This book continues the tale of the other groom in the failed arranged married from the first story, along with evoking plenty of thematic echoes to create an excellent duet of stories. Denning held back a lot of Harrison’s half of the story in Rearranged in order not to spoil this half of the narrative. The man who felt more like some sort of plot device before is now a fully fleshed-out character who deserves his own love story instead of a fake marriage to a friend who would never have become more.
Instead, Harrison has always had his sight on someone else he thought could never become more. This novel verges on taboo in that the romantic interest is his step-brother, but Denning makes it clear as soon as possible in the text that Harrison and Jack meet in their late teens/early twenties and only exhibited signs of awkward brotherhood when pushed by their overbearing parents. However, seeing Rowan throw caution to the wind prompts Harrison to do the same, and the next morning, he knows he’s found his future.
Unfortunately, Jack doesn’t have as much faith and runs immediately. Since the characters already share a background instead of the impulsiveness that bound Rowan and Sid, his actions are less romantic here when a rational discussion would have better served. But Jack and Harrison have been idiots in love for too many years, and everyone in this book has about as much anxiety as those in the first. Luckily, they get their acts together without too much drama, and at least everyone is sober in this particular impulsive wedding.
I’m not sure how well this book stands alone, but I’m glad that I read book 1 anyway. The ripple effect of Rowan and Sid’s single spontaneous act shows how no characters exist in isolation, and as a bonus, we also learn a bit more about the prenup mystery that I felt wasn’t quite solved previously. Overall, this duo shares the lovely theme of staying true to yourself in the face of previous obstacles. And though this particular book was incredibly low angst, Harrison and Jack did experience and prevail over dark moments, and they more than deserve their happily ever after together.
Disclaimer: I received an advanced review version of this ebook from the author.
Rating: 4.5 (out of 5) stars. Cross-posted to Amazon and Goodreads.