When making my way through my monthly ARC review (where I pick a book for each publisher/rep and make sure to write an early blurb for it on Edelweiss), I came across this book, which I really laughed at. But I figured, why not give it a chance? And boy was I pleasantly surprised.
The first rule of book club: you don’t talk about book club.
Nashville Legends’ second baseman Gavin Scott’s marriage is in major-league trouble. He’s recently discovered a humiliating secret: his wife, Thea, has always faked the Big O. When he loses his cool at the revelation, it’s the final straw on their already strained relationship. Thea asks for a divorce, and Gavin realizes he’s let his pride and fear get the better of him.
Welcome to the Bromance Book Club.
Distraught and desperate, Gavin finds help from an unlikely source: a secret romance book club made up of Nashville’s top alpha men. With the help of their current read, a steamy Regency novel titled Courting the Countess, the guys coach Gavin on saving his marriage. But it’ll take a lot more than flowery words and grand gestures for this hapless Romeo to find his inner hero and win back the trust of his wife.
Romance is not a part of my normal reading habits. While this has come across as “I hate romance” before at the store when I didn’t have any recommendations to offer people (apparently I made a woman cry when I said I didn’t read that genre often because she thought I was judging her), I wanted to make a concerted effort to be better equipped to make suggestions in that section in the future. But I was still skeptical. The only romances I had read before were Prince Harry and William fanfic, and Jane Austen retellings.
But, Berkley and a few other publishers are really upping their rom-com-in-a-book standard and I couldn’t be more delighted. I’ve always loved a great movie romantic comedy, so I had to assume there would be at least one in book form that I would enjoy. And while I’m not a baseball fan, nor overly impressed by Nashville, I was incredibly intrigued by the premise: a bunch of wealthy dude bros read regency romance novels to save their relationships.
I was tremendously surprised how quickly I was drawn into the story – while Gavin starts as an immature man child who obsesses over his sex life instead of listening to his wife, there’s a strong change for great character growth. One of my biggest pet peeves is when characters don’t really change or grow from the start of a book until the end and thankfully, The Bromance Book Club didn’t fall into that trap.
Thea and the twins, along with Thea’s sister, were my favorite characters in the whole book. They have a great mom/aunt and kids dynamic and I honestly would have been totally fine to read a book just about their adventures together (and I could totally see my sister and myself both in Thea and her sister, as well as the twins. I wasn’t overly impressed with the other male characters, and I’m not entirely sure it passes the Bechdel test, it is a fun and engaging read, and perfect for a lighthearted holiday delight.
Rating: 8 out of 10
The Bromance Book Club is the perfect gift for…
millennials, lovers of contemporary romance, Jane Austen fans, or those who enjoy contemporary Austen retellings (though this one isn’t, it very well fits that mold), and anyone who likes their heroines witty and well rounded characters!
Where to Buy
In the USA, I recommend purchasing through IndieBound or your local independent (most of us received signed copies from the publisher!), in the UK, and many other parts of the world, I recommend Blackwell’s, and if neither of those cover where you live, I recommend checking out your local booksellers! Independent bookstores are vital parts of every local community and I wholly endorse supporting your local stores versus Amazon.