Published by Atria Books on August 15th, 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Charlotte has spent her twenties adrift, floating from interest to interest, job to job, and guy to guy, searching for a spark but never quite finding it. All she knows is that she won’t discover it working as a waitress at a pies-and-fries joint in Los Angeles or living with her fun but aimless best friend in a tiny apartment in the Arts District.
Then Charlotte collides with Adam, a gorgeous and soulful painter who seems just as lost as she feels. Their instant connection turns into a midnight drink… and a whirlwind night of champagne, Chinese food, and the kind of conversation that only happens in romantic comedies. But the next morning, Adam gives Charlotte the cold shoulder, leaving her confused and hurt—and wondering if the few odd moments between them the night before were red flags in disguise.
Months later, Charlotte hasn’t been able to shake Adam, so she decides to find out what happened the morning after their magical night together. This fateful decision rewrites their wild love story, but what Charlotte doesn’t know yet is that the ending has already been written.
“It doesn’t always feel like this, it doesn’t always feel easy or right, so when it does feel this way, you have to seize it. Love is a wordless secret; it’s an inside joke. Only the two of you have to understand it.”
So this is what slow burn book love feels like. Days after finishing this book, I’ve found the impact of this gorgeous story flourishing. I loved it when I finished it but time has etched the poignancy of the message. Beautifully crafted, this is a book with heart and soul. It’s a beyond a mere romance. It’s about personal growth and the life altering fusing of soul mates, and yes they come in many forms. This story reminded me that in life, things have a way of working out the way they should– but we must be brave. After all, falling is love risky and when it happens, you can’t stop it. The story is also a reminder that love is messy and confusing.
Renee Carlino is an ace at creating characters that are endearing. Her heroines simply call to me and I feel like there are pieces that mirror me at various times of my life. Charlotte is a character with many nuances. She complex in that while she can be fickle, she is most assuredly steadfast. When we meet her we quickly understand that she has a tattered history of relationships and yet her sense of adventure is strong. But the insecurities hold her back are so easily amplified. The story takes off with her impromptu and fated meeting of Adam. One night leads to months of self-doubt. But into her life comes a dear man in Seth and she’s clearly not ready for him. Charlotte is very much a work in progress and when transformation comes it hits her hard.
Some might construe this as a love triangle but I don’t see it that way. Carlino plots it perfectly so the relationships that our quirky and endearing heroine Charlotte has with Adam and Seth are different, but no less great. Adam is perplexing and Charlotte just can’t shake the story they began creating together and a reckoning is imminent. Admittedly I felt conflicted with how Charlotte feels about Seth. He’s just so genuine and warm and perhaps he’s not Mr. Right for now, but he is most assuredly a Mr. Right. My heart ached for her as she speculated her decisions but I do love how she is unapologetic and she does seize the day. She’s not mean or anything but sometimes her inner voice made me flinch. It’s hard to deny that she deserves what she makes with Adam but it all comes back to timing. I’ll just say that the joy she feels with him is beautiful but not unparalleled.
“I think we have soul mates, but I think we can have more than one, just like we can have more than one career, or more than one hobby, or more than one fucking favorite food. Different people connect to different parts of our souls.”
This story ended PERFECTLY. Of course I would have loved more but I enjoyed the promise of what became of Charlotte’s life. This complicated story of hope, love, and renewal is an absolute must read, one that I accomplished in one sitting. Not surprising this left me with yet another acute book hangover courtesy of Renee Carlino. 5++ Stars and a must read recommendation!
~Review by Cyndi
“You’re making love sound tragic,” I said.
“No”—he shook his head—“I wouldn’t want it any other way. Tell me about us. What do we like to do?”
“Paint and sail and eat and drink. Just simple things.” “Don’t forget about sex,” he said.
“Yeah, lots of sex. Before the children were born we were practically naked every second of the day.”
“I like that.”
“When they got older, we’d sneak away for weekends and leave them at my mom’s.”
“What are they like? Our children.”
“Happy. That’s all we wished for. We put our love first and it just spilled over into them and now they’re happy.”
Tears sprang from my eyes and ran down my cheeks. Isn’t that what we all hope for when it comes to our children?
His tone suddenly changed. “That’s beautiful, Char- lotte.” It was like he was waking up from the dream. I didn’t want to go back to reality yet, but I knew these fantasies were just to help Adam get his mind off things.
“I can imagine a long life with you,” he said. “I can imagine what a great wife you’d be.”
I pulled my hand out of his. “The story is about you and me.” He didn’t say anything; he just nodded and then continued to stare out the window. I bent and kissed the top of his head again, and whispered, “It’s about us. Don’t take that away from me.”