Best Man ★★★★☆ [Review]

Book: Best Man

Author: Chris Delyani

Series: (standalone novel)

Genre: M/M Romance; Contemporary Romance

Pub date: 06/01/2019

Pages: 271

Publisher: Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA)

Source: Netgalley

Frank Mercer is a forty-year-old high school math teacher, newly divorced from his husband and struggling to make his mortgage payments. He thinks his problems will be solved by a romance with his old friend Jonathan Butler, a man Frank has secretly admired for over twenty years. But Jonathan is engaged to Marcus Pierce, his unfaithful longtime boyfriend. When Jonathan asks Frank to serve as best man at his wedding, Frank must choose between supporting his friend and speaking from his heart.

Julio Robles is Frank’s roommate and a popular yoga teacher. Julio’s star student is none other than Marcus, Jonathan’s fiancé and Frank’s nemesis. And Marcus has made it clear he’d like more from Julio than yoga lessons. When Frank asks Julio to pretend to be his boyfriend on a dinner date with Jonathan and Marcus, Julio can’t resist accepting the invitation. And finds himself in over his head.

Frank and Julio invent a fake relationship in the face of Marcus and Jonathan’s all-too-real relationship. But which relationship is real, which relationship is fake? Their story leads them to ask themselves fundamental questions about love, friendship, and what it means to be true to one’s partner.

Please note: This book was provided to me by the publisher through Netgalley to give an honest review. I never go into a lot of detail in my reviews because why would you read the book if I told you everything that happens with my personal bias that you may or may not agree with if you’d have read it yourself?

When I was looking for a book to review a week or so ago this one caught my eye but I decided to review another one first. And so, when I was finished with the other, I went back to this one. In the meantime, I’d pretty much forgotten the entire synopsis. Which is good. I’ve actually read many books without reading what it’s even about. It’s too easy to anticipate something or other happening from just the short description.

In the case of Best Man, it worked out really well for me. I swear to you I was baffled until near the end of who would end up with who. I mean, the author did the dual main characters as many do when they want to show both sides of the story. But it really threw me for a loop. Frank and Julio were nothing alike. Julio and Marcus seemed like a much better fit. Frank and Jonathan seemed almost fated to be together. Jonathan and Marcus were terrible together. What would happen?!

As I said above there were four main characters. Two points of view. At the beginning you could tell how much pain Frank was in. The poor guy was shattered and a shadow of his former self going through life and his routine as if on autopilot. His only hope for a happy future was Jonathan whom he’d been in love with for over 20 years.

Julio was Frank’s eccentric roommate. Kind of flighty. He based almost every decision on what his mentors would do or say but skewed their supposed responses to what he personally wanted. He had an interesting backstory and once I got to see the deeper side of him I grew very fond of him rooting for him to have a better life.

And then we had Marcus and Jonathan. The very Jonathan that Frank was in love with. They were engaged to be married and Jonathan asked Frank to be his best man. Julio, who was posing as Frank’s boyfriend, and unknowing of the history between the three, pushed him into the role. I hated Marcus from the very first. Perhaps because of Frank’s feelings about him. I did feel a tiny slice of compassion for him near the end but not much.

Jonathan seemed like this weak man who was overpowered by his dominant lover. He even let Marcus sleep around. Total pushover who would be so much better off with Frank. Julio had stars in his eyes. In love with the idea of an exciting life that he was sure he wanted. Marcus could give him that life. I swear to you I thought that the story was wrapped up tidily and then looked and I was only a little over halfway through!

I expected this to be predictable. Just one of those fluff books you read with a happy ending that makes you sigh and smile. It wasn’t predictable. And it was an emotional mess. I cried a lot reading it and I think my only complaint would be that there was no comic relief to break the tension. I always say the best books make you laugh and cry. Despite this shortcoming, I did read the entire book in one day. I kept forgetting to look and see how far I was in the book and thought surely this is close to the end!

The ending was not what I’d expected. It was so much more. Although, I’d have liked there to be an epilogue giving us some sort of closure on the way things went at some point in the future. It was kind of a “let’s do this” and ride into the sunset type ending. Sweet but left me feeling cheated in the end. If this were a series, then I would know there would be some kind of update in the next book on how our final couples did after that ride into the sunset.

All-in-all it was a great book. I can’t think of one spelling or grammatical error. It had a good pace to it even if I did keep thinking it was nearing the end. I enjoyed Chris Delyani’s writing style and would be happy to read more of his works in the future. From his Goodread’s profile it doesn’t look like he’s written much in the past with 4 years between his first and second books and a whopping seven before this will release.

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