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Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite
In Rich Amooi's novel The Backup Groom, the protagonist Amber faces a life-altering decision after her great-uncle's death. The will stipulates that Amber receives a large inheritance only if she marries her former high school sweetheart Ryan Scott within a few weeks. However, her ex-boyfriend is already married, and her evil cousin Mercedes is waiting to claim the inheritance she is entitled to if Amber fails. Amber's quick-witted friend Stella discovers a loophole: Amber can marry someone with the same name as her ex-boyfriend, and the spouse will receive a percentage of the inheritance. Thus, Amber and her friend embark on a wild search for potential suitors with the same name, while Mercedes seeks to undermine her efforts. Meanwhile, a kind coffee shop owner with a convenient name secretly admires Amber, waiting patiently for his divorce to be finalized.
What makes The Backup Groom a delightful read is its witty and over-the-top craziness, and Amber's likable character. While Mercedes is a well-developed but unlikeable character, Amber's humor and relatability make her an endearing protagonist. The star of this book really is Stella, who is the type of BFF that everyone deserves to have. The author's use of quick-witted dialogue and absurd scenarios keeps the story entertaining and leaves the reader rooting for Amber until the end. The search for Amber's 'twin-Ryan' becomes a farcical journey with suitors that range from wholly ridiculous to warmly comical, and the tension between Amber and Mercedes keeps the pages furiously turning. Overall, Rich Ammoi has written an enjoyable novel that explores the theme of personal fulfillment in a romantic comedy that does not reinvent the wheel but certainly flourishes it, with a delightful cast of characters, a satisfying conclusion, and enough humor to keep the reader entertained. Recommended.