I have only read Sophia Kinsella’s Shopaholic books and even then, I have only read like the first two. I read the first book when it was released back in 2000 and I recall LOVING IT. I laughed so hard many many times and I remember thinking how much I had in common with the main character, especially at that time being a young college student.
I love seeing that the series has continued with nine more books, but as I said I only read like the first two but it wasn’t for want of trying—I just got on to another book and/or series and forgot about the Shopaholic books. But those early books really engrained Sophia Kinsella as an author that I enjoy so when I saw that she had a new book (not Shopaholic related) coming out, I knew I had to read it!
The book sounded fluffy, easy, and I recalled that Kinsella wrote really snappy dialogue so with all that in mind, I picked this one up expecting to breeze right through it and be left satisfied and happy about romance!
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of I Owe You One, an utterly delightful novel about a young woman who ditches her dating app for a writer’s retreat in Italy—only to find that real love comes with its own filters.
Call Ava romantic, but she thinks love should be found in the real world, not on apps that filter men by height, job, or astrological sign. She believes in feelings, not algorithms. So after a recent breakup and dating app debacle, she decides to put love on hold and escapes to a writers’ retreat in remote, coastal Italy. She’s determined to finish writing the novel she’s been fantasizing about, even though it means leaving her close-knit group of friends and her precious dog, Harold, behind.
At the retreat, she’s not allowed to use her real name or reveal any personal information. When the neighboring martial arts retreat is canceled and a few of its attendees join their small writing group, Ava, now going by “Aria,” meets “Dutch,” a man who seems too good to be true. The two embark on a baggage-free, whirlwind love affair, cliff-jumping into gem-colored Mediterranean waters and exploring the splendor of the Italian coast. Things seem to be perfect.
But then their real identities—Ava and Matt—must return to London. As their fantasy starts to fade, they discover just how different their personal worlds are. From food choices to annoying habits to sauna etiquette . . . Are they compatible in anything? And then there’s the prickly situation with Matt’s ex-girlfriend, who isn’t too eager to let him go. As one mishap follows another, it seems that, while they love each other, they just can’t love each other’s lives. Can they reconcile their differences to find a life together? (Summary from Goodreads)
I think one of the first things I noticed about this book was how much my reading tastes have changed over the years. When I say that, it’s not because I didn’t find this one entertaining, it’s simply a fact. At 20, Shopaholic appealed to me so much and I felt such a connection, with this book I don’t know that I connected with the main character, Ava, over much. She felt a little too idealized for me and I had a hard time connecting with her. Plus I didn’t really feel much chemistry between Ava and Matt in the way I had hoped. I know that the author is well known for creating mega chemistry between her two love interests but this one didn’t have that same spark that I had come to expect.
But as I said—-I didn’t hate this book. The characters might have been a little ‘meah’ for me, but Kinsella’s humor shined through in the dialogue and in the story. I know a lot of long time Kinsella fans have been looking forward to this non Shopaholic standalone, and I feel that fans will generally be happy with this story but perhaps not elated. It’s cute, has some funny moments and as I expected it was a quick easy read that is perfect for your beach bag this summer but for me it had a shelf life of 25—meaning if you are over 25 you might find this one a little harder to relate to. It wasn’t bad but it wasn’t my favorite read of the year either. I would have liked to have seen more from the characters and I think other Kinsella fans might feel let down by Ava’s character.
This one landed in the fair category for me. It was ok but I probably wouldn’t read it again. I would still read Kinsella’s books and I think she has a great sense of humor and a true talent for writing funny characters and cute stories but I could have gone with more character development and chemistry between the lovers. Ava was a let down for me and I just didn’t really recover for her character enough to love the story and give it more than a 3 star review.
Book Info and Rating
Format 416 pages, Hardcover
PublishedOctober 27, 2020 by Dial Press
ISBN9780593132852 (ISBN10: 0593132858)
Free review copy provided by publisher, Dial Press, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and in no way influenced.
Rating: 3 stars
Genre: chick lit, contempo romance, romance