I love a good book that will make me laugh out loud, so I was stoked to get a copy of The Lifestyle after reading that Jasmine Guillory said “This book is fun as hell. Hilarious, addictive, moving, and sexy. I lost track of time reading it, and I couldn’t get enough!” In addition to supposedly being hilarious, it’s a lose retelling of Jane Austen’s Emma. Alright, count me in. Now I’ll admit, it’s been years since I’ve read Emma, so maybe I don’t fully remember the story but to say this is a retelling or based on Emma, seems like a stretch to me.
Georgina has the perfect life, or so she thinks. That is until she walks in on her husband cheating on her with a junior associate at their law firm. In an attempt to save her marry, she convinces not only her husband but also her two best friends and their partners to join in ‘The Lifestyle’ as well. Except, the plan goes awry, when one of the swingers in their group turns out to be Georgina’s college boyfriend, who she has never gotten over.
So this book is about swinging, and contrary to what you might think, there is basically no steam. Hahn has focused more on the setting and the rules around swinging, than actually depicting any acts. This is being marketed as a romance and is fully about people having sex with each other, so I was expecting just a little more steam. There are a few encounters in a sex club and the mention of naked people but that’s about it. I mean this is a 1 out of 5 on the steam scale, in my opinion. It’s more a women’s fiction though, because even though it starts with her husband cheating, it’s really about Georgina realizing what’s important to her.
Character wise, Georgina is a hardworking lawyer who always knows what’s best. Except she annoyed me more than anyone. Especially that she felt she knew everyone elses relationship better than they did. What type of best friend actively wants to make her best friend get a divorce and instead get back with her ex. She wants to be a good role model and mentee for her junior associates, but she makes a ton of ridiculous decisions.
Norah was my favorite and though she’s Georgina’s best friend, we get such surface level description of her. Actually, deeper character development for all the characters would have helped this book out. I couldn’t find it in me to really have a strong reaction for any of the characters.
Past the lack of actual romance, I didn’t find this book funny. I had not one ‘laugh out of loud’ moment, which is a bummer. This felt as it it had a ton of potential but ultimately fell flat for me. Georgina was not a very likeable main character and I needed more substance from the story. I finished this one to see how it ended, but it was a bit of a chore.
This was a 2.5 read for me but rounded up to 3.
The Lifestyle comes out June 7, 2022! Huge thank you to Anchor Books my advanced copy in exchange for my honest opinion. If you liked this review please let me know either by commenting below or by visiting my instagram @speakingof_books.