My first review of 2015. Ha, so exciting! This book was organized a bit differently than your average romance novel, which was actually kind of refreshing considering it didn’t follow the typical boy meets girl they fall in love and live happily ever after mold. It combines four short novellas into one book, and shows a more realistic side to love. Basically, that it isn’t all dancing unicorns who fart rainbows. Such a lovely visual, I know. These stories may seem harsh at times, and show the darker sides of relationships, but in a way these imperfections make the scenarios seem more real. I also found it surprising that although each novella ends more or less happily, none of them really end how you think they will. Granted, I may not have liked how some ultimately did end, but in a way I enjoyed the bumps in the road which led to a surprise finish.
These four novellas tell the tales of love and woe of four different Australian women, none of whom are connected in any way. If you were hoping for some kind of Love Actually connection between all of the characters, well…you shouldn’t. Each story is unique in that they focus on different kinds of relationships. One is long-distance, another deals with a woman whose fiance is dedicated to his studies more than her, the third focuses on a newly married couple, and the last shows a woman getting over her ex-boyfriend by getting under a new one. Tee hee.
I think at some point in each novella I asked myself, “where the hell is this story going?”. The reason is because each one (excluding the fourth) started out great, but then the relationship between our heroine and hero would slowly start to deteriorate. You really come to question whether or not the couple will last, and in most cases in this book they don’t. There was always some final hurdle which our couples faced, and whereas in most romance novels the lovebirds are able to overcome this obstacle, in this book sometimes they did and sometimes they didn’t. Honestly, it was kind of depressing at times. I guess the moral of each story was meant to show that although not every relationship is everlasting with a walk into the sunset holding hands, life does move on after a heartbreak, and it can even lead to something better.
Now, I believe that was the intended moral of each story, but I sort of walked away with another one: don’t get married! Goodness gracious every time a woman in this story got engaged or hitched it undoubtedly led to problems. Another piece of advice- you probably shouldn’t get engaged if you have only been dating a guy for a few months and are under the age of 20! I swear I wanted to hit some of these chicas upside the head for rushing into things so quickly. Whatever happened to dating for a few years to see if you can actually stand each other? For example, the “woman” in the second book was a senior in high school, and her boyfriend quickly turned fiance was going to medical school. Maybe you two should wait until after graduation before taking that leap? Not necessarily his graduation, but she should definitely finish high school first. You shouldn’t have to worry about your engagement ring falling off in gym class for crying out loud. Eh, what do I know?
I definitely had a favorite and least favorite novella in this book. My fav was actually the first one. The combination of family pressure relating to career and relationships, as well as the long-distance aspect made for a pretty interesting read. The third novella was the one I had the most trouble finishing. I found it very difficult to connect with the lead character, Amelia, as she seemed ridiculously selfish to me. She absolutely hates her mother-in-law, which I can understand, but when her husband rushes to his mother’s side after falling ill, Amelia refuses to accompany him in favor of furthering her own career. Look, I get that the mother-in-law was a total bitch, but in that situation you should have been there to support your husband for at least a day or two. Maybe even a weekend here or there. You know that whole “in sickness and in health” thing you vowed to a few weeks ago? That isn’t really a pick and choose kind of scenario. The fact that Amelia chooses to see her husband as a momma’s boy, and then cheats on him with another man was an added layer of frustration.
*A copy was provided by the author for an honest review*
Should you read it? At times the writing seemed to be out of the 18th century, but it was a quick read with some different approaches to falling in love.
Smut Level: No real smut. This book did make me realize though that I hate when people refer to each other as lovers. “As I glanced over at my lover” just doesn’t sound right to me. It’s not like they have to say they’re f*&k buddies or anything, but whatever happened to boyfriend and girlfriend? Or maybe “that guy over there”. Anything but “my lover”. It’s kind of like those people who can’t stand the word “moist”. There’s no real explanation for it, but for some reason it’s just icky.
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