Sometimes, in times like these, all you need is a bit of sun and a good book (or two!).
Our Stop by Laura Jane Williams was one of the books I bought on a whim – considering it was amongst the cheap books currently available on Kindle – with very little to go off apart from a cute yellow cover and the suggestion that I would ‘love this book if I’ve read X book, too’. Turns out, as well as having a cover in my favourite colour, this book was the perfect sweet read I need to fight off the blues.
Nadia gets the 7.30 train every morning without fail. Well, except if she oversleeps or wakes up at her friend Emma’s after too much wine.
Daniel really does get the 7.30 train every morning, which is easy because he hasn’t been able to sleep properly since his dad died.
One morning, Nadia’s eye catches sight of a post in the daily paper:
To the cute girl with the coffee stains on her dress. I’m the guy who’s always standing near the doors… Drink sometime?
So begins a not-quite-romance of near-misses, true love, and the power of the written word.
The cover, much like most of the ones I’ve been reading recently, didn’t give much away. Though the colour – my favourite – and the question on the front (‘What if you almost missed the love of your life?’) gripped me immediately because – as much as I am a cynic where romance is concerned – I ask myself this question a lot, or at least similar questions.
Nadia is reeling off a bad break-up but out of one bad thing comes the action plan to Change Her Life. Williams presents a character who is funny, kind and determined to get herself together – which is very relatable, especially the parts where she most certainly doesn’t have her life together. Even though she was stunning (as several characters vouch throughout), I loved the fact that she wasn’t in a ‘typical’ career that women find themselves in in books, I think it added to her character and made her stand out as there was more to her than her looks. Daniel is a romantic at heart but, unlike his flatmate Lorenzo, he doesn’t have the moves. Though I liked Nadia more, I still think Daniel was an interesting and funny character, and I liked the fact that Williams included his sense of loss and grief for his Dad in there – to cut through the cheesy moments.
I liked the way that friendships were presented. Both characters had a lot of very different friends, people at work and people they’ve known for a long time. These relationships were lovely to read and I liked how all the characters supported Nadia and/or Daniel on their quest to find – well – each other. Plus, it was good to see how Nadia felt when her two friends’ relationship became deeper, because – even though it’s not something people write about – I think we all feel a sense of worry about losing friends or being replaced,
I also liked the way that relationships were presented in the book. It was good to see two characters that were on the opposite spectrum where love is concerned – Nadia isn’t sure she wants to (or is ready to) fall in love again and Daniel wants to fall in love again but doesn’t really know how to go about it. I also liked the fact that Williams also introduced the possibility that somebody else could swoop in, because I guess love really is unpredictable sometimes.
Another thing I liked was the way that Nadia and Daniel communicated with each other, prior to their actual meeting. I’m a sucker for sweet meet-cute stories and something I love even more is the section in a certain free news provider documenting missed connections and this book definitely appealed to that side. I liked the sweet, often cheesy nature of their back-and-forth communication between the two and I think it made the book flow when it seemed to lag or slow down at times.
The only thing I wasn’t mad about was how long the book took to get to that moment. Obviously, it wouldn’t have been great if it just went straight to that point but it got to a point where I was just like ‘TELL HER YOU’RE TRAIN GUY NOW BECAUSE I CAN’T TAKE ANY MORE PARAGRAPHS OF YOU TELLING SECONDARY CHARACTERS HOW PRETTY SHE IS ANYMORE’.
Saying that, I liked this book. It was funny, sweet, hard-hitting at times but the perfect read to get my mind away from the distress that seems to be looming over us. It’s not quite the same, but I’d definitely recommend it if you enjoyed The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary.
Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Alternatively, what are you reading? I’d love to chat in the comments 😊.