The Plus One Book Cover The Plus One
A Brush with Love
Mazey Eddings
Contemporary Romance
St. Martin's Griffin
April 4, 2023
Paperback, Ebook, Audio

She’s not looking to fix him. She’s looking to love him, if he’ll let her in. Some facts are indisputable. The sun rises in the east, sets in the west. Gravity exists. Indira doesn’t like Jude. Jude doesn’t like Indira. But what happens when these childhood enemies find the only thing they can rely on is each other? On paper, Indira has everything together. An amazing job, a boyfriend, and a car. What more could a late twenty-something ask for? But when she walks in on her boyfriend in an amorous embrace with a stranger, that perfect on paper image goes up in flames. Jude has nothing together. A doctor that’s spent the last three years traveling the world to treat emergencies and humanitarian crises, a quick trip home for his best friend’s wedding has him struggling to readjust. Thrust into an elaborate (and ridiculously drawn out) wedding event that’s stressing Jude beyond belief and has Indira seeing her ex and his new girlfriend far more frequently than any human should endure, the duo strike a bargain to be each other’s fake dates to this wedding from hell. The only problem is, their forced proximity and fake displays of affection are starting to feel a bit…real, and both are left grappling with the idea that a situation that couldn’t be worse, is made a little better with the other around.

The last few years have been a real whirlwind, am I right? While there have been a lot of not-so-great events one after another, there is one positive that stands out to me, shining through the darkness: mental health awareness and self-care are having their moment in the sun. During the pandemic, it was important for all of us to participate in self-care to keep our spirits up. It’s the little things, too, like putting on jeans so the extra banana bread pounds didn’t sneak up on you too quickly, or going for walks to soak up some Vitamin D.

Authors are just like us, and their characters, too. It was only a matter of time before these ideas and habits bled into the fictional worlds we would utilize for escape.  Mazey Eddings, author of A Brush with Love and Lizzie Blake’s Best Mistake, delivers her third published novel “The Plus One” that is half a delightful enemies-to-lovers romance combined with what feels like a love letter to therapy, mental health, and self-care.

Enemies-to-Lovers Romance

He is her brother’s best friend. She is the bratty little sister that the boys didn’t want around. Sounds like the makings of a perfect love story, wouldn’t you think?

Was being roasted her love language?

Jude and Indira don’t like each other. They haven’t for years, since they were kids. When pushed together for the sake of Indira’s brother’s wedding, these two make a deal to be each other’s fake wedding dates. Fake dating + forced proximity = delightful disaster of a fake relationship. (There is even an ‘only one bed’ scenario! Jackpot!)

Life wasn’t perfect for any of them, and it never would be. But this moment? Well, it felt pretty damn close.

Mental Health Awareness

Indira struggles with a form of imposture syndrome – she’s a therapist whose life is sort of falling apart. Jude is suffering from PTSD after working in war-zones and facing some of the worst conditions around the world. Both keep their mental health issues close to the chest, not wanting to lay a heavy burden on their loved ones. Through the story we learn more about their coping skills and witness the beauty of letting another person in to see our scars and scary parts.

“We place these expectations that being aware of our brain or emotions lying to us means that we should automatically be able to get over it,” Dr. Koh said, eyes locked on Indira. “That’s simply not how it works. We wouldn’t expect someone with asthma to recognize that they have asthma and then be able to go and spring a mile without needing an inhaler. Healing from those internal wounds takes time. Sometimes a lifetime. But it’s the willingness to work on it that matters.”

There are so many great passages in this book about taking care of ourselves, and I don’t have enough room in this post to share them all. If I need a pick-me-up or a reminder that my mental health is just as important as my physical health, I’m going to turn to “The Plus One”.

Please do your brains and hearts a favor and choose this book, too.