Billed as chick lit/contemp romance, one would expect a light, fluffy, and … well, romantic type book. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The book starts off somewhat slowly and analytically as Our Heroine, Chloe, peruses the profiles and stats of possible matches on an Internet dating site.
It picks up the pace when she starts dating a number of these men, and at the same time, we read about her relationships with her two best friends, her family, and … her exes, particularly the most recent one.
Unsurprisingly, this is a book about relationships, or lack of them, and the author does a good job in portraying the very different types that Chloe has.
This story is written in the first person, and primarily present tense, but even so, we learn about Chloe’s past, and that of her friends and family as the story unfolds, yet without any distracting unnecessary information dumps. The skill in this story is showing the feelings and emotions of others through their interaction, emotions, and conversations with Chloe. Dialogue is one of the main techniques used to tell this story, and it is well done, with no overly descriptive tags or unnecessary adverbs. It moves on the story and our understanding at the same time.
Characters develop through the story, and we come to empathise with Chloe’s feelings and thoughts as she questions the way she is approaching online dating and her new relationships. The author takes us inside Chloe’s head so that we share the anticipation of each new date, and the self-doubt that follows. Will there be a repeat date? But not just Chloe, her friends Jess and Shelly, and her family, grow as we read through the book. We truly learn more about all the characters. Even the dates she has stamp their personality on the story.
There is judgement, criticism, argument, and inevitable disappointment. There is however no maudlin sentimentality, the author steers clear of that.
And the plot? Well, my predicted ending didn’t happen, although the actual ending felt a little unreal. Nevertheless, after an up-and-down, exciting, unexpected journey through online dating, the ending provides an optimistic finish, and it has to be said, an interesting one.
It’s a good story of the pervasive influence the internet has on our lives, even down to finding our partners in life.
In chick lit genre, it’s somewhat different from the expected norm, avoiding all the crass stereotypical portrayals of behaviour, while providing good character and plot development. In contemporary romance it holds its own, providing a realistic view of the highs and lows of online dating, and the assumptions people make about it.