Review: Merrily Ever After by Jenny Holiday

Reviewed by Caitlin

Merrily Ever After is a novella in Jenny Holiday’s lovely Bridesmaids Behaving Badly series. It follows the story of Elise and Jay, who are the couple getting married in the first book One and Only and whose actual romance is told in the (free!) novella Once Upon a Bride (which I very much recommend).

Merrily Ever After might be a bit more women’s fiction than actual romance since it deals with overcoming an obstacle in a marriage rather than two people falling in love, but it does have a lovely HEA and is a great entry into a wonderful series, so I think it’s close enough. Any fan of Jenny Holiday should absolutely read this novella.

The novella opens with Elise taking a pregnancy test and learning that she is, in fact, pregnant. This is a shock. Elise has endometriosis, so she had resigned herself to never having children. Jay never wanted children – and has always been upfront about this – so this news is very emotional for Elise. She is worried about the pregnancy because her condition makes miscarriage more likely, but she wants this shot at a child. She just doesn’t know how Jay will react, and she’s worried it’s enough to make him leave. After all, it’s not what he signed up for.

What we see of Elise and Jay’s life is pretty idyllic. Elise runs her own business as an interior designer and she’s great at it. Jay is a partner at a successful accounting firm. They both work long hours and are somewhat high-strung, but they come together over a love of board games and a respect for the other’s profession (more than respect – they are very into how good the other is at their respective job). They also have a pretty scintillating sex life, where Elise relishes giving up control to a dominating Jay in the bedroom. Jay is otherwise pretty buttoned up, so this is a fun side to see of him as well.

(REALLY fun. Mmm.)

Elise struggles to tell Jay, and when she finally does, Jay does not react well. His father left him as a child and his stepfather was a trash person, so he doesn’t feel sold on the whole “fatherhood” thing. He focuses a lot on himself, and while his reaction is sort of understandable, it’s very upsetting to watch a man who prides himself on taking care of his wife leave her so alone like this at such a difficult and emotional time because of his own issues.

Holiday does good grovel though, and the ending is very satisfying (and a little cheesy, but I was into it).

It’s good to check in with the characters. We see hints of what Gia’s arc might be – her job isn’t going as well as it used to but she never wants to appear vulnerable – and I always like seeing Wendy and Jane and Jay’s brother/Jane’s husband Cam. I love watching a strong couple come up against an obstacle and overcome it together, and Holiday really delivers this story beautifully.

If you want a sweet Christmas story about a couple remembering what their wedding vows were all about, I definitely recommend Merrily Ever After.

Rating: B+

*ARC provided by publisher

Click to purchase: Amazon

Merrily Ever After
by Jenny Holiday
Release Date: December 4, 2018
Publisher: Forever Yours

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