by Jennifer E. Smith
First sentence: “There are so many ways it could have all turned out differently.”
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Hadley Sullivan is being forced to go to her father’s second marriage. To a woman (That British Woman) she’s never met. In London. It’s not a happy idea, and when all sorts of little things go wrong, she ends up missing her flight. Which means making it to the wedding will be tough.
Then she meets Oliver. In the airport. They strike up a conversation, and it turns out that they’ll be sitting next to each other on the plane. They end up talking on and off the entire flight, and by the time they land in London, Hadley’s starting to wonder: could this attraction be something… more?
For long-term readers of my blog, you know that I have Issues with True Love and Love at First Sight and Fate. And this book deals with all three. So, by any measurement, I should have hated it. But I didn’t.
I think it was possibly because the book isn’t wholly about True Love. Sure, Hadley meets Oliver, they fall into… something… but it’s really about her relationship with her father, whom she hasn’t forgiven for divorcing her mother a year ago. It makes the book a bit angsty, but for me, her struggles to understand and accept her father’s decision, to realize that he’s not Evil (and neither is her stepmother) balanced out the sappy of the True Love.
Except, it wasn’t sappy. It felt more natural — and even though Hadley’s hunting down Oliver when in London seemed improbable, I could still believe it — and because the book only took place over 24 hours, it made it less cloying. It was really a book about beginnings, sweet and tender. Sure, maybe Hadley and Oliver’s relationship will work out for Forever, or maybe it’ll fall apart once school starts, but that’s immaterial. It’s a beginning. It’s a story.
And that’s honestly the best part.