✰ ✰ ✰
Sophie Kinsella has always been a hit and miss author for me but this book was one I’d put in the ‘win’ column, despite the few (major) issues I had with it. Namely, that it was a romance. While I’m the first person to line up in support of romance being included in every genre and book EVER, this is one of the few instances in which I feel it should have been left out. It was brilliant simply being a book about a woman’s search for her own voice and frankly the romantic story line just kept getting in the way.
With an unexpected meet cute and a whimsical IOU budding relationship, this story had all of the hallmarks for a light and fluffy romance and yet, it was surprisingly deep. What I hadn’t been expecting were complex family dynamics and a longing for tradition in a society that expects modernism. If you’re after something more than just your average romance, then you’re in the right place.
Fixie Farr has always lived by her father’s motto: “Family first.” But since her dad passed away, leaving his charming housewares store in the hands of his wife and children, Fixie spends all her time picking up the slack from her siblings instead of striking out on her own. The way Fixie sees it, if she doesn’t take care of her father’s legacy, who will? It’s simply not in her nature to say no to people.
So when a handsome stranger in a coffee shop asks her to watch his laptop for a moment, Fixie not only agrees—she ends up saving it from certain disaster. Turns out the computer’s owner is an investment manager. To thank Fixie for her quick thinking, Sebastian scribbles an IOU on a coffee sleeve and attaches his business card. But Fixie laughs it off—she’d never actually claim an IOU from a stranger. Would she?
While the romance was achingly sweet at times, I have to admit the self-growth, empowerment and complicated family dynamic was what kept me entertained. Fixie was an intrinsically likeable character. Deeply loyal, considerate and kind, she easily gained my support from the first page. The downside to this was her lack of a backbone. Fixie’s overly considerate nature and aversion to conflict was at times uneasy to read. Not due to annoyance at her character’s traits but rather from the anger it inspired in me, as a reader.
The general lack of consideration and care from her siblings had me hoping that Fixie would eventually stand up for herself. Her character’s development in this regard was empowering to read about. Here was a woman constantly brought down by those around her and yet she still managed to find her own voice. While this wasn’t a sudden change, the slow and deliberate manner in which she began to grow an affection for the empowerment that comes with voicing a controversial opinion, rang as authentic.
With that said, if this had been a novel entirely about Fixie’s fight and struggle for self-worth, independence and empowerment I’d have rated it 4 stars. Instead, the inclusion of a to-and-fro romance with a romantic ‘hero’ that didn’t quite remain consistent in temperament nor personality, brought the overall rating down. I quickly found myself plodding through the romantic scenes in eager anticipation for the family drama concerning the fight for maintaining tradition in a modern world.