It’s not actually that often that a romance book can keep surprising me – Take A Chance On Me did exactly that, though.
I was offered an ARC by Netgalley in exchange for a review. All opinions are strictly my own.
Meet Bridget’s sister, Emma Donovan – eternally single maker-of-cakes for many a happy couple, whilst never making it down the aisle herself.
Emma has four younger sisters, all of whom are married or getting married, and an Italian mother who can’t understand what is ‘wrong’ with her eldest daughter, who seems to be stranded on the shelf. Despairing of her own ability to find a suitable husband, Emma agrees to be part of a compatibility project to get married at first sight.
Meanwhile Cooper is struggling to get over his crush on Bridget and seems destined to stay firmly on the shelf too. Perhaps it’s time his fate was taken out of his hands…
Is happily-ever-after just about daring to take a chance, or do you need some extra magic to make love last?
Look, I’m going to be honest: I thought I knew exactly what to expect from this book. Guy likes girl, girl doesn’t like guy, guy struggles, guy moves on. As I mentioned in the intro, though – that’s not quite what happened. If anything, this book offered a complete subversion of that narrative. And you know what? I’m not mad about it.
| C – characters |
A – atmosphere
W – writing
P – plot
I – intrigue
L – logic
E – enjoyment
More than anything, what I really liked about this book, was how utterly human the characters were. They make mistakes, they mess up, and they just keep on trying. And if at times, that meant I was left with completely conflicted wishes for what was about to happen? Well, that’s really more of a me-problem, isn’t it?
As you know from the very beginning that Cooper has a crush (well, let’s be real: is kind of hopelessly head over heels in unrequited love) on Emma’s sister, and that Emma was initially really attracted to Cooper’s friend… Well, romance has a tendency to solve conflict with more conflict, from time to time. Luckily, in the case of Take A Chance On Me, the author didn’t take that easy way out. Which, sure, left me waiting for the other shoe to drop for like 95% of the story, but also… Was a pretty big relief to me, because I actually liked the characters, and I didn’t want them to make the kind of mistake they wouldn’t be able to take back?
Another choice that seemed slightly off, when compared to other romance books: the narrative style. Where chicklit isn’t a stranger to short phrases, many exclamations and brief paragraphs, Beth Moran actually opted for a slightly more natural style: longer phrases, almost stream-of-consciousness-like, and a switch between first person for Emma and third person for Cooper that I enjoyed way more than I anticipated.
The rating: 3.5/5
Did I thoroughly enjoy this book? Absolutely. Did it also leave me with a kind of melancholic feeling, sad and happy for the main characters at the same time? Yes. And did I kind of wish that Beth Moran would’ve just written a separate book for each of the sisters (similar to Kate Hewitt’s The Sisters of Thorntwaite-series)? Check. All in all, though, this was a really fun read, and the perfect kind of thing to fly through on a spring day. (Goodreads, TheStoryGraph)