actually did like Rosie as a character for part of the book. When Love Her or Lose Her began, she was a strong character trying to break out of a dead marriage and was determined to follow her dreams after all these years. However, as the book went on, she got dragged back into Dominic’s web and was convinced that she was partially in the wrong for the deterioration of their relationship (I disagree).  While she was definitely not perfect, I did respect these things about her until she decided to resume her marriage with Dominic. As you may have guessed, I really did not like Dominic as a character and won’t go into it any further than I already have. One of the only things I really enjoyed was the female friendships in the book – Rosie was part of the women’s group established in the first book. The relationships she found there helped push her to pursue her dreams. Honestly that was the only part of the book I enjoyed.

The Writing

From a writing standpoint the quality was poor and uninspired. Love Her or Lose Her read more like one of the hastily written, mass produced romances that’s on sale for $0.99 in the Kindle store than a traditionally published edited book. The writing was worse than the first book and really felt like this one was rushed to publication for some reason. This quality issue would be more forgivable if the content had been better but sadly that wasn’t the case. physically this is a short book, but it took me forever to read simply because the content was so painful to read.

The Conclusion

Honestly Love Her or Lose Her was just too problematic for me to enjoy. I know some people enjoy that whole caveman-possessive thing in their romances, but this took it a step too far and was really just abusive. Dominic held Rosie hostage in a marriage she no longer wanted to be in and constantly harangued her to not get a divorce, but never actually tried to make their situation better. By the end of the book I just wanted them to get the damn divorce and let each other move on with their lives. Definitely not the sentiment you want when finishing a romance with a “happily ever after”. If you’re looking for a good romance, I’d highly recommend anything by Helen Hoang or anything by Taylor Jenkins Reid1/5

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