For What It's Worth

Friday, June 21, 2013

Review: Wife in Name Only by Hayson Manning


17698431Trapped in a loveless marriage, Zoe Hughes escaped to make a new life for herself on the tiny island of Tonga. Now she runs a successful boutique honeymoon resort. Selling true love is easy. No one needs to know she's married in name only. At least until America’s premier honeymoon magazine wants to publish a feature on her perfect marriage. Now she must convince her estranged husband to rip himself away from plotting corporate takeovers in LA to save her island paradise.

Rory agrees to come for forty-eight hours, but only because he needs the positive PR. To his surprise, the wife he finds in Tonga isn’t the same woman he married. Now she’s so much more…

When a storm strands Rory in Tonga, will he win back his wife or leave paradise empty-handed? ~ Goodreads

Source: Copy provided by the author for my honest review

Review:
It's really nice to read about a couple that's already married. Even if it is, as the title suggests, in name only. The earlier glow of newlywed bliss has long passed once life and career ambitions rear their ugly head, leaving Zoe and Rory estranged for a year. Sometimes I like to read about after the happily ever after or as I like to call it - reality. lol

One of the things I enjoyed about Wife in Name Only is that Zoe's hopes and dreams were not dismissed. Rory feels the need to be competitive and at the top of his game with his business, even earning the nickname the Ice Man. It has meant long work nights and schmoozing with fake friends.  Zoe just couldn't take that life anymore and left for the seclusion of a private tropical island in which she now owns and runs a honeymoon resort.

She's successful and happy and doesn't want Rory back. I found that so refreshing. Rory is a bit of an ass when he comes to the island to help Zoe in a business venture. Zoe sees this as their last interaction and then wants a divorce. He on the other hand basically tells her to stop this silly idea of hers and get back home where she should be. It's fair to say I didn't like him. At all. But over the course of the story he begins to see how much of that special spark he took away from Zoe by ignoring her throughout their marriage. Through alternating POV's we also learn what happened in his past to make him the way he is now. I think it's fair to say that a lot of men who come from nothing mean well and think that long hours and business success = money, which in turns = a happy wife. Not necessarily.

There was a lot of character growth in this story mixed with quite a few sexy scenes. Rory and Zoe clearly still have a sexual spark but reconciling their life goals is still a problem. I adored Zoe's strength in her convictions but I thought she could be selfish sometimes, even while Rory was really starting to appreciate his wife's independent streak, business skills and began to compromise.

Final thoughts: I thought some of the obstacles, and even the circumstances that threw Zoe and Rory together, stretched my believability tolerance. Hurricanes, vengeful islanders etc but I liked the core couple dynamics so overall I found it to be enjoyable in spite of that. It would make a great beach read.

Author: Goodreads | Twitter
Publisher: Entangled Indulgence
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16 comments:

  1. Those are quite the obstacles 0_0

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  2. Hmm, not too sure I find all of these far-fetched circumstances too much, a few I can cope with but a story can have too many.

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  3. Okay, I had to laugh at vengeful islanders, but it sounds really good! This is another one of Entangled's lines that I've had pretty good luck with and I like the *after* happily ever after, as you said, too. Great review - I'm going to grab this one!

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    1. I guess I was hoping more for them to sit down and have a really deep conversation instead of all the distractions but I still think their relationship was solid and I enjoyed reading it.

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  4. This all does sound like a bit much but I love the idea of the bones of the romance storyline:)

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  5. Yes, Karen! I love the stories about married couples and how the daily stresses and bad choices can cause such strain. I'm so glad you enjoyed the story, despite the few unbelievable aspects.

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    1. I think you can dig a little deeper into a relationship when you dive into an after the HEA story.

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  6. I like character growth and I can see it stretching the tolerance level for believability. Still as long as you enjoyed it, I think I could take it. I really like the sound of Zoe.

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    1. It's the character growth that won me over. I wasn't sure I could ever like Rory but I did and I love that Zoe kept her independent streak and her own needs/wants in mind.

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  7. Hmmm, I liked your review, but I'm not sure this is for me. It really turned me off in the synopsis that the woman had to change herself for the man to fall in love with her. From your review it sounds like that was worded a little wrong, but still :(

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    1. That's not what happens at all which is why I enjoyed it so much despite a few flaws. Zoe stays true to herself the entire time. It's the husband who has to shape up! She's one of the stronger female characters I've read about.

      You probably wouldn't like Rory at first though. He's very pigheaded at alpha in the beginning.

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  8. AHH I love Figment! So cute. I love books with great character growth but if they stray out of the unrealistic territory then I start rolling my eyes, I am guessing that happened to you with this one. Thanks for the honest review!

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  9. Great and insightful review. I am so glad there is a story out there where the husband *sees* the wife...and thus begins to see himself.

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