From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of I Owe You One, an utterly delightful novel about a woman who ditches her dating app for a writer’s retreat in Italy—only to find that real love comes with its own filters
“As close to perfect as romantic comedies get.”—Jenny Colgan, New York Times bestselling author of The Bookshop on the Corner
Call Ava romantic, but she thinks love should be found in the real world, not on apps that filter men by height, job, or astrological sign. She believes in feelings, not algorithms. So after a recent breakup and dating app debacle, she decides to put love on hold and escapes to a remote writers’ retreat in coastal Italy. She’s determined to finish writing the novel she’s been fantasizing about, even though it means leaving her close-knit group of friends and her precious dog, Harold, behind.
At the retreat, she’s not allowed to use her real name or reveal any personal information. When the neighboring martial arts retreat is canceled and a few of its attendees join their small writing community, Ava, now going by “Aria,” meets “Dutch,” a man who seems too good to be true. The two embark on a baggage-free, whirlwind love affair, cliff-jumping into gem-colored Mediterranean waters and exploring the splendor of the Italian coast. Things seem to be perfect for Aria and Dutch.
But then their real identities—Ava and Matt—must return to London. As their fantasy starts to fade, they discover just how different their personal worlds are. From food choices to annoying habits to sauna etiquette . . . are they compatible in anything? And then there’s the prickly situation with Matt’s ex-girlfriend, who isn’t too eager to let him go. As one mishap follows another, it seems while they love each other, they just can’t love each other’s lives. Can they reconcile their differences to find one life together?
A spellbinding romance comes to a crashing halt in the sparkling latest from Kinsella (Confessions of a Shopaholic). Ava, an aspiring author and hopeless romantic, arrives in Italy for a weeklong writer's retreat where, to facilitate productivity and limit small talk, everyone is required to remain anonymous. From the moment she meets "Dutch," a gorgeous stranger staying at the same monastery, she feels her "life fallen stunningly into place." They embark on a whirlwind romance and, on their last day in Italy, vow to make their relationship work back home in the U.K. no matter what reality brings. But as soon as they return to London, their magical bubble is burst. Dutch is not the carefree carpenter Ava imagined him to be, but Matt Warwick, COO of a successful dollhouse company. While chaotic Ava enjoys "rescuing" abandoned furniture and books, measured Matt can't abide clutter. For her part, Ava can't stand Matt's horrific art collection and shivers all night in his freezing bedroom. Worst of all, Matt is not a fan of Ava's beloved but badly behaved beagle, Harold. In the face of these unexpected differences, can they really find a way to keep their promise? Kinsella's clever romance about the nature of compromise alternates laugh-out-loud humor with moments that will tug at readers' heartstrings. This rollicking rom-com is a hit.
Love Your Life
I loved how they prove that opposites really do attract. I loved the “love-hate” description they both shared. I especially loved how well their friends blended together. As usual Sophie never disappoints without an exciting ending. A proper closure!
Perfect distraction from the real world!
As we suffer through the chaos of American politics during a pandemic, this book is a perfect escape!
Love Your Life by Sophie Kinsella has all the quirky charm of the Shopaholic series with the addition of an adorable dog to love and a cast of new characters to get to know.
What I Loved
I love that it is hard to choose which character is my favorite because I adored them all. Even the support characters are so well-developed that they leaped from the page into my life. They each have a unique voice to go with their authentic list of foibles and charming attributes. It is a group of friends that you want to go out for a drink with after a grueling day of work, as they will have you laughing your way out of your bad mood in no time.
I do not usually love instant love stories. And, though on the surface, this story looks like this is an instant love story, below the surface, it is not and ultimately follows a more reasonable timeline. Even though Ava and Matt declared their love within days, it takes the whole novel for real, lasting love to develop. And what a crazy laugh-out-loud journey it is.
I also love that the story started quirkily, went on to grow rather frustrating, but ended on a poignant note that brought a tear to my eye. This is a story about love and what makes two people work as a loving couple. There is not just one type of relationship that works, though. For one friend, it is someone who checks off all of her boxes. For another friend, it is finding someone who shares her disdain for people in general, and for Ava, it is about finding someone who is not just like her but is different in a way that complements all her quirkiness. The only question being, will they be able to figure that out for themselves.
I so enjoyed Harold, the rescue Beagle. He is so spoiled and undisciplined that he provides many of the laughs throughout the story.
However, I did agree with Matt that he needed a bit of training – let’s face it, a dog that steals a whole steak when someone is holding it on a platter is definitely in need of learning the word no. But I can also sympathize with Ava’s approach. Harold is her heart, and she wants to make his life full of the love she feels he was denied when he was left on the side of the highway. I think anyone who has rescued an animal that has had a rough start in life can understand.
To Read or Not to Read
This is a definite read as it will make you laugh, cry, and see all that life has to offer.