Review: Neanderthal Marries Human by Penny Reid

Reviewed by Joanna

This is the wedding book that goes after the romance-getting of book one. It is not a standalone, so can’t be read as a complete story in its own right by any stretch of the imagination. Rather, it slots somewhat awkwardly between the first—Janie’s story of meeting Quinn—and the second, which charts the romance of one of her friends. But it spoils part of book two, so I don’t think it should be read in number order.

Do you like these point-five kind of stories? Infill bits that don’t make sense on their own but give extra scenes and carry on the love? For the right couple I love them, but this tale was fifty fifty.

A big bonus was that it’s dual perspective, which the first wasn’t, and it meant I got to know Quinn, and a huge part of the pull was how he loved Janie.

I’d caught him staring at me this way a few times. Sometimes it was after we’d made love, and I’d write it off as the high of post-coital endorphin euphoria. But sometimes he’d wear it while I carried on unchecked about the difference between hemotoxins and neurotoxins, or why goats are superior to sheep, like he’d done earlier at Spitalfields Market. It was during these times that his gaze felt most unsettling because I hadn’t done anything to earn such a worshipful expression.

But the plot of reaching a wedding and negotiating events already written in the second book meant the pace was a little weird. A new character appeared, got accepted and took on a major role without enough introduction or backstory. Considering he married Janie’s best friend, there wasn’t anywhere near enough story around him to make this part of the plot work in this book.

Janie and Quinn still make a cute couple. She babbles nonsense a lot and he stares adoringly at her. We see Quinn propose, Janie repair the damage between Quinn and his family, and we get to see him settle his mysterious business affairs in his quest to be a better man. (Though, he really ain’t that bad.)

The large host of Janie’s knitting (drinking) friends all made an appearance. In book one I didn’t get to know them that well, aside from Elizabeth, who was in best friend territory and had a clear role. The others merged to a generic group and I found the same in this book. One appears to be set up with one of Quinn’s friends, via a drunken groping scene (her groping him), so I’m expecting to see their HEA in a future book in the series.

Overall I liked the first and last third of the story, but it came with a large chunk of padding and a fair bit of ridiculousness. See a scene in Vegas with the women stripped to their underwear in a chapel, wildly out of control and refusing to leave unless someone got married. Um, no.

Course the wedding was beautiful, but even then I ended up skimming until the main couple were alone again.

I might still grab Elizabeth’s book as she seems cool, but I already know she got married now so it’s not going to be a surprise for me. (Book two was already reviewed by Carrie, who enjoyed it very much.)

Rating: C-/D+

Click to purchase: Amazon

Neanderthal Marries Human
by Penny Reid
Release Date: June 14, 2014
Publisher: Caped Publishing

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