The Stand-Up Groomsman
"A low-angst charmer."—New York Times Book Review
A bridesmaid and groomsman put their differences aside to get their best friends down the aisle in this opposites-attract steamy romantic comedy.
They say to never meet your heroes, but when Vivian Liao's roommate gets engaged to her favorite actor’s costar, she has no choice but to come face-to-face with Melvin Lee again. He's just as funny and handsome as he is on-screen...but he thinks she’s an ice queen and a corporate sellout. It's none of his business how she chooses to live her life, no matter how charismatic he is.
Mel is used to charming audiences as an actor and stand-up comedian, but he can't seem to thaw Vivian’s defenses. If she can ignore the simmering attraction below the surface, so can he. The only thing uniting them is their goal for their friends’ wedding to go off without a hitch.
As they collaborate on wedding cake and karaoke parties, Mel realizes he might have seriously misjudged this bridesmaid, while Vivian discovers the best man might just be as dazzling off-screen as he is on. With the wedding underway, maybe more than one happily ever after is in the future.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
The second novel in Jackie Lau’s Donut Fall in Love series brings together two conflicting personality types for a fresh, witty and convincing romantic comedy. While this novel works perfectly well as a standalone, fans of the previous book, Donut Fall in Love, will already know the two leads as supporting characters from that story. Vivian Liao, an introverted and standoffish banker is a fan of comic actor Melvin Lee’s work. However, his brash, outgoing demeanour initially rankles when they’re brought together as bridesmaid and best man at the wedding of their friends, Lindsay and Ryan. Vivian and Mel have their faults and complexities but Jackie Lau crafts them with authenticity and empathy, revealing the trials and challenges that have made them the people they are today. As a result, you can’t help but root for the pair, and a satisfying love story unfurls as they begin to find understanding and common ground in unexpected ways.
Lau (Donut Fall in Love) shines in this witty rom-com that pairs a Chinese American comedian and a Chinese Canadian finance whiz. Uptight accountant Vivian Liao is eager to meet stand-up comedian Melvin Lee, star of Just Another New York Sitcom, whose friend Ryan is dating Vivian's roommate Lindsay—but their first meeting does not go as planned. One wrong comment from Mel, and Vivian is ready to write him off—that is, until Ryan and Lindsay get engaged, and Mel is tapped as best man and Vivian as a bridesmaid. As they're forced to work together to plan celebrations for their dear friends, something between them shifts and they agree to try long-distance dating. But Vivian's complicated family history has made her fiercely independent, and she's hesitant to commit to anything that may lead to dependency on another person. With miles between them and both their guards up, will they be able to make it work? Refreshingly, both hero and heroine are bisexual, a fact Lau handles confidently and casually. Mel's outrageous, matchmaking grandmother, meanwhile, steals every scene she's in—including one where she shows up at a comedy club right when Mel is trying out some new oral sex–related material. This fun, feel-good outing hits the spot.
I love Jackie Lau—I think I’ve read everything she’s written except 2 novellas. This is without a doubt my favorite. The build up to the two characters finally getting together is perfect. I read a ton of romances but the first kiss in this book gave me butterflies. Both characters are wounded and raw, and their individual growth arcs were well done and satisfying.
My only qualm (and it’s a small one) is that it is very difficult sometimes to render funny stand up routines in writing even professional stand up comedians have trouble with this. Delivery is so important (as a character points out in the book) but even though some of Mel’s routines fell flat to me, they were worth it to help me see his character better.
Just wonderful—if you’ve enjoyed any of Jackie Lau’s past books you’ll love this one.