Keris Stanton makes her first appearance at the blog today with a sweet romantic comedy with a heroine who is searching for her own path through love, life and everything in between. Please read on for my review of
It Had to Be You
Bea is a twenty-something woman who always compares every man she meets to her recurring dream – one she’s had since she was a teen. A bit shy and slightly awkward, her best friend Henry is also her landlord and co-worker at the bookshop. Both Bea and Henry are more than a bit on the conservative side – their flatmates are not – Freya a mouthy lesbian and the couple who are either fighting loudly or making up at decibels loud enough to inform the neighborhood. With her own back and forth about “him” the man in her dreams – Bea’s entire life has been arranged around this one London park and place – the park where her dream is staged.
Bea is overlooking everything and everyone until one day, on an errand to get milk for their tea at work she sees “him”. Him is Dan, a man biding his time in the park before an interview – and Bea, in a very non-Bea like reticent mode introduced herself to the man she believes is ‘the one’. Oh Dan is very nice – but they have NOTHING in common – he doesn’t read, and she is a bookworm, and the chemistry is just ‘meh’. Meanwhile, poor Henry is the one everyone can see she needs to be paired with – their banter, their camaraderie and their similarities they are meant to be together.
Throughout the story, we are given multiple versions of Bea’s recurring dream – subtle changes to the dream as she meets Dan, as she deals with her own past (which is pretty sad) and the constant input from Freya (wanted or not) and the slow days at the shop which allow her to muse and dream of her relationship with Dan to no end. There are some moments that have laugh out loud reactions, and situations that are clearly depicting life in a flat share with multiple people – but there is a sense that Bea is someone out of her time and element –striving to be what Dan wants, convincing herself that as her “one’ they are fated to be together and that doesn’t come with fireworks and butterflies. I was sad to see her so untethered to her own likes and desires in an effort to ‘keep’ someone who really wasn’t all that decided on being kept.
Stanton’s writing is wonderful and smooth, from dialogue to interior voice each comes of clear and distinct, the path that Bea is travelling is clear to everyone BUT herself – even as she perseveres forward – eyes on the prize. Dealing with old hurts, new expectations and even newer revelations, Bea’s journey is clear to everyone – and you wish the best for her (Henry) even more so when her own romantic and childhood histories are revealed. Clever, sweet and despite what felt like an over-reliance on her ‘dream interpretations’, Bea is a character that could be any young person trying to discover their way and just who they are.
Title: It Had to Be You
Author: Keris Stainton
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Comedy
Published by: Bookouture
Published on: 6 December, 2017
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Google
Twenty-five-year-old Bea is a hopeless romantic – with a hopeless love life. She’s been single ever since her awful ex broke her heart, and the only thing she gets up to in bed is watching rom coms on her laptop.
When Bea meets Dan, who is basically the man of her dreams, she knows she can’t let him get away. They might not have fireworks, but not everyone can be fighting and (loudly) making up every night, like Bea’s housemates.
But Bea can’t shift the feeling that something just isn’t right. As time goes on, Dan seems less like Mr Right, and more like Mr Couldn’t-Be-More-Wrong… Will Bea be brave enough to change her dreams – and dare to ask for more?
A laugh-out-loud tale for anyone who’s ever dreamt of a fairy-tale romance and found a real-life happy ending, for fans of Giovanna Fletcher, Cate Woods, and Mhairi McFarlane.
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.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: