One of my favorite tropes is difficult women and the men who love them. This is entirely selfish because under this pleasant facade, I am a difficult woman. Some of my favorite people are difficult women. Difficult women are the best and we should be loved for who we are.
Andie J. Christopher opens Not the Girl You Marry with a POV from Jack Nolan, a serial monogamist who has tried to be the perfect boyfriend and is now trying to figure out how he wants to live his life separate from a girlfriend. His decision to be single for a while is upended when he meets Hanna Mayfield just as she is planning the castration of his two best friends. The combination of her ass, her rage, and her face short circuits his brain. Hannah is on a two year no-dating moratorium, but Jack’s twinkly eyes, smile, and persistence in the face of her middle finger challenges her desire to get rid of him before she gets to know him well enough to be hurt by his rejection. Neither wants a relationship, both are certain the other will reject them at some point, but the attraction is strong. And then,because of their professional goals, they each have an incentive to pretend to want a relationship and things get complicated.
What they could have done was make a fake relationship pact, but they don’t. They are stringing the other along, while also falling in love. It gives them both a degree of moral ambiguity, guilt, and anxiety. Jack is told to write a “How to Lose a Girl” piece in order to pursue a political corruption story. Hannah is told she’s too down on love to be a believable wedding planner and being able to plan weddings is necessary to advance at the event planning company for which she works. Hannah’s need to keep Jack around for a few weeks as a boyfriend forces her to come up with strategies to deal with the idiot behavior Jack is trying on. The more Hannah allows Jack to be imperfect the more he falls in love with her. I really loved Jack tying himself into absolute knots trying to meet his professional goals and keep Hannah as the love of his life. On a personal note, it’s never ok to hurt the innocent in order to achieve a goal. People are ends, not means. I enjoyed this book very much, so that should give you an indication that Jack figures himself out. Hannah gets herself together too.
My only complaint is that the dog doesn’t come into the story much, much sooner.
The second book comes out in April, and I’m already excited for the third book, which as far as I know has not been announced, but I have already made it about Sasha and Michael, so there.