Join me for this lovely character driven story about a search for love and happiness! Carrie Stone brings a sweetly gripping romance, full of missed and made connections!
Kate & Alf:
Not a barn burner, or even particularly fast-paced, Kate & Alf is a character driven story that focuses on relationships and finding the courage to find happiness. Stone doesn’t beat readers over the head with dramatic events, for it is rarely great dramatic moments that define us, rather the subtle slights and missed moments that slowly erode self-confidence and happiness, and often have people obsessing about their relationships, lives and what next.
Kate was hard not to like, even as I wanted to shake her: but she had completely valid reasons for not wanting to ‘rock the boat’ in her relationship, or even in her life. She views her childhood as a series of losses: everyone she loves is taken from her, and that makes her a bit too attached to what feels secure, even as it is flawed. After seven years with Alf, she is expecting a proposal, but he just misses that train entirely.
On the other hand, Alf started as dismissive and self-obsessed, full of petty jealousies and a need to be ‘in control’: his inability to see that he may have a hand in their relationship issues is beyond his comprehension, and even when he sees an issue- it’s never his fault. His refusal to inform Kate about the simplest things because ‘It’s only a few days’ or “it will put us in a better financial position’ is typical. And really – who believes that a puppy is an appropriate present with BOTH of them work more than 40 hours a week? Yeah. That guy.
So, by now you have guessed that I’m on Kate’s side: but she was not perfect: refusing to have “those” discussions and share her feelings, speaking out rather than remaining silent when Alf is an Oaf, refusing to step out of the box she has placed herself in. No, Kate wasn’t perfect, but she had a solid core of strength coupled with genuine compassion for others, and several very loyal friends.
Most prominent in her friends are Viv and Lil from the care home, and Megan her childhood friend. Viv and Lil are fiercely protective, while adding some comic relief; Viv’s Guinness addiction and her ‘sense’ about people that had her handing out advice and reading tea leaves: Lil the 5 times married woman who has tales of her youth and the one that got away. Megan who doesn’t think Alf is ‘good enough’ for her, and despite her own personal difficulties with her alcoholic younger brother is always there for Kate to turn to. When Alf’s boyhood friend Marcus appears and he and Kate strike up a solid friendship that opens Kate to see what she had left behind, and realize that she wasn’t happy.
Slowly but surely, Kate moves forward with several missteps along the way, realizing what she had lost, trying to regain a new view, and discovering her renewed passion for her art. While never a straightforward path, Kate’s growth and change are palpable, and we see her let go of her apologetic and insecure approach to asking for what she needs to a more confident and determined step forward.
The seeming one step forward, three steps back journey isn’t dramatic or fast paced: like life there are many missteps and corrections along the journey to finding yourself. And while Kate doesn’t make instant changes, her growth and belief in herself and her ability to find happiness is a learning curve for her. Carrie Stone has created a story that will speak to many, the clear depictions of how being stuck in a rut is mind-numbing and soul-sucking, but only courage and belief that wanting more is the cure.
Title: Kate & Alf
Author: Carrie Stone
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published by: Harper Impulse
Published on: 5 February, 2015
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Kate loves Alf. And Alf loves Kate… Doesn’t he?
Kate can’t wait for her long-term boyfriend Alf to propose. So he might be a bit of a control freak who’s obsessed with his career … and he also seems to have conveniently forgotten their two-year plan to get married, buy a bigger house and have children. But Kate’s sure that ring will be on her finger soon.
When her thirty-second birthday ends in humiliating, proposal-less disaster, even Kate is left wondering if Alf really is The One. Then Alf’s friend, Marcus, needs a place to stay. With his dark eyes, easygoing manner and kind concern for Kate, Marcus is everything Alf is not - and it's not long before Kate begins to wonder if there’s more to life than diamonds.
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.