Please note that I received this book via NetGalley. This did not affect my rating or review.
So funny enough I could have used this for a Cannonball 14 bingo because of the constant discussion of stars, who knew. But seriously though. This is the third book by Cousens I have read and they just keep getting better. Potential romance readers may be worried about the plot of this one and if this will work for them, but I promise you it will. It was lovely the whole way through. I called it a chaotic romance and it really is. And you are going to not like parts of Audrey sometimes, but you are going to be rooting for her while you read. I thought several times while reading this book that some characters were saying a lot of things I wish I had heard/known when I was younger.
“Before I Do” follows Audrey who is about to marry her fiancée Josh. Audrey feels a bit “off” the night before their wedding and wonders if this is what she really wants and can she and Josh make each other truly happy. Audrey is shocked when Josh’s sister brings Fred “one who got away” to the rehearsal dinner and Audrey is left floored about whether this is a sign that means the wedding is a mistake. The book goes back and forth to a time before the wedding and the time after.
So Audrey is a bit of a mess. And there’s good reason she is we slowly find out. Outside of her mother’s multiple marriages, she’s still reeling from an incident when she was a young woman which left her feeling guilty. And now that Fred, the first man who ever made her feel “something” is back before her wedding, she wonders if that is a sign she’s about to make a big mistake. You may want to shake Audrey while reading, but there’s reasons why she feels the way she does, and why she feels so off. An amateur astronomer, it feels as if Audrey is constantly giving up her dreams and has watched all of her friends, even her mother, continue to couple up. Part of her feels the push/pull of that. But we also get to see the many times she met Josh through the years and how he ended up being someone she wanted to be with. The story of Audrey and the story of Audrey and Josh was wonderful to read. And it was great to see an acknowledgement through other characters about how hard marriage is and how often it sucks.
The writing was great and I laughed a few times while reading. Seriously the night before the wedding had the most messy stuff happening outside of Fred. I would have probably opened a bottle of champagne after the dead bat incident (you have to read it).
The pace actually works for this. Cousens does a good job of setting up points in time by saying X hours, days, months, years before Audrey is supposed to say I do.
The ending was great I thought. You don’t get the in between stuff, but almost the entire story in the end.