Friday, May 10, 2024

Review - - Happily Never After

Happily Never After
by Lynn Painter
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: March 12, 2024
Reviewed by Hellie


Their name? The objectors.

Their job? To break off weddings as hired.

Their dilemma? They might just be in love with each other. 

When Sophie Steinbeck finds out just before her nuptials that her fiancé has cheated yet again, she desperately wants to call it off. But because her future father-in-law is her dad’s cutthroat boss, she doesn’t want to be the one to do it. Her savior comes in the form of a professional objector, whose purpose is to show up at weddings and proclaim the words no couple (usually) wants to hear at their ceremony: “I object!” 

During anti-wedding festivities that night, Sophie learns more about Max the Objector’s job. It makes perfect sense to her: he saves people from wasting their lives, from hurting each other. He’s a modern-day hero. And Sophie wants in. 

The two love cynics start working together, going from wedding to wedding, and Sophie’s having more fun than she’s had in ages. She looks forward to every nerve-racking ceremony saving the lovesick souls of the betrothed masses. As Sophie and Max spend more time together, however, they realize that their physical chemistry is off the charts, leading them to dabble in a little hookup session or two—but it’s totally fine, because they definitely do not have feelings for each other. Love doesn’t exist, after all. 

And then everything changes. A groom-to-be hires Sophie to object, but his fiancée is the woman who broke Max’s heart. As Max wrestles with whether he can be a party to his ex’s getting hurt, Sophie grapples with the sudden realization that she may have fallen hard for her partner in crime.


Hellie’s Heeds: 

5 stars, Top Dish, Awesome Beach Read 

The only reason why I wasn’t able to get this review to PJ before she went a-journeying was because I kept stopping in mid-read to hit my husband in the shoulder and go, “Listen to this, listen to this…” and then read it aloud–and then we’d cackle–and I’d go back to reading. It takes me twice as long to listen to the book as it would for me to read it–and here we are. That said, this book was so funny I had to stop every other page or so and read it aloud to whatever half-willing victim (after giving them a “brief” synopsis of the story so far) so they too could enjoy Lynn Painter’s brilliance.  

The story is told in back-and-forth first person POVs of Sophie and Max. Sophie is the greater of the two nihilists, a complete believer that “love” as defined by poets and adolescent idiots does not exist. She’s certainly never felt it. Even when she was about to be married. She felt a companionship for Stuart, an intense friendship–but not “love” of the passionate, all encompassing kind…and she thought he was on the same page. He was not. Turns out he did want a more passionate kind of love–at least on the side–which is how our story starts. Sophie’s bridesmaid hires an Objector, dear Max, to break off Sophie’s wedding so she doesn’t have to marry the cheating SOB. After the failed wedding, when Max comes to collect his paycheck, the drunk almost-bride convinces him to stay and drink with her and the bridesmaid–and he’s almost immediately hooked. 

Neither of them think they’ll see each other again until Max needs her to play the part of Objector in a wedding. Soon they start going to other weddings together, playing Objectors together and having the time of their lives. Each needs the other as a sort of “relationship camouflage” to keep family and coworkers off their backs, which works really well for them until they begin to realize: I really like him/her. Which is shocking to Sophie who does NOT do feelings. Ever. Max isn’t keen on feelings either–but Sophie really doesn’t do feelings.  

As someone who also doesn’t “do feelings” in a Brene Brown kind of way (“It was a year long street fight”), Sophie was very easy for me to relate to. To those of us in the crowd who may have had less dysfunctional parents or childhoods, you may want to shake her a few times for being so obstinate of what is so clearly obvious: LOVE. It’s a nice change of pace to have the girl being the one who struggles with feelings rather than the guy–in contrast, Max is much more a romantic and is much sooner to admit to himself he loves Sophie.  

The black moment was good–but the Groveling was adorable. I *heart* a great Grovel scene…and Sophie’s presentation will have you laughing out loud. It was a quick read with great pacing and hysterical banter. I think it would be perfect in your beach reading (I know how TBR piles can be). Oh, and the secondary characters? Did I forget them? OMG, Larry! Sophie’s cats! Seriously…go read it. 


  1. Sounds like one I need to add to my TBR. Thanks, Hellie!

  2. Wow, great review!! I'm hooked. I do love a great laugh out loud book. This is now first in line in my TBR pile.

  3. Sounds very good thank you for the review

  4. Thank you so much for the review, Hellie! I have this on my TBR. I've enjoyed other books by Lynn Painter.

  5. Thanks for the review and recommendation. This sounds like such a fun read. It will go on my wish list, but is buried under so many others. It will certainlly surface if I really need a good laugh and some cheering up.

  6. Thanks for the review. I am not sure I like the idea of people who enjoy stopping weddings.....but where were they when I needed them?