I was walking around the library, looking for something to read over the long weekend, and I saw this cute book. It had a cheery, bright colored cover and a cute title. What could go wrong?
Seriously, I was almost a third of the way through this, thinking to myself that although it was a quick, easy read, I really wasn’t enjoying it, and it was driving me crazy that it reminded me of something. I finally realized that it was by the same author as last year’s Dear Mr. Knightley, a book that I had high hopes for, but that failed me in the end.
This book gives me similar feels.
Lucy is a 20-something who lives in Chicago, and works in a super-popular antique /interior design shop. She is in charge of all of the rare books in the store, and everything that comes out of her mouth is book-related. She speaks in book quotes and compares everything to things that happened in books written hundreds of years ago. To me, this doesn’t seem realistic or healthy. But I went with it.
Lucy has a meet cute with James, who is shopping for his grandmother. They fall in love, talk about books, and then suddenly break up with James finds out that Lucy has a kind of awful and unforgivable secret.
But James’ grandmother takes a liking to Lucy, and brings her along on a shopping trip to London and the British countryside. Weird and contrived, I know. But still, I went with it.
And in the end, all is forgiven, and everyone has learned an important life lesson about themselves and their loved ones because LITERATURE. And this is where I couldn’t take it anymore.
Lucy was an abhorrent character. There was literally nothing about her that made me like her. She was manipulative and shady and I never once felt bad for her that she was dumped by James. I did feel bad that she had been abandoned by her con-man father, but it seemed like her mother was a strong woman who did her best by Lucy. And Lucy didn’t seem to appreciate that one bit.
What I did love about this book is all of the tidbits of information I learned about literary England. As Lucy toured Bloomsbury and Westminster Abbey in London, the moved north to the Brontes’ home up in Haworth, and finishing up in Bowness on Windermere, I googled along every step of the way. I learned about the Bronte family, Beatrix Potter, T.S. Eliot, and C.S. Lewis. And I’m glad that I did, as some of the stories were fascinating, and the scenery was beautiful.
Katherine Reay has a third book — once again about young women obsessed with classic literature, but this time with CANCER. I think I’ll skip it.