With a strong focus on mental health and a romance that feels rich in its history, this quiet, contemplative love story surprised me – and I’m okay with that. I enjoyed Eddings’ debut, A Brush With Love, and remember thinking that there was a ton of potential in her writing. While I’m not the biggest fan of third person POV, it’s easy to ignore when I’m immersed in a story. And Eddings’ books always have a distinctive feel, which adds a level of unpredictability that keeps me engaged. This plays up familiar tropes (brother’s best friend, fake relationship), while also feeling entirely like it’s own thing. I loved the foundation that these former frenemies built their relationship on – they’ve been in each other’s lives for twenty years, and that history allows them to see past the surface. While both of their lives are feeling overwhelming when they reconnect, they find comfort their connection. And that’s where this really shines.
The story follows Indira, a woman who moves in with her brother 5 weeks before his wedding. After her relationship came to an unexpected (but not overly surprising) end, Indira just wants a quiet place to stay. Unfortunately, she soon discovers that her brother’s best friend – and the bane of her childhood existence – is also staying with him. Jude has been a part of Indira’s life for over twenty years, but they have never gotten along. He’s been working in a Doctors Without Borders-like program for the last few years, and it doesn’t take long for Indira to realize that he’s come back with some emotional scars. Indira may not get along with Jude, but she doesn’t want to see him hurting. And Jude may not always agree with Indira, but her support means a lot. As the two grow closer, their tangled history proves to be a stronger foundation than either would’ve anticipated.
While A Brush With Love had a focus on mental health, this story takes it to another level. It’s the driving factor of Jude and Indira connecting in present day, and it’s as much a part of the story as the romance. Maybe more. It’s an interesting spin on the brother’s best friend trope, and one that I found I really enjoyed. Though Indira and Jude have always bickered in the past and never would’ve considered themselves friends, they know each other in a way that few others do. They recognize when the other is hurting. And I loved that. They were able to set aside their differences and simply have compassion for each other, which soon transitioned into a romantic connection. Yeah, the transitioned happened rather quickly, but it didn’t feel like too much given their past. They know each other so well. I also kinda adored that they found each other’s flaws to be endearing – not just their personalities, but Jude smiles at Indira’s “too big” feet and Indira says Jude’s limbs are “gawky” and his body is “like a rubber band.” It all just felt so down to earth and authentic, which was a major win for me. I do think that a first person POV would’ve helped me connect to the story better, but that would really be my only (personal) complaint. This was a strong 4/low 5-star read for me the whole way through, and a very memorable read.
The audio is excellent! Both Joe Arden and Imani Jade Powers give fantastic, emotive performances, which gives the story even more impact. It’s dual narration, which works for the third person POV. Their voices are both easy to listen to, and reflected the characters’ personalities well. It’s a semi-slow burn with a significant amount of spice towards the end, so maybe not the best workday listen. The runtime is also a little longer than I can get through in a single day, but not overly long. The audio definitely helped spark my enjoyment of the book, and I wholeheartedly recommend the format.
What starts out as a fake wedding date turns into something these childhood enemies never expected in The Plus One, a sparkling romantic comedy by Mazey Eddings.
She’s not looking to fix him. She’s looking to love him, if he’ll let her in.
Some facts are indisputable. The sun rises in the east, sets in the west. Gravity exists. Indira doesn’t like Jude. Jude doesn’t like Indira. But what happens when these childhood enemies find the only thing they can rely on is each other?
On paper, Indira has everything together. An amazing job, a boyfriend, and a car. What more could a late twenty-something ask for? But when she walks in on her boyfriend in an amorous embrace with a stranger, that perfect on paper image goes up in flames.
Jude has nothing together. A doctor that’s spent the last three years traveling the world to treat emergencies and humanitarian crises, a quick trip home for his best friend’s wedding has him struggling to readjust.
Thrust into an elaborate (and ridiculously drawn out) wedding event that’s stressing Jude beyond belief and has Indira seeing her ex and his new girlfriend far more frequently than any human should endure, the duo strike a bargain to be each other’s fake dates to this wedding from hell. The only problem is, their forced proximity and fake displays of affection are starting to feel a bit…real, and both are left grappling with the idea that a situation that couldn’t be worse, is made a little better with the other around.
Start the series today!
These are very easy to read as standalones, but the friend group ties them together.
Nine out of ten dentists agree, Mazey Eddings’s rom-com A Brush with Love makes your smile brighter!*
*not scientifically proven
Harper is anxiously awaiting placement into a top oral surgery residency program when she crashes (literally) into Dan. Harper would rather endure a Novocaine-free root canal than face any distractions, even one this adorable. A first-year dental student with a family legacy to contend with, Dan doesn’t have the same passion for pulling teeth that Harper does. Though he finds himself falling for her, he is willing to play by Harper’s rules. So with the greatest of intentions and the poorest of follow-throughs, the two set out to be “just friends.” But as they get to know each other better, Harper fears that trading fillings for feelings may make her lose control and can’t risk her carefully ordered life coming undone, no matter how drool-worthy Dan is.
Blood, gore, and extra-long roots? No problem. The idea of falling in love? Torture.
Read the audiobook review here
About the Author:
MAZEY EDDINGS is a neurodiverse author, dentist, and (most importantly) stage mom to her cats, Yaya and Zadie. She can most often be found reading romance novels under her weighted blanket and asking her boyfriend to bring her snacks. She’s made it her personal mission in life to destigmatize mental health issues and write love stories for every brain. With roots in Ohio and Philadelphia, she now calls Asheville, North Carolina home. She is the author of A Brush with Love and Lizzie Blake’s Best Mistake.
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