Lauren Westwood comes to the blog today with her holiday mash-up romance / chick lit story set in London. Please read on for my review of
Moonlight on the Thames
“You are who you are”
An interesting premise around which to build a holiday story that combines hope, choices, chances and a dash of courage to come out the other side. I’ll be honest and say up front that the ‘perfect’ life that Nicola claims she has – high-flyer up the corporate ladder, all of the associated stresses and pressures – and the addition of a long-term relationship – with a married co-worker made her difficult to engage with – particularly since she seems to be more invested in her own plans. She’s a loner, with only one actual relationship that is solid – with her younger sister – a judgmental yet not wholly ‘clued in’ character, Nicola was difficult to like with walls and self-delusions up to her chin: actually that part fit her well as one would have to be deluded to carry on a three-year affair with a married co-worker. And, things aren’t getting better for her anytime soon: it’s the build up to Christmas – she’s got no interest (not really) in the holiday, and to make things EVEN worse the trains aren’t running and there is a loud and happy choir of carolers right where she needs to be.
Dmitri is the conductor of this little pop-up choir, and the choir has been his connection to all things music for ages. Dmitri is quiet and contained, with a huge set of secrets and dreams that are unfulfilled- but a woman isn’t in his plans, despite the instant interest he has for Nicola. This first chance meeting is inauspicious, but will lead them both into paths unimagined as the story moves forward. Dmitri, for his part, was far more the star of the show here, even as he holds his broken dreams close while sharing his love of music and sharing himself with the people he encounters. Even though he is the quieter type, he does engender loyal friends who will (and do) go to great lengths for him to find happiness – just none of them actually see Nicola, at least not as they first encountered her – as worth him or the effort.
Slowly these two work on a friendship on their next encounter – Nicola still manages to be much more prickly than necessary -but Dmitri is one who looks beyond that – hoping to find her softer side. I can’t say that I felt she ever redeemed herself for herself, but she did make some progress – even if her ‘friends’ and particularly her sister were the ‘judge everyone around us’ types – rather than work to actually sort out their own issues. I just felt mired in the slower lulls of the story, and the vast amounts of work that I was required to do to find Nicola worth caring about in her own right. I’m not saying that affairs and adultery doesn’t happen – but there is a certain level of immaturity and selfishness that resides deep in the character of someone who takes that route and won’t bother to look beyond the confines of being the side-piece – and I don’t believe that enough was done here to make Nicola a person who had truly done that self-examination to make choices that would move her on. Dmitri was lovely and his loss of a dream without allowing it to crush his love for music and the people who enjoy it was a far more empathetic and engaging character – and his search for a purpose and a road into hope and happiness was easy to cheer on and enjoy – the moments that were magical and atmospheric (and there were those) didn’t always balance out or override the almost brutally realistic moments that kept this story grounded and not entirely overloaded with that ‘holiday’ feeling.
Title: Moonlight on the Thames
Author: Lauren Westwood
Genre: Contemporary Woman's Fiction, Holiday Themed, Romantic Elements, Setting: Britain
Published by: Aria
Published on: 4 September, 2018
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Google
Worlds collide when two strangers meet at Waterloo station. It's a moment they'll never forget. Perfect for the fans of Milly Johnson.
Christmas is a joyous time, but not everyone is merry and bright.
Nicola is a rising star at the top of the corporate ladder, but her personal life is a disaster. Her office affair has lost its allure, and the last thing she wants to think about is Christmas. A night of cancelled trains and festive Christmas carols at Waterloo Station is just about the last straw...
Dmitri loves conducting his pop-up choir during the festive season, meeting people, and spreading joy and cheer around London. But he carries deep secrets from his past that robbed him of his dream to become a concert pianist.
Can their hearts and souls be unlocked by music and moonlight and will they discover the healing power of love?
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.