TITLE: Do I Know You?
AUTHORS: Emily Wibberley, Austin Siegemund-Broka
GENRE: Contemporary romance
PUBLICATION DATE: January 24, 2023
TROPES: Marriage in trouble, Vacation
Do I Know You? by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka surrounds the story of a married couple who start to feel like strangers to each other and their desperate attempt to reconnect through a flirtatious game of pretend.
The marriage-in-trouble trope is one of my favorite themes to read about because I like seeing two people fighting to stay in love. Relationships aren’t perfect, and life happens, but once two people invest in the effort to mend things between them, then the sky is the limit.
Eliza and Graham are anticipating an anything-but-sexy, weeklong getaway to celebrate their five-year anniversary. Nestled on the Northern California coastline, the resort prides itself on being a destination for those in love and those looking to find it. For Eliza and Graham, it might as well be a vacation with a roommate.
When a well-meaning guest mistakes Eliza and Graham for being single and introduces them at the hotel bar, they don’t correct him. Suddenly, they’re pretending to be perfect strangers and it’s unexpectedly…fun? Eliza and Graham find themselves flirting like it’s their first date, and waiting with butterflies in their stomach for the other to text back.
Everyone at the retreat can sense the electric chemistry between Eliza and Graham’s alter egos. But when their scintillating game of roleplaying ends, will they still feel the heat?
The personalities of both MCs were believable and the character development, though slow, was evident. They truly loved each other and regretted how they had grown apart. But Eliza quickly becomes a frustrating character.
I liked that she was a voice actor, which is not a common profession you see in books. But her immaturity and reluctance to talk through issues got frustrating. The game of pretend starts as her idea, but it quickly becomes apparent that Graham is trying harder than her to make things work. The game becomes an easy way for Eliza to hide from her problems.
Graham wrestles with his own demons throughout the book, but they never wavered his effort to be more vulnerable with Eliza.
Their playfulness and witty banter, however, kept me interested. It’s obvious they have great chemistry that has sadly gotten lost over time.
While it was refreshing to read about a story where infidelity was not the problem, this book relied heavily on miscommunication to move the story forward.
I enjoyed the role-playing game as a way to recapture the spark they once had, and this would be a nice way to open the door to deeper communication between them.
But the pretending eventually got too tiring and seemed to overcomplicate things without dealing with the marital problems. The book would have been much shorter if they had just sat and talked to each other.
By the end of the book, though they made progress on their issues, it feels like they’ve only skimmed the surface of their insecurities. Couple counseling would have benefited Eliza and Graham, but it was not mentioned anywhere in the book.
While some people didn’t like the dual POV because it repeated the detailing of scenes, it was interesting to see how the MCs interpreted each scene differently based on their own insecurities.
The repetition of each MC’s inner monologue was tedious. It could have been replaced with other things, such as flashbacks to earlier, happier times of their relationship, to allow the reader to better understand the gravity of the rift between them and how much they have grown apart.
Do I Know You? by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka explores the societal pressures of having a perfect marriage while emphasizing the importance of always dating your spouse. If you love stories that will have you escaping into a hotel vacation alongside a flawed couple who refuse to give up on each other, then this book is for you. But those who are not fans of the miscommunication trope and tedious inner monologues should skip this one.
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