Title: Husband Material (London Calling #2)
Author: Alexis Hall
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Release Date: August 2nd, 2022
Genre: Adult Fiction – Contemporary – Romance – LGBTQIA+
My rating in stars:
My rating in words:
Look, I’ll read about Luc and Oliver going grocery shopping, I’m THAT invested.
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
One (very real) husband
Nowhere near perfect but desperately trying his best
In BOYFRIEND MATERIAL, Luc and Oliver met, pretended to fall in love, fell in love for real, dealt with heartbreak and disappointment and family and friends…and somehow figured out a way to make it work. Now it seems like everyone around them is getting married, and Luc’s feeling the social pressure to propose. But it’ll take more than four weddings, a funeral, and a bowl full of special curry to get these two from I don’t know what I’m doing to I do.
Good thing Oliver is such perfect HUSBAND MATERIAL.
This Summer 2022, you’re invited to the event(s) of the season.
MY THOUGHTS (spoiler-free):
“When did this become a thing with us?”
“Since we went to this restaurant,” I told him, “and you looked at a lemon posset like you wanted to have sex with it. I have to feed you the dessert so it’s a threesome, not voyeurism.”
Husband Material has been my most anticipated release of 2022 ever since I heard about it. And before I heard about it, a sequel to Boyfriend Material was at the very top of my wishlist, even above winning the lottery and other common wishes like that. You see, I LOVED Boyfriend Material. Luc and Oliver’s love story touched my heart, it hit all the right notes, discussed so many deep issues while still being full of hilarious banter and friendly shenanigans. But it ended a bit abruptly and I wanted more. So of course I was beyond ecstatic we were getting a sequel. I dove into that baby on release date because why wait for more of their epic story?
So I guess the big question now is: did this sequel live up to my expectations? The answer is a mixed yes and no. But let’s get one thing clear first: despite my mixed feelings and somewhat low-ish rating (for my standards), I still LOVED the fact that we got a sequel. I loved getting more of Luc and Oliver and I will HAPPILY read the third book and already declare it my most anticipated read of whatever year it comes out.
That said, I have to admit I didn’t feel as strongly about this one as I did about the first installment. It also took me a long time to get through the book. And that’s mostly because Luc and Oliver weren’t the strong team I had hoped they would be. In fact, they fight A LOT throughout the book and there was just a general uncomfortable vibe that I did not enjoy between them. Of course, this fit the story that was being told and I wasn’t expecting Luc nor Oliver to be perfect and have no more room for growth. But still… the happy/unhappy or swoony romance/fighting conflict ratio felt a bit off to me. And while I love and relate to Luc a lot, he got on my nerves quite a bit here and was way more mean than usual (and I’m not just saying that because he dissed Ed Sheeran, but also yes how dare he diss Ed Sheeran). While in the first book he was more of a self-deprecating mess, here I felt like he was just unnecessarily mean to other people, including Oliver. And that felt a bit glossed over, like he was called out on some but not all of it.
But other than those annoyances… I still really enjoyed this sequel. Every aspect I loved from Boyfriend Material is still here and it’s all still so good! We have Luc’s friend group, who continue to be as hilarious, straight-forward yet supportive as before. And Luc’s work colleagues get a lot of spotlight and continue to be a hoot. As are Luc’s mom and her friend Judy and their shenanigans. I still laughed out loud a lot, so the humor is still very much present.
I also really enjoyed the set up of this story, which is based on the nineties classic Four Weddings and a Funeral, in that we literally get 5 parts in the story: 4 weddings and a funeral. It was a fun nod and made for an interesting comparison of all these different weddings.
And while I complained a bit about Luc and Oliver’s fighting, there were also still a few scenes that made me swoon and remember exactly why I love these two together so much. Like that scene in the restaurant of their first date… *chef’s kiss* I just wish we’d had more of those scenes. Also, I just have to say that Oliver’s character growth in this one was particularly amazing and while Luc was my favorite in book one, this time Oliver took the cake on all accounts. The man was supportive, funny in his own little serious yet sarcastic way, lifting Luc up and while he made mistakes or acted emotionally sometimes, he always owned it and worked to do better next time. I mean, go Oliver, you’re the best!
In summary, I have mixed feelings about this book. It was funny and touching and basically delivered all the aspects I loved from Boyfriend Material, but I felt uncomfortable with the main conflict and how the main characters (mainly Luc) dealt with it. But I still highly enjoyed just seeing these characters again, and following them around for a bit. And I will DEFINITELY be anticipating the third book just as much as I did this one. I just hope it delivers more of the HEA fluff and banter I’m hoping to get from it.
I’ve been reading some mixed reviews, so I was happy to read yours. I am probably going to listen to it at some point…maybe. I’m still deciding/
I’ve indeed been seeing some mixed reviews too. Though I’m still really happy I read it, and am super excited to read the third book, even if I didn’t like everything about book 2 as much as I was hoping. I hope you’ll still enjoy this a lot if you decide to listen to it!
As annoying or uncomfortable as it may have been to have the characters deal with a lot of conflict, it’s kind of nice to see that there isn’t always a perfect happily ever after once the characters get together! It seems more real to have them face issues and grow together.
That’s definitely so true! A story without any conflict or growth wouldn’t have felt right either. I guess for me it just felt like the source of the conflict and the way it was handled didn’t feel completely in line with the growth that already happened in book one, or feel real to the characters themselves…
I haven’t read this series yet, but I really want to. I’m sorry it didn’t quite live up to your expectations, AND I’m glad you’re still able to love the characters despite the times in this book you had a hard time with.
I hope you’ll love this series and the characters as much as I do if you decide to try it! Book two was indeed not what I expected, but I still adore the overall series and characters so much.
OK I tried to comment from your blog but that didn’t work so I am doing it from the reader. I thought exactly the same about that book!!!
I’m sorry to hear you had commenting issues! Please let me know if the issue stays, so I can see what’s wrong and try to fix it.
But I’m glad to hear you felt the same way about this book!
I loved this and read it in a day. BUT I also get all of your points about it too. I do wish there was more of the two of them being a couple – and not having issues. The ending was surprising, but it worked for me, EXCEPT, I wish it wasn’t so abrupt.
Lauren @ http://www.shootingstarsmag.net
Thanks! I’m glad you loved but also understand about the issues. I also liked the ending, even if it was again quite abrupt 🙂