A witty and remarkably fun story, One Night Only is Catherine Walsh’s debut novel. It features an architect terrified of (yet starved for) an intimate and romantic connection and a bartender-entrepreneur looking to sweep her off her feet.
When Sarah Anderson goes to Ireland to attend the wedding of her best friend, she has everything planned. Forget about losing a promotion at work. Just deliver a killer speech as the maid of honor, and maybe hook up with one of the groom’s attractive, young, single relatives. What she did not plan for was running into Declan Murphy, the brother and best man of the groom. He’s also the one night stand that she thought she left behind in New York.
This was an incredibly enjoyable read! The humor was well-placed and actually made me laugh, rather than exhale harshly through my nostrils with corny jokes or cheesy one-liners. Sarah and Declan’s banter tickled me throughout the story and their chemistry when together was striking. It made their coupling at the end of the book feel authentic. They were both equal parts hilarious and sympathetic characters. I longed to know more about their story by the time the book came to an end. It was a pleasant surprise to see how well-developed Walsh’s characters and plot were, considering that this is her first novel!
That being said, I did want to point out that Declan and Sarah are endgame and I loved their dynamic and relationship. However, it was slightly problematic how their relationship began and progressed from their first meeting. I am not referring to them having a one-night stand. This may be a personal preference of mine when consuming media. I don’t particularly like the trope of male characters riling up women they barely know and it being played off as charming because the woman was attracted to them.
In fact, during their first encounter with each other at the wedding after their tryst, Declan announces to his whole family and Sarah’s best friend (after Sarah specifically told him not to, no less) that they slept together. This brash behavior continues as Sarah and Declan continue to chance upon each other in the world. Declan certainly improves, and Sarah did have flaws in her own character throughout the story. Still, the aforementioned trope was something that I was not a fan of.
Yet, despite the rocky start to their relationship, Declan and Sarah’s love story developed into something that felt incredibly genuine. Love stories are boring when both parties have a ‘perfect’ relationship where they wax poetic about each other. Sarah and Declan confront problems together, challenge one another, and eventually get to a point of playfully insulting one another.
One Night Only by Catherine Walsh will take you only one night to read. With a heartening push-pull summer romance, you will not want to put this book down.
One Night Only by Catherine Walsh was published on July 30th, 2021.