Only You Revives the Wedding-Romance Genre with Humor and Heart

Like many other women, I’ve dreamed of my own wedding countless times. From the stereotypical Pinterest board made unique by my love for all things Tangled to endless discussions with my best friend/future maid-of-honor regarding my wish list, the only thing missing at this point is the groom. That’s a minor detail.

Needless to say, weddings are incredibly fun. Not just because it’s the one day where you can basically make any of your fantasies come true, but it’s an amazing celebration with family and friends on a new adventure in your life. And that’s what makes me so excited for wedding-centric romance novels. I was lucky enough to receive a copy of Only You by Denise Grover Swank from Forever, an imprint of Grand Central Publishing. Only You was a wonderfully funny and heartwarming story of two individuals who found love in the unlikeliest of ways.

Kevin Vandemeer has just returned from his final tour in Afghanistan as a Marine, and wants to make a new life for himself back in his hometown of Blue Springs, Missouri. Unfortunately, that meant trusting his sister to find him a new home. It turns out to be the fixer-upper of all fixer-uppers. With a giant hole in the front porch and much of the house  basically needs a gut job, Kevin can’t imagine how it could get any worse. After hanging out with his childhood friends, they’ve sworn off women due to a series of bad and bizarre experiences. But his newfound pact is immediately broken when he catches a glimpse of his next-door-neighbor Holly Greenwood.

Holly quickly became one of my favorite heroines with her good-natured spirit, yet surprisingly sassy moments. She’s a strong, independent woman striving to make her mark on the wedding industry. As an up-and-coming wedding planner, she’s focused on creating the dream wedding for her client to date. Add in the fact she has to deal with an over-demanding boss, and her professional life is more than enough for any woman to handle.  However, the moment she meets Kevin, she’s forced to confront her own turbulent feelings on love and relationships.

Their entire relationship is absolutely hilarious and adorable. The chemistry between the two sparks immediately, and their connection only grows stronger every time they meet. Things start off a bit quickly, yet subsequent meetings allow Holly and Kevin to truly get to know one another. The push-and-pull between the two is prevalent throughout the story. The reluctance on both ends to start anything serious lends itself to some really funny and cute interactions.  This also leads to some serious misunderstandings which add some lighthearted drama to the romance. I definitely yelled internally at the character, so frustrated by their rash assumptions. Luckily, in my need to see how they worked things out, I flew through the book.

What I truly loved about Only You was not only Holly and Kevin, but the secondary characters as well. The secondary cast played a huge role of the story. From Kevin’s charmingly meddlesome younger sister Megan to Holly’s pessimistic but lovable cousin Melanie, every single one had as much a part in the love story as the two love interests. Also, joining Holly on her biggest wedding event to date with the bride-from-hell and her mother-in-law provided an entertaining subplot.

Swank seamlessly weaves the characters together for a beautiful and highly entertaining romance. The incredibly amusing encounters and touching moments all build up to a suspenseful climax that will leave you guessing until the very end. I loved the ending of Only You and thought it was a satisfying ending for all the characters involved. The character development is spectacular, and a true mark of what makes a solid romance novel successful. By the time I finished, I can say with 100% certainty that I cannot wait to read the next romance in the Bachelor Brotherhood series.

Denise Grover Swank is a celebrated New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. She has sold over two million books in only five years. Beloved for her romantic comedies, urban fantasy and young adult romances, Swank is a writer with an eye for compelling character-driven stories. To learn more about Denise’s stories and her work, visit www.denisegroverswank.com.

Catherine Lu

Catherine Lu

Born and raised in Southern California, Catherine has always been enthralled by the power of stories in films, television shows, and books. Having grown up in perpetual sunshine, her penchant for sweaters remains a mystery. Her loves include her family, friends, Lucky, and books. She has probably listened to the High School Musical soundtracks more than any other individual you’ve ever met. Once a wildcat, always a wildcat! And unlike Zac Efron, she means it. Speaking of music, she is forever and always an unapologetic Swiftie. And as a hopeless romantic, she has unreasonably high standards. Case in point, you have to be an English spy with an amazing jawline, own an adorable pug, and have starred in a movie with Colin Firth. Or you could just be Captain America or Kellar Banks. All are perfectly acceptable options. As a daydreamer, she loves writing a mix of personal narratives with a dash of fiction just to spice things up. To this day, she strives to live on the bright side.
Catherine Lu
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