Reviewed by Caroline
TITLE: Be My Best Man
AUTHOR: Con Riley
PUBLISHER: Figment Ink
LENGTH: 316 Pages
RELEASE DATE: September 7, 2017
~ Will Jason’s third time as a best man lead to first-time love for Vanya?
After fleeing violence in Moscow, student teacher Vanya Petrov winds up lonely in a run-down London hostel. At least visiting the Bond Street store where his roommate works lets him practice his English, but as Vanya’s vocabulary expands, so does his isolation, especially when he sees happy couples planning their perfect weddings.
According to Jason Balfour, weddings are a waste of time and money. After all, he’s been best man for his brother twice already. Saying that a third marriage will end in divorce too leads to an angry ultimatum: to save his relationship with his brother, Jason must meet his fiancée, at last, and make a good first impression.
Jason’s need to dress to impress brings him and Vanya together. Language is no barrier to falling in love with the young and fragile Russian, and neither is their age difference. But Vanya’s bruised soul carries secrets that could rip them apart. As the wedding draws near, Vanya must confess, and soon, or risk losing Jason—his own best man in Britain.
Con Riley is an auto buy for me after I lost myself in the Seattle Stories series. Be My Best Man is a quiet and slow burn romance between Vanya and Jason. Con is a great storyteller and seems so easily to endear you to imperfect characters and this one is no different.
Vanya is a delight. He has escaped Russia after being tricked, trapped and beaten nearly to death but he’s stuck in an awful limbo whilst he waits to see if he will be granted asylum. I loved his spoken English and the way he always saw the good in situations and people even though life had served him so many hurts. He had nothing but he gave everything and he lived with high moral standards in the way he treated others even when he lives around so much violence and hate.
Jason is big and brash, usually covered in dust from working hard, often grumpy and poorly dressed and living in the shadows of a poor relationship from years ago that has left him love shy and suspicious. He was also much older and in my view a bit inept when it came to Vanya – he was so far off the mark and for the most part I felt as though Vanya’s life and daily struggles screamed out to anyone who took the time to look closely. Even the way their friendship began seemed too contrived and for a man like Jason, who doesn’t seem to trust anyone or take anyone at face value, I couldn’t understand how he was so easily misled and for so long.
I enjoyed the start but around the middle mark it veers onto Jason’s brother and his future wife and gets lost for a while in their problems. The ending left me feeling frustrated – perhaps because I spent most of the book waiting for it to happen. Vanya should have been more honest and Jason should have stopped to listen but neither of those things happen which leads to a mess and heartache.
I liked this one but I didn’t love it.