Review | Love Her or Lose Her
Author: Tessa Bailey.
Length: 368 pages.
(Second book in the Hot & Hammered series)
New York Times bestselling author Tessa Bailey returns with a unique, sexy romantic comedy about a young married couple whose rocky relationship needs a serious renovation.
Rosie and Dominic Vega are the perfect couple: high school sweethearts, best friends, madly in love. Well, they used to be anyway. Now Rosie’s lucky to get a caveman grunt from the ex-soldier every time she walks in the door. Dom is faithful and a great provider, but the man she fell in love with ten years ago is nowhere to be found. When her girlfriends encourage Rosie to demand more out of life and pursue her dream of opening a restaurant, she decides to demand more out of love, too. Three words: marriage boot camp.
Never in a million years did Rosie believe her stoic, too-manly-to-emote husband would actually agree to relationship rehab with a weed-smoking hippy. Dom talking about feelings? Sitting on pillows? Communing with nature? Learning love languages? Nope. But to her surprise, he’s all in, and it forces her to admit her own role in their cracked foundation. As they complete one ridiculous—yet surprisingly helpful—assignment after another, their remodeled relationship gets stronger than ever. Except just as they’re getting back on track, Rosie discovers Dom has a secret… and it could demolish everything.
To be honest, I barely remember the story of the first book (even though it isn’t necessary to read this book at all). However, as I read on I remembered more and more about what happened, along with the fact that I didn’t enjoy it as much as I hoped. But, Love her or Lose her was the complete opposite.
I was a bit apprehensive going into this book because most of the reviews I read weren’t that good. At the end, I went against those and took a chance, cause I really liked the synopsis and how little I remembered from these characters on the first book. After reading this, I cannot understand why people didn’t like it as much as I did. In my opinion, this is definitely an improvement from the last one.
This book follows Rosie and Dominic, high school sweethearts that find themselves in an unhappy marriage. It is a second chance romance, which I usually don’t enjoy very much, but the fact that these characters were already married really appealed to me. Honestly, I’ve come to realize that I really enjoy books on rebuilding marriages. I think they’re very beautiful and hopeful for anyone who has been in a similar situation.
We build resentments toward our loved ones. Sometimes we’re not even aware of them. But they grow so strong, they prevent us from remembering what we loved about our partners in the first place.
In my head, Dominic is the main character of this story. I believe that most of the book centered around him and his role on this crumbling marriage. I think he was a bit more interesting because of how insecure he was and how much he had to learn in order to learn to love himself and acknowledge what a good and capable person he is, particularly because all of these insecurities birthed from toxic masculinity.
I enjoyed a lot the fact that the author implemented this into her character without explicitly saying it, even though it was blatantly obvious. Constantly, we see how Dominic has restrained himself into this mold that he had been shaped into while growing up — a mold in which he is not allowed to show emotion or vulnerability, because it is not the manly thing to do. He was taught to provide and support, which, consequently, is how he has learned to show his love and appreciation (definitely not a bad thing, but very important in this book). This is something that affects boys so much and I think it is incredibly important to show how this can affect men in the long run (in their jobs, relationship, and, most importantly, self-love).
Men took care of their loved ones. Not the other way around. That’s what he’d been taught from a young age and the belief was hard to shake, so he lived for the small acts of caring from Rosie.
In general, I loved the story and how much both characters struggled to overcome their problems. I thought it was very realistic that their progress was so problematic, because rebuilding a marriage is not an easy thing to do. We saw how Rosie and Dominic had to get to know each other again and learn to love the new version of themselves (particularly because they had known each other since middle school).
On the other hand, I am extremely excited to read the third book, Tools to Engagement, because I love a good enemies to lovers trope. Besides, the chemistry these characters proved to have throughout this one really captured my attention.