Alix and Valerie: What can I say? It's a story of love! Betrayal! Secrets! Bald girls! Dark pasts! And pirates!
Well, okay, there are no pirates, but the other things are most definitely in attendance.
Lets break it down, shall we? Alix, who has been in love with her best friend for years, meets Valerie, a bartender with a past, just before said best friends wedding.
What un-folds afterwards is, in terms of character interaction, a believable tale woven in-between the larger events shaping the two lives in question. It was easy for me, as I delved into the burgeoning romance, to forget that I was reading about the building blocks - the minutia - of a relationship, and yet I was finding it as interesting (if not more so, at times) than the rather more fast-paced sections that deal with the larger issues at hand. The fact that the author made the smaller picture as enthralling as the larger one makes the book an enjoyable read on so many levels. There are secrets, betrayals, bald girls and dark pasts, but there are also cute moments, humour, and an accessible romance that you root for even when it's looking bleak for the titular pair.
The two leads feel real. They banter, they flirt, they bicker and they fall in love, and it's written in such a way as to remind you of exactly how awkward, funny and moving falling in love can be.
I think it's almost easy to dismiss Alix & Valerie, at first glance, as perhaps something akin to a 'holiday read'; a light, fluffy, non-demanding experience that will not stay with you longer than your flight home. I would urge anyone considering not reading the book for this reason to give it a chance; although the read is un-demanding, it is so in a good way, in the way that it does not demand that you struggle through turgid and un-wieldy prose to find yourself unsatisfied at an ultimately disappointing denouement
Although...maybe it could've done with a few more pirates. Just my personal opinion.