Title: Friends Without Benefits
Author: Penny Reid
Series: Knitting in the City #2
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Chic lit, Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Dates read: 16th – 17th August 2020
Publisher: Caped Publishing
5th sentence, 74th page: Nico frowned and flinched slightly.
There are three things you should know about Elizabeth Finney
1) She suffers from severe sarcastic syndrome, especially when she’s unnerved,
2) No one unnerves her like Nico Manganiello, and
3) She knows how to knit.
Elizabeth Finney is almost always right about everything: the musical merits of boy bands are undervalued by society, “benefits” with human Ken dolls are better without friendship, and the sun has set on her once-in-a-lifetime chance for true love.
But when Elizabeth’s plans for benefits without friendship are disarmed by the irritatingly charismatic and chauvinistic Nico Manganiello – her former nemesis – she finds herself struggling to maintain the electric fence around her heart while avoiding electrocution, or, worse, falling in love.
This was such a beautifully cute novel. I like the idea of people who were in love at a young age re-finding each other as adults. The fact that there is a bit more tragedy and confusion in the past just helped to add to my love of this novel. It was just seriously cute and adorable. And, even though Elizabeth’s wedding is revealed in Neanderthal Marries Human, there were enough surprises throughout that it no longer irritated me.
One such surprise / enjoyment was the scene with the proposal in it. I actually guffawed. A word that I have never applied to myself or my own actions. But here, it is completely suited and works. I actually guffawed and thought that this was a brilliant way to expand on the unconventional relationship that Elizabeth and Nico seem to have. I also like that this less than traditional relationship nicely balances the normal narrative which surrounds love, first love and that forever love which is frequently discussed in this novel.
One of the things I sometimes find difficult in romance series is that there becomes a bit of a same-same voice throughout the series. I very rarely find any which are written in the first person. Yet, Reid is able to do this seamlessly. She manages to find a way in which to write in the first person that is completely different across the novels. Or at least, the first two novels in this series. Janie and Elizabeth might be best friends, but they have completely different personalities. Which shine through brilliantly in this story. It made it all that much more difficult to put the book down…. Luckily I didn’t have all that much I had to do in the way of acting responsibly.
I found the slow unravelling of the past and the intertwining of this narrative with the present a really great narrative technique. Again, it helped to differ this from Janie’s stories even further. It also provided this sense of hope and understanding throughout the story that completely melted my heart and transported me to my happy place.
To finish of this novel, I found Epilogue I was just damned cute and gave a lovely sense of completion to the story. But then, to cap it all off, there was Epilogue II. This made me clutch my chest and give a watery smile. It was just too damn cute.