Exactly when I needed a laugh, along came this book to bring a smile to my face and a little warmth to my heart! There were so many pieces of this book that had me eager to keep reading that I had to remind myself I also needed to do my day job. I couldn't just stop working and start reading, because this book does not pay my bills. But the wait was totally worth it. A romantic comedy with some genuine sadness and heartbreak mixed in, I felt a kinship with the characters and an almost immediate urge to pack my suitcase and jet off to a far-off destination. Sometimes a change of scenery put things into perspective for you, and for the heroine of this book, it certainly did. There were elements that had me laughing, others had me tearing up, and above all, the romance was messy and complicated and, at the end of the day, absolutely wonderful.
All Laura Le Quesne wants is a love like those she documents while writing for the online lifestyle platform, Love Life. These couples have it all - love, clearly great sex, and meet-cutes that belong in a movie more than they do in real life. Meanwhile she's approaching the age of thirty wondering when she'll have the love that her parents did. When her boss pushes the team for new material, she jumps at the chance to feature her parents' story, and soon she's off to Jersey where her parents met in the summer of 1991. Things start off rocky, though, when she grabs the wrong suitcase and winds up with another person's luggage. Frustrated, she begins to search through the suitcase so she can identify the owner...and find the contents hint at her dream man. Her favorite book? Check. Piano music hinting at a musician? Check. Her mother's perfume? Check - it's clearly a sign from her mom, right? Thus starts her adventure of trying to find her mystery man, while also exploring the places that her mom told her about, recreating photos and experiencing the food and culture of Jersey. With the help of a gruff yet surprisingly charming cab driver, she explores the island...and realizes that love isn't always what you expect. In fact, what you really want may be completely different from what you've dreamed of and a lot closer than you think.
Poor Laura reminded me a bit of myself, I think that's why I felt such kinship with her. I, too, am approaching thirty and watching all my friends settle down and get married. So when she begins to question what she's doing with her life, it pushed all the right buttons to get me to keep reading. She dove into the romantic idea of her perfect man head first, without looking to see if she's in the shallow end of the pool, and it's hilarious to see her fumble her way through her road trip with the cab driver. I quickly fell in love with the scenery, but with the flashbacks to her parents' love letters, the reader starts to realize that all was not well in paradise. As she visits all the sights, she gets to talking to her cab driver and learns he has a tragic love story of his own. We meet all sorts of fun secondary characters, see how complicated love can be from multiple angles, and Laura gets answers to questions she's long held about her family history. It's a messy sort of romantic comedy, with lots of twists and turns, and it has the reader questioning how her HEA will happen. Will it be with her mystery man? Will the charming cab driver steal her heart? Will it be someone else entirely we don't see sitting in the shadows? I had so many questions while reading, the author did a fantastic job keeping me in suspense until the very end. Yes, my heart hurt a few times, and I wanted to shake Laura and a few other people. But that's what makes a great romance - getting the reader to be invested in the characters.
This was my first book by this author, and it certainly won't be my last! I can't wait to see what she writes next.
**I received a free copy via NetGalley and this is my honest review.**