Editorial note: I received a copy of The Unhoneymooners in exchange for a review.
The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren is a cute romantic comedy that is heartfelt and full of depth. An ideal beach read!
Christina Lauren is the combined pen name of longtime writing partners Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings. While they’re the authors of several books, this is the first one I’ve read from them and I just love their writing style! There’s an easy to it and the dialogue is both hilarious but also believable.
In The Unhoneymooners, the authors find a way to add a new dynamic to the familiar rom-com trope—enemies to lovers. Olive Torres is used to being the unlucky twin while her sister is the eternal champion . . . she even managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a slew of contests. Unfortunately for Olive, the only thing worse than constant bad luck is having to spend the wedding day with the best man (and her nemesis), Ethan Thomas.
However, the entire wedding party gets food poisoning and the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. Suddenly there’s a free honeymoon up for grabs, and if “luck” will have it—Olive and Ethan decide to go together.
Agreeing to a temporary truce, the pair head for Maui. After all, ten days of bliss is worth having to assume the role of loving newlyweds, right? But the weird thing is . . . Olive doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, the more she pretends to be the luckiest woman alive, the more it feels like she might be.
The story is told from Olive’s first-person narrative. She’s somewhat fearful—she believes that bad luck follows her no matter what she does. And she thinks this is especially true when she’s forced to pretend she’s married to Ethan in order to get the free honeymoon that her sister won (don’t think too hard about that; just go with it). But then, she receives a job offer right before the trip and when they land, she’s immediately taken in with the gorgeous Maui scenery. She thinks what could go wrong here? Well, if you know romantic comedies—plenty can go wrong. But also much can go right.
Despite the “light” tone, Olive does have an interesting arc. Her believing that bad luck always strikes her doesn’t just impact her daily thoughts; it also effects how she treats others. I thought that was an interesting concept that is explored. She learns much and grows quite a bit.
But through it all, Olive is strong and while she experiences romance, it’s not easy ride either. But the most important thing is for her to remain true to herself, no matter what is thrown her way—and there are plenty of curveballs.
Sometimes the enemies to lovers storylines can feel a bit old. But I really enjoyed it in this story and reading the love story develop between Olive and Ethan. However, just because they have found love doesn’t mean it will be an easy road for them. I liked how there was a balance of vacation life to their real lives back in Minnesota. It’s so easy to fall for someone when you’re in somewhere like Maui but the real test is when you’re back home.
And with reading other reviews, it sounds like the authors tend to write pretty steamy content. There are some steam scenes but overall I felt it was more women’s fiction (character development), less romance (graphic descriptions of sex).
Also, can more books take place in Hawaii? I immediately wanted to jump on the plane to Maui after reading this. In fact, despite some unbelievable aspects (hey, it comes with the terrority with rom-coms), I thought the most was when Olive was happy to be back home after Maui. Who doesn’t want to stay in Maui for good, right?
Overall, this is a charming romance that will make you laugh and also smile.