This is my second book of the year and the second I read during a sleepless night. The similarity ends there, unfortunately. While Split kept me up because it was so good I just HAD to finish it, this one... well, it was only insomnia. And to think I was so eager to read it. See, I'm all for vanilla romance, it's light, relaxing and cute.
But this book did not even remotely relax me.
The premise is interesting. Hadley, on her way to London to attend her much dreaded father's wedding, misses her flight. Rescheduled for the next one three hours later, which will make her arrive barely on time, she meets Oliver, a British student at Yale, on his way to London for some other wedding. Sparks ensue. Will Hadley make it to the wedding? Will she see Oliver again?
At first, I thought that the problem I had with this book had to do with the narrative technique. The third-person limited didn't work well for me, I didn't get invested in the story that much. I couldn't connect to Hadley and even though there were some cute moments, the role I felt I was playing was just that of a polite observer. I guess I am a first-person type as far as these romantic stories are concerned, which makes total sense to me since it's not like the focal point is the world-building here but rather the characters and my involvement in the story.
But then, as the story developed, I realized that wasn't it - or rather, only marginally so.
What really disturbed me was my inability to like any of the main characters and the message they conveyed through their actions.
Let's start with Hadley's dad, a college professor. It's not spoilery if I tell you that he went to teach to Oxford for a semester, met someone else, dumped his wife and daughter and never came back. I call this kind of person a cheater. I'm not sure if the whole purpose - or one of the purposes - of the book was for Hadley to come to terms with her dad's betrayal and forgive him, thus "growing up" and understanding the complicated world of adults. Because, as far as I am concerned, there's no forgiveness to be had here. The reality is that he went abroad, met a younger, prettier girl - incidentally, Hadley's mum is short and stocky- and dumped his family. I do not accept the dad's justification "because I fell in love", reinforced by "Love isn't supposed to make sense. It's completely illogical."
In fact, wait a sec there. Love might be illogical but marriage and commitment are not. It's a joint effort and as far as I'm concerned, you just don't bail out of it, especially if there are children involved. You just don't go to the other side of the world living your happy life with your new bimbo (Charlotte doesn't come out as much more than that after all, we only hear her talking about her house). And I don't like the fact that he gets off the hook so easily and Hadley forgives him. That's not the message I want to hear from this book, Love does not justify all.
And what about Charlotte, the new wife? How can you trust a man who cheated on his wife with you? How do you know it won't happen to you, after a few years, when you've become old news?
Finally, I disliked Hadley and her drama queen behavior. How do you dump your dad on his wedding day and go see a boy you just met? Then break into tears right before the wedding reception and make it all about you, you, you? Bad timing, girl, even if you don't like your dad, the wedding or the wife. It felt like this budding thing she had with Oliver was more important than her family issues, which should so not be the case.
This is why, and I am in the minority here, I just couldn't like this book as I thought I would. Light and fluffy is totally my cup of tea, but disagreeing with the general message of the book is a whole different story.
Hopefully you'll like it more than me.