Author: Sophie Kinsella
Genre: Women’s Fiction/Romance
Publisher: Dial Press
Publication Date: October 27, 2020
Book Description: 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 remote writers’ retreat in 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 community, 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 for Aria and Dutch.
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 while they love each other, they just can’t love each other’s lives. Can they reconcile their differences to find one life together?
Rating: 3 Stars
Review: I am a huge Sophie Kinsella fan, I read everything she writes good and not so good, so you can imagine I was super excited to get an advanced reader’s copy of this book. This book started off so strong, but I was left struggling with how I felt about this book.
This book begins when Ava leaves London to go to a writer’s retreat in Italy. When she get’s there the instructor has said that she does not want people to get personal with each other and in fact you will pick an anonymous name to go by, while they are in the program. Ava becomes Aria and she quickly develops a crush on Dutch. During the week they have a love affair for the ages and have decided they want to make this relationship work permanently.
When Ava “Aria” and Matt “Dutch” get back they struggle to get accustomed to this new relationship while they in their real worlds. They have agreed to no baggage, however that quickly breaks down as they discover things about each other.
Per usual, Kinsella gives us a lot of humor, and I found myself laughing a lot. However, this is where I was torn, once they are back in London, I found Matt to be significantly lacking, and could not understand why Ava stayed with him. It felt like she was always questioning everything that was related to him.
This has a typical romance trope, so she eventually does come to her senses and dumps him, but of course Matt does redeem himself in a big way, which totally saves the story for me. This is a fun read, if you know going into this, you will probably not like Matt except for the bookends of this book.
Thank you NetGalley and Dial Press for an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.