Title: The Marrying Kind by Ken O’Neill
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
Genre: M/M, Contemporary, Romance
Length: 264 pages
Book Rating: B+
Review Copy Obtained from Publisher Through NetGalley
Wedding planner Adam More has an epiphany: He has devoted all his life’s energy to creating events that he and his partner Steven are forbidden by federal law for having for themselves. So Adam decides to make a change. Organizing a boycott of the wedding industry, Steven and Adam call on gay organists, hairdressers, cater-waiters, priests, and hairdressers everywhere to get out of the business and to stop going to weddings, too. In this screwball, romantic comedy both the movement they’ve begun and their relationship are put in jeopardy when Steven’s brother proposes to Adam’s sister and they must decide whether they’re attending or sending regrets.
A serious topic delivered with plenty of humor, Ken O’Neill’s debut novel The Marrying Kind is a thought-provoking novel that is poignant, funny and quite touching. While not a romance in the traditional sense, there are romantic elements. It is definitely a novel about love. The love shared between two people. Unconditional family love.
Like most people, Steven Worth has some unresolved issues from his past. He is an endearing character whose self-deprecating humor is laugh out loud funny. Steven’s love for Adam is palpable and leaps off the pages. He has a good relationship with his exasperating yet loving mother and he is quite close to his brother Peter.
Adam More is a quiet, hardworking man. His marriage planning business is thriving and he, too, is close to his family. All is well between this committed couple until a few casual comments spark a growing discontent in Adam over their inability to legally wed. Following an offhand remark by Steven, Adam decides to quit planning weddings. It is his decision to boycott ALL weddings, including his sister Amanda’s, that begins to tear apart his relationship with Steven.
It was quite eye opening to see how much of an impact Adam’s decision has on so many lives. With their personal and professional lives overlapping, the effects are immediately apparent. While not obvious at first, Steven slowly realizes that he does not necessarily agree with Adam’s decisions. While he sees Adam’s point of view, he is very torn by his loyalty to his brother. He is also very sympathetic to the innocent victims who are unintentionally caught up in the consequences of the boycott.
The Marrying Kind is an engaging novel that will touch your heart. The characters are delightfully quirky and very true to life. The plot is compelling and highlights one of the most relevant and hotly debated topics today. Never preachy, Ken O’Neill makes what many people consider a political issue personal. He puts a face to those whose lives are affected by the inability to legally marry. The injustices are many yet seldom seen by the average person.
Funny and heartwarming, The Marrying Kind is a book that everyone should read.