By Josie Silver
I listened to this book on audio with Elinor Tomlinson reading the main protagonist Laurie’s part. She did a great job but boy her voice is very posh. The reader who voiced Jack was good too, but for some reason, I didn’t think the timbre of his voice matched the character. But that’s just me. Not his fault.
This was a good love story and well written. I was attracted to the story because something similar happened to me once except we were in cars, not at a bus stop. Nothing came of it. We never met. The ending was very happy for the two main characters and almost made up for the problems I had with the story. It was very cinematic. I can just see it as a movie scene in my mind’s eye. Since this was a Reese Witherspoon book club pick, It just may be a film someday, although it would probably be a little difficult given the limited plot. I almost feel it is more of a love story between two best girlfriends rather than a romance.
Now, my problems. Throughout a lot of the story our hero, Jack, behaved badly. Cringingly so. The man Laurie married was such a good guy and behaved with amazing trust, maturity, and patience. He also loved her so much. He would make a great hero in his own book.
As far as her relationship with her husband, Oscar, she was hypocritical and stubbornly self-deluded. she made a conscious decision to marry (“I choose you, Oscar, every day.”–or words to that effect) Nice words, Laurie. Too bad you didn’t walk the walk. Having chosen Oscar, and made her vows, she decided not to continue with the marriage on the lamest of excuses. She betrayed him and her vows in her heart. I felt like she was casting around for an excuse to divorce him and Oscar’s promotion and permanent transfer to Brussels full time just fell into her hands and boy did she pounce on it. She didn’t want to admit to herself that she was in the wrong and a less than sterling character. Or the author did not want to paint her in that light, I should say. I feel like Ms. Silver wrote herself into a corner in that she could not split them up without contradicting their established characters, or something tragic happening. The excuse that Laurie did not want to move to Brussels with him was so phony and lame. I can’t help but think she, indeed, was setting him up for a sequel. In my opinion, killing him off certainly would have ticked all the boxes as a solution to getting Jack and Laurie back together. This was a big problem with me, but another problem I had was with the temporary estrangement between Sarah and Laurie. I think Sarah really over-reacted and skipping out on Laurie’s wedding where she was maid of honor was really despicable and over the top. It just didn’t ring true. Their reconciliation was largely “off-screen,” thus missing an opportunity for some good emotional drama and tears. As such, it was very anticlimactic.
So, Ms. Josie Silver, I have told you the problems with the book and even told you how they could have been corrected. Now the least you can do is write a sequel featuring Oscar’s love story. Then all will be forgiven!
February 15, 2019