Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Managing the Matthews by Haleigh Wenger may not present a revolutionary take on the romance genre. Still, it provides a comfortable and entertaining experience for those seeking a relaxed, leisurely read.

However, help is needed!

Managing the Matthews by Haleigh Wenger

Jorge García

Summary

Managing the Matthews, by Haleigh Wenger, presents an intriguing premise with its inside look into the world of Hollywood stardom and reality TV. It explores popular romance tropes such as ‘friends to lovers’ and ‘fake dating.’ However, the novel may only partially satisfy readers who seek multifaceted characters and unexpected plot twists. A predictable narrative trajectory, coupled with a lack of distinct character voices and environmental descriptions, somewhat diminishes the immersive quality of the story.

Despite this, the novel remains light and entertaining, showcasing the author’s straightforward narrative style. Although not deeply explored, the inclusion of a character with Crohn’s disease is a commendable attempt to bring visibility to chronic illnesses within popular literature. Overall, while
Managing the Matthews may not present a revolutionary take on the romance genre, it provides a comfortable and entertaining experience for those seeking a relaxed, leisurely read.

3

I don’t get romance novels. I understand the genre is about two human beings attracted to each other. But, as I said in another romance novel review, I see only two possible outcomes. What, then, makes a love story interesting to read? Please, explain it to me.

Managing The Matthews Book Review

In my -failed- attempt to understand the genre, I have read three romance novels in the past couple of months.

This time I read Managing the Matthews by Haleigh Wenger. I found the book on Netgalley, and it sounded interesting, so I got it.

The story is about Kell Simmons, a manager of three Hollywood stars who are brothers and live in the same house. Each of the brothers specializes in an area of show business. Ryan is the action hero, Jonah is the sports icon, and Ash, the middle one, is the heartthrob. The three brothers are Hollywood’s top stars and, therefore, the dream of many fans.

Ash and Kell, the manager, have known each other long because they were college classmates and true friends. It also happens that Kell is secretly attracted to Ryan and has dreams of one day being with him.

Everything seems to be going well in the lives of the four of them until Ryan surprises everyone by announcing that he has just gotten engaged to a girl he met recently. This event destabilizes the brothers’ lives because it will affect Kell’s strategy as the brothers’ manager, besides the fact that no one knows the fiancée, and Kell feels betrayed.

Managing The Matthews Book Review

Amid her heartbreak, Ash, battling his love woes, becomes a comforting presence. But, unfortunately, their already intriguing lives are set to become even more chaotic as they sign up for a reality TV show. Fabricated dates, contrived drama, and genuine emotional turmoil become a part of their daily lives, all under the scrutinizing gaze of a camera.

As the brothers’ fame soars to dizzying heights, Kell grapples with her desire for the limelight. She begins to question whether the allure of the spotlight is worth sacrificing the chance at authentic love, all for the sake of televised entertainment.

The novel’s premise is very interesting, but the execution needs to be revised. I was interested in the idea of a reality show as seen from the inside and to see how the behind-the-scenes of Hollywood. Still, in the end, I found it so interesting.

Managing The Matthews Book Review

Despite my ignorance and lack of experience with the romance genre, I noticed that the handling of point of view is similar to the one used in The Kiss Quotient, where the characters’ points of view alternate. In Managing the Mathews, however, the tone of the voice of both characters is very similar as they speak, think, and evaluate the actions of other characters in an analogous way.

Here is where I ask for help because I don’t know if I didn’t fully enjoy the novel because of my ignorance of the genre or because of the novel itself.

For example, from chapter 10 onwards, I already knew that Kell and Ash would end up together and consummate their love. Of that, I had no doubt. I was waiting for the relationship to go awry or for someone to interrupt the idyll. However, this never happened. Even when Ash made a mistake, I never thought they wouldn’t be together. That fact took away the mystery of the reading very early in the book.

Another element I found lacking in the story, or I just don’t get, was the presence of a villain to create obstacles in the relationship between Kell and Ash. My interest waned as the story progressed because I found all the characters to be very nice, uncomplicated, and without evil. Unfortunately, that makes the characters a bit boring and one-dimensional.

Managing The Matthews Book Review

In this sense, I was hoping that Ryan would do something really bad against Ash and Kell at some point, not just declare that he was sorry for everything and cry. Another opportunity to create an antagonistic character is Judith, who is almost the bad one in the story. Still, she’s so secondary that she couldn’t be the villain.

Technically I have one criticism: the lack of setting descriptions. Although we can imagine what the home of some rich and famous Hollywood actors is like, the need for descriptions makes everything too generic. The same goes for Kell’s apartment, his parent’s house, etc.

The book is easy to read, and Wenger’s style is easy to follow. As a result, the book makes for an entertaining reading. The narrative voice handles the friends-to-lovers and the faking-date trope effectively. Although the portrayal of Crohn’s disease is good that it is not an overly explicit or cruel representation, in the end, it has no definite dramatic function in the play.

In conclusion, “Managing the Matthews” by Haleigh Wenger presents an intriguing premise with its inside look into the world of Hollywood stardom and reality TV. It explores popular romance tropes such as ‘friends to lovers’ and ‘fake dating.’ However, the novel may only partially satisfy readers who seek multifaceted characters and unexpected plot twists.

A predictable narrative trajectory, coupled with a lack of distinct character voices and environmental descriptions, somewhat diminishes the immersive quality of the story.

Despite this, the novel remains light and entertaining, showcasing the author’s straightforward narrative style. Although not deeply explored, including a character with Crohn’s disease is a commendable attempt to bring visibility to chronic illnesses within popular literature. Overall, while “Managing the Matthews” may not present a revolutionary take on the romance genre, it provides a comfortable and entertaining experience for those seeking a relaxed, leisurely read.