Max is the oldest of the Mok brothers. He’s a relationship guy, and a bit starchy. After some bad experiences, Kim doesn’t do relationships. They are going to see each other at 4 weddings over a few months. Three of Max’s cousins are getting married in one summer. Kim’s mother and Max’s aunt are good friends. Not only are they going to be at three wedding together – both their families will be there too. (I would put a cry/laugh emoji or gif here.)
At the first wedding, Kim chooses Max for a one night stand. Max has never had a one night stand, but he’s very attracted to Kim so he accepts. It does not go well at all, and Max slinks out embarrassed and not sure how to fix it. When they see each other at the next wedding, Max tried to hide behind a decorative shrub. They talk and Max admits that he performed badly because he was overwhelmed and uncomfortable. They strike up a friendship and then an deliberately undefined romance.
One of Kim’s biggest issues with her previous relationship was feeling like she had to take on the burden of her boyfriend’s family as well her own. Max is very aware that the proximity of his family and hers could send Kim running for the hills. I loved that Max’s family, while not perfect, has boundaries, so that even when Kim’s most dreaded situations arise, Max makes sure she feels comfortable and his family respects her. While they do make adjustments for each other, neither Max or Kim are asked to make major changes to have a successful relationship.
The thing you will consistently find in Jackie Lau’s books, and the reason she is an auto-buy author for me is that her relationships are about acceptance. Whether a character suffers from depression, wants to have a fling rather than a committed relationship, wants a relationship but no children, is grumpy or sunshiney, Lau gives them a person who sees them, accepts them, and wants them as they are. Though they don’t fundamentally change, they discover parts of themselves they haven’t experienced before. It’s lovely.
The next novella, which I think we won’t see until 2024, has a runaway bride and I couldn’t be more delighted.
I received this as an advance reader copy from the author. My opinions are my own, freely and honestly given.