Thought I'd give the romance genre another try and I liked the idea of this one. Frumpy small college librarian (Bernie) goes viral after an event in the library and ends up being part of a feature in a local media outlet. The premise is that Frumpy Librarian goes on thirty dates to both appease the library people to take advantage of her new status as a meme and to help Colin drive more readers to the outlet.
And there we have it. Most of the book has Bernie go on these dates while she and Colin fight their attraction to each other, navigate the assignment (she the dates, he finding dates for her), etc. It was mildly interesting and initially it seemed quite readable. I liked the idea of Bernie being a librarian and the whole ridiculous set up of her becoming a meme on the internet and the drive to take advantage to make the most of her 15 minutes was amusing and contemporary.
That said, the rest of the book wasn't so great. Some of the dates were funny, others were excruciating to read about (as you do...). There were some side plots that weren't very interesting (Colin and his issues with his co-workers at Glaze). And honestly? Colin was NOT someone who was very appealing. I would assume Title (great author name for this series...) wrote him this way to contrast to Bernie's feminism but I absolutely could not stand the description of his Henry Higgins and her Eliza. It had very uncomfortable and unfortunate implications that I'm not sure the author realized.
I didn't mind these aspects (either Bernie's feminism or Colin's "bro"-ness for lack of a better phrase) but it just became very cliched and wasn't particularly well done. In these types of books you *know* how it will end but *how* you get there is what makes or breaks these types of books for me. This one had a lot of potential but needed to be better hashed out with some of the side stories dropped and maybe more work on the characters.
Perhaps romance is just not for me. I am glad this was fairly cheap as a paperback (even new!) but I won't be continuing this series.
Because without hope, we are all lost.
Because without hope, we have nothing.
The final installment of this trilogy leaves me shattered and sad, and full of anger towards the men who perpetrate this kind of abuse on children. But most of all, it leaves me with hope, exhilarated and happy, which, in this context, is nothing short of magic on the author’s part.
To take this extremely important and difficult subject matter, and lovingly show it without condescension or sensationalism, and give so many young people hope? Magic, indeed.
There is such powerful truth in this series. There is such compassionate giving of hope. It is horrid and beautiful at the same time, and it has a way of sending a spiraling sense of meaning out to young people who are hurting, telling them there is a future, there is a life, there is a way. Telling them that there are good people out there, who will love them.
Hope. Truly the most powerful of all human feelings.
We started with beauty in book one. And horror. And friendship. And love.
We continued with courage in book two. Lots and lots of courage. And love.
We finish with hope in this third book, as we run, and hide, and make mistakes, and fix them again. And love.
Thimi is a young boy who lived through the same horrors as Christy in Greece, and Christy finally gets to see his old friend again as he arrives in the US as a scared little waif of a boy. Thimi slowly opens up through the story, and as he starts to understand the sunshine that can exist in a normal life we get to see more about what happens inside a child after abuse.
When you read a YA book, not often does it also work as a manual of how to do things to help a former victim of abuse. It is not often that, in soft tones and sweet turns of phrase, you will understand and learn how to act around people who have been through the unthinkable. Who have been through the unspeakable.
This is a little bit like a beautifully crafted Technical Manual of Care and Maintenance for those who work with our collective youth, especially if they work with children or young adults who have had a hard time.
And the end result? The telling of a great, great love story — with true friendship shining through, the kind of love that inspires both happy endings and good laughs.
There are other new fascinating characters entering the scene, too, and especially Zero is someone I would love to see more of in a future book... I can truly say that I hope this trilogy gets a fourth and fifth instalment, because there are still things I’d like to know, (and history is full of excellent trilogies in five parts). (Just sayin’).
Beauty and Courage and Hope.
Because Elpida means hope.
And, as we said in the beginning, without hope, we are all lost.
I was given a free copy of this book from the publisher, Harmony Ink Press.
A positive review wasn’t promised in return. I also beta-read an early version of the manuscript.
There is a television movie version of this book, called Mrs Harris Goes to Paris, and stars Angela Lansbury, Diana Rigg, and Omar Sharif. Apparently, a new version is being made.
The novel itself is predictable, but it is one of those sweet stories that doesn't give you tooth ache, if you know what I mean.