Wife in Name Only – Hayson Manning – 3 stars

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The Blurb:

Trapped in a loveless marriage, Zoe Hughes escaped to make a new life for herself on the tiny island of Tonga. Now she runs a successful boutique honeymoon resort. Selling true love is easy. No one needs to know she’s married in name only. At least until America’s premier honeymoon magazine wants to publish a feature on her perfect marriage. Now she must convince her estranged husband to rip himself away from plotting corporate takeovers in LA to save her island paradise.

Rory agrees to come for forty-eight hours, but only because he needs the positive PR. To his surprise, the wife he finds in Tonga isn’t the same woman he married. Now she’s so much more…

When a storm strands Rory in Tonga, will he win back his wife or leave paradise empty-handed?

My Thoughts:

Zoe loved her husband so much that when he changed to nothing more than a money-making machine she decided it wasn’t worth it any more.  She decided to leave him and go halfway around the world to an isolated island to create a wonderful honeymoon destination.  Unfortunately for her a major magazine wants to do a story about her and the husband that is known in the media as the Ice Man but she hasn’t seen him in a year.  She has to call him and ask for his help no matter how much it kills her to do so.  After they end up stuck together because of an impending storm she is confronted with the fact that she’s changed but he’s still the same distant man who only cares for his business and making money.  She’s emboldened by his secretary to try to reach the man she loved but in doing so becomes someone she hates.  She’s strong enough to walk away from what she wants so desperately but knows won’t be good for her no matter what she does.

Rory was a hard sell in this story.  He’s very brutal in his assessment of Zoe and what he wants but he can’t see that his inattention killed the very spirit that originally drew him to her.  He’s at loose ends during most of this story and says/does things that made me cringe.  I wish we had gotten more about his history as it might have made him a bit more sympathetic but I did get the feeling that he truly did love Zoe under all the macho caveman behavior.  He’s gruff and very obsessed with his business but as time passes on the island you see him changing.  Slowly…  but changing enough that his behavior at the end made sense and I really did have hope that they would be happy and make things work.

This was a good story that I think could have been great if it had been just a bit longer so you could get more of a feel for what made Rory tick.  I mean I got that to him money = security for Zoe.  I got that he equated material possessions with love but I wanted to know more about why emotion made him shut down and panic.

Thanks to NetGalley.com and Entangled Publishing for the chance to read this in exchange for my honest review.

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