Finished Reading: April 6, 2017
Date Published: April 4, 2017
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Source: TLC Book Tours and HarperCollins
You might enjoy this book if you like: Romantic comedies--especially British ones, stories about the one that got away
Tess and Gus are meant to be. They just haven't met properly yet. And perhaps they never will . . .
Today is the first day of the rest of your life is the motto on a plate in the kitchen at home, and Tess can't get it out of her head, even though she's in Florence for a final, idyllic holiday before university. Her life is about to change forever - but not in the way she expects.
Gus and his parents are also on holiday in Florence. Their lives have already changed suddenly and dramatically. Gus tries to be a dutiful son, but longs to escape and discover what sort of person he is going to be.
For one day, the paths of an eighteen-year-old girl and boy criss-cross before they each return to England.
Over the course of the next sixteen years, life and love will offer them very different challenges. Separated by distance and fate, there's no way the two of them are ever going to meet each other properly . . . or is there?
When it comes to movies, I love a good Rom-com and my favorites are the Hugh Grant-ish British ones--you know, things like Notting Hill. I've never been able to replicate the same feelings that such movies bring up in me while reading a book, until I read this one.
This is actually a novel of two stories--one belonging to Gus and one to Tess. The two characters cross paths several times during the book but, for the most part, they are separate entities. This is a minefield for a writer with several challenges. Will both stories be fully fleshed out and able to stand on their own? Will the narrative balance between the two stories? Will there be enough connection between the two stories for the novel to make sense?
The answer to all these questions is yes! This books succeeded on all those counts, better than I would have expected. Both Gus and Tess have compelling, but fundamentally different. While both stories are developed enough that they each could stand on their own, Eberlen adds just enough cross over to hold them together.
Gus and Tess are both fabulous leading characters. Eberlen gives them both full-fledged backstory (and I love a good backstory!) which plays well into the current narrative. Both were characters I would not be the least bit surprised to meet on the street and they were both people that I think everyone would root for. There is also a wide slate of supporting characters and, while some lean more to being one-dimensional, they are all interesting and serve to push the narrative along.
There are some heavier themes in this book, probably heavier than some might expect. However, Eberlen's style remains very readable and deceivingly light. While the language of this novel might invoke "chick lit," the storytelling is truly so much more than that.
This book was a complete joy to read and it was exactly what I needed when I read it. I would recommend it to pretty much everyone. Even if rom-coms aren't your thing, I'd still urge you to give this one a try.
Kate Eberlen grew up in a small town thirty miles from London and spent her childhood reading books and longing to escape. She studied Classics at Oxford University before pursuing various jobs in publishing and the arts. Recently, Kate trained to teach English as a Foreign Language with a view to spending more time in Italy, a country she loves and has visited many times. Kate is married with one son.
Find out more about Kate at her website, and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
I was given a copy of this book in return for an honest review. I received no other compensation for this post.
To read more about this book, please visit the other stops on the blog tour.