It’s been a long time since I looked forward to a book release as much as I did for this one. I only read Boyfriend Material back in April of this year so, to be fair, it wasn’t a very long wait but it was still a very welcome sight to see it finally arrive on my Kindle! I loved Boyfriend Material so much, it was so funny, sweet, and heartwarming. As you’ll recall, Lucien O’Donnell was in search of a man to play the role of respectable boyfriend to help him rehabilitate his image and save his job. Enter Oliver Blackwood, the picture of a perfect boyfriend, and a man who basically hated Luc. Over the course of the novel, their fake arrangement started to turn very real and they ended up finding love with one another. This book picks up two years later and Luc and Oliver are still going strong and faced with trying to figure out the next step in their relationship while it seems that everyone around them is getting married.
Alexis Hall has said that he hopes that revisiting Luc and Oliver feels like coming home and I think it absolutely did. There’s something comforting about reconnecting with familiar characters in a familiar world. There’s also something special about reading a love story where the couple is already established. As fun as it is seeing how a couple actually becomes a couple, I think there are unique challenges when it comes to being an established couple. I enjoy seeing how some of my favorite characters face those challenges together.
The structure for this book was an homage to the movie Four Weddings and a Funeral, which was one of my favorite movies back in the 90s. I watched it all the time and had a massive crush on Hugh Grant even though I was only like 12yrs old when it came out. But I digress.. as the title suggests, the book is told in 5 parts and deals with 4 weddings and a funeral. Just like Boyfriend Material, this one was told entirely from Luc’s POV and if you enjoyed being in his head the first time, this one was just as good. The man is still a hot mess, only I think he’s even more aware of that fact now and his internal musings and tangents were laugh-out-loud funny at times. Luc and Oliver are hopelessly in love but being confronted with all these weddings (all wildly different weddings) and dealing with death and subsequent grief stir up all kinds of issues for our happy couple. There is quite a lot of angst amidst all the absurdity and humor. Some of the issues they deal with are quite thought-provoking, both on a personal and societal level. Oliver, in particular, had a lot to deal with in this one and my heart hurt for him a lot but there were also moments where I was infinitely proud of him. He’s such a complex character and I thought he was so well written. He and Luc may be complete opposites but they truly do love each other so much and I loved seeing their relationship continue to evolve over the course of this novel.
Another highlight for me was spending more time with Luc’s friends and his absolutely bonkers co-workers. Any scene with Alex Twaddle and Ryhs Jones Bowen in it is an instant recipe for laugh-out-loud hilarity. There’s no denying that Alexis Hall knows his characters inside and out because he’s written them all with such consistency between the two books. Sometimes sequels end up feeling unauthentic or forced but this truly felt like a natural progression from the first one for me. Everyone was true to character and it really did feel like a return home. I understand that the ending may not be for everyone, but I loved it and felt it was very true to these characters. I’m also thrilled to know that there will be one more book featuring Luc and Oliver as well as 2 others featuring characters who had brief cameos in this one. It’s going to be great returning to this world over the next few years!!