cover image Husband Material

Husband Material

Alexis Hall. Sourcebooks Casablanca, $15.99 trade paper (432p) ISBN 978-1-72825-092-2

Set two years after rom-com sensation Boyfriend Material, Hall’s unnecessary sequel sends reformed wild child Luc O’Donnell and his straitlaced boyfriend, Oliver Blackwood, to four weddings and a funeral. The first nuptials belong to Luc’s BFF, Bridget, and strained comedy ensues when she fears her fiancé, Tom, is cheating on her. Next, Luc gets invited to his ex’s wedding, which fuels his anxiety but provides an opportunity for closure. It also inspires Luc to first accidentally, then properly, propose to Oliver. A work colleague’s wedding comes third, and feels the least integral to the plot. Much of the book’s humor comes across as forced, from Luc’s disastrous cooking to a running gag about a photocopier. But there is real drama as both Luc and Oliver grapple with their complicated relationships with their respective fathers, one of whom unexpectedly dies. And the heart of the story is Luc and Oliver’s debate about their own wedding, which stems from their differing styles of expressing love. The banter between them is strong as ever, and fans of book one will be glad to see them again, but the frothy, episodic plot contains so much filler that it’s difficult to invest in. This lacks the magic that made Boyfriend Material feel so special. Agent: Courtney Miller-Callihan, Handspun Literary. (Aug.)