'Not the Girl You Marry' is a literary confection

“Life is one big love story with hundreds of little love stories within it.” — Ram Charan

The romantic comedy genre in both books and film always has a formulaic take that the leads will end up with their happily ever after. As consumers of rom-coms we know that going into the story and still we find ourselves rooting for our hapless heroes as they bungle through the mores of their love lives. We know how it will end, but we can’t help but hold our breath when the couple stumbles. Our latest read is a modern take on “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” that follows the budding relationship between two people unwilling to dive into the dating pool.

Not the Girl You Marry by Andie J. Christopher

Jack is recovering from a breakup and Hannah is completely over men when they encounter one another at a hipster bar in Chicago. Both characters, in typical rom-com fashion aren’t looking for anyone, in fact, Jack is trying to be single after a slew of serial relationships and Hannah has sworn off men after her last ex made her feel unloveable. After a shared interest in a taco cart and a couple of sparks both of them begin to reconsider their stances on their respective single lives until fate intervenes.

Hannah wants to break into her firm’s wedding planning department, but her boss thinks she’s too cynical for the taffeta and lace that goes hand and hand with wedding planning. When her boss suggests that she’ll give Hannah the promotion she’s angling for if she couples up, Hannah decides to use Jack to get a promotion. At the same time Jack, who finds himself interested in someone for the first time in a while, is assigned to write a terrible article about how to get a woman to dump him. As the two each use the other in the hopes of climbing the corporate ladder, they find themselves surprised when they begin to fall into deeper emotional waters with one another.

Andie J. Christopher’s novel is like taking a bite of cotton candy, it’s light and sweet but also a bit sticky.

From the book jacket…

“Jack Nolan is a gentleman, a journalist, and unlucky in love. His viral success has pigeon-holed him as the how-to guy for a buzzy, internet media company instead of covering hard-hitting politics. Fed up with his fluffy articles and the app-based dating scene as well, he strikes a deal with his boss to write a final piece de resistance: How to Lose a Girl. Easier said than done when the girl he meets is Hannah Mayfield, and he’s not sure he wants her to dump him.

Hannah is an extremely successful event planner who’s focused on climbing the career ladder. Her firm is one of the most prestigious in the city, and she’s determined to secure her next promotion. But Hannah has a bit of an image problem. She needs to show her boss that she has range, including planning dreaded, romantic weddings. Enter Jack. He’s the perfect man to date for a couple weeks to prove to her boss that she’s not scared of feelings.

Before Jack and Hannah know it, their fake relationship starts to feel all too real — and neither of them can stand to lose each other.”

If you enjoy…

For those looking to find love between the pages of a book, readers might enjoy “Evvie Drake Starts Over” by Linda Holmes. The witty rom-com bounces back and forth between a widow with a secret and baseball player labeled a “head case.” Readers might also enjoy the sweet relationships crafted by Jasmine Guillory in her books “The Wedding Date,” “The Proposal,” “The Wedding Party” and “Royal Holiday.”