Three things in life terrified Vlad. A flare up without a bathroom in sight. Running over an animal with his car. And this. Waking up to find his friends circling his bed, their arms crossed and eyes narrowed in matching expressions of resistance is futile. He was about to get book clubbed.
Nashville hockey player, Vlad Konnikov has been a loyal member of the Bromance Book Club since day one and he may be the most hopeless romantic of them all. But he’s been keeping a secret. His marriage is not exactly…real. His wife has been away for 6 years, getting her degree in Chicago. Vlad married her to get her out of Russia and give her a chance at a more substantial life. His hope was that the love would come later. He made a decision that when Elena graduated from school—they would have a real marriage. They would finally build a life together.
Elena has other plans. She blindsides Vlad with a request for a divorce. She wants to go back to Russia to be a journalist and finally figure out what happened to her father who disappeared years earlier.
But an accident on the ice, pushes Vlad and Elena closer than they’ve been in 6 years. And suddenly their relationship is a mess of misunderstandings, unspoken feelings, and chemistry that has been ignored for too long. Vlad believes that Elena will never love him, while Elena believes she is nothing more than a burden to Vlad.
Enter bookclub. The guys rally around Vlad, using his own unfinished manuscript to teach him the most important lessons about communicating and showing Elena that he really wants her to be a part of his life and has for a long time.
Vlad’s recovery and journey back to the ice lends him the perfect opportunities to put those lessons into action.
I love this series. I’ll admit the first book was a little bit hokey, but every subsequent one is better than the last. I like the idea of men sitting around reading romance novels in an attempt to better understand women. The theme of non-toxic masculinity is introduced in such a unique way. They are not portrayed as perfect men, but as men who want to better themselves and use this book club as the vehicle to do that.
“The Russian” as Vlad is referred to in the earlier books always felt like a bonus character to me. Due to an undiagnosed gluten allergy, he was often the butt of the jokes, so he came off as sort of the comic relief and was never really rooted into the story, so I was happy to have the opportunity to see his character fully fleshed out—to see that there is more to him than a love of big romantic gestures and obscene flatulence. I desperately wanted Vlad to get his happy ending because he was so enthusiastic about his friends in all of the previous books.
This is a great feel good series. I recommend it to anyone who needs something light and uplifting to read. It has more substance that you would expect, but would still make great vacation reading.
This book qualifies for the “Sports Ball” square: Vlad is a hockey player and much of the story is centered around his team’s journey to the playoffs and his recovery from a hockey injury.