Ready to lose yourself in a new romance in 2020/21? I might have just the thing….
Meant to Be by Louisa Leaman
Genre: Romance, Adult & Contemporary Romance, Modern & Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Transworld Publishers
Date Published: 17 Dec 2020 (E Book)
1 April 2021 (Paperback)
Print length: 312 pages
After a spate of terrible boyfriends, Jess is sure she’s found her perfect man in dependable – but occasionally dull – Tim. But when her grandmother, tasks her with retrieving a family heirloom from a local auction she finds herself face to face with a charming stranger, Guy.
Guy has already bought her grandmother’s precious necklace and whilst Jess desperately tries to buy it back from him, he somehow convinces her to go out on a date instead.
Ridiculous. But Guy has the necklace and Jess’s grandmother’s health is declining rapidly. Jess has no choice but to indulge Guy and go on a date with – if only to get the necklace back.
But when she and Guy hit it off on their date Jess’s dependable happily-ever- after is thrown off track…
I knew as soon as I saw this book cover – and read the description- that Meant to Be would be the book for me (you could say me reading it was meant to be!). As much as I loved classic literature at uni, and will attempt to read any genre, there’s nothing I love more than a contemporary romance (despite being the biggest cynic!).
Jess is a woman with a passion for jewellery and – up until she’s hurt in a bad accident – a love of all things adventurous (and, when you think about it, all things dangerous). She dreams of owning her own business, but is dragged towards more “sensible” options by her sister Aggie and her lovely, dependable boyfriend, Tim. It is only when her grandmother’s necklace- a family heirloom – is sold and placed in the hands of Guy Arlo van de Meer, a charismatic man who shares her love of jewellery, that Jess begins to question the life she lives: is it meant to be this way?
Immediately, we are introduced to sisters Jess and Aggie. They couldn’t be more different, as Aggie’s concern is her teenage daughter, Stephanie, and maintaining her image of stability, whilst Jess isn’t really sure about where her life is going since her accident. The one thing that unites the two women is a butterfly necklace. It may sound like a simple, mundane object but, as the narrative unfolds, the reader finds that the necklace symbolises so much more.
Though this is not Leaman’s first book (her debut was The Perfect Dress, published in May 2020), this was my first time reading one of her books and – can I just say – Leaman really has a talent for creating characters, from determined Jess to her sensible sister Aggie to the enigmatic (and a bit irresistible) Guy, each one of them had depth and heart to them – I was hooked from the outset.
I think what I really enjoyed about this book was the journey. Not only does Jess overcome her injuries and take on the long journey to America, she also journeys into her family’s interesting history – learning that it’s so much more than a necklace after all. Though I’m not into finding out my ancestry at all, I loved reading about Jess’s family and I found the secrets (and the romances) along the way just as interesting as Jess did.
Another thing I loved was Leaman’s exploration into Jess’s relationship with her Grandmother. I think the love for and bond with our grandparents is something special and Leaman really communicated this through Jess and her determination to track down – and return – the butterfly necklace. The relationship was tender, sensitive and seeing Jess’s Grandmother declining did make me feel a bit weepy.
The most exciting part of Meant to Be, I think, was the ending. Whilst it did have me shaking my head, leaving much to be desired, I like the fact that Leaman left the book at a point where – if she ever wanted to – she could return to these characters and continue the adventure. I, for one, wouldn’t mind if she did.
A Few “Thank Yous”
I wouldn’t have been able to read this book, or participate in this Blog Tour (my second one, you can read my first Blog Tour stop here), without a few people. I firstly want to thank Anne Cater, of Random Things Tours, for organising this blog tour (and letting me be part of it).
I also would like to thank the publishers, Transworld (Penguin Random House), and Louisa Leaman, for gifting me a copy of this book to read and review. I was hooked by Meant to Be, which is Louisa’s second novel, and I hope others will be as well.
About The Author
Louisa Leaman was born, raised and now lives near Epping Forest. She studied Art History at Leeds University before becoming a teacher working with children with special needs. After winning the Times Education Supplement’s New Writer’s Award, she turned her hand to writing books for children. Louisa currently writes content for the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, but has also been published in the Guardian, the Observer, the Independent and The Times Educational Supplement. Her interest in the arts is often inspiration for her plots and her first book, The Perfect Dress, was inspired by the V&As large wedding dress collection and fulfils her dream of writing romantic fiction. When she isn’t busy writing or rearing her three lively children, she paints portraits, takes long walks and spends far too long browsing vintage clothing shops.
That’s my stop on the Random Things Tour for Meant to Be complete. Don’t forget to check out the other reviews and interviews as part of this tour (and also don’t forget to buy Leaman’s first book: you can purchase it here, though other sites to purchase from are available).
As always, you can find me (and more things books, baking and everything in between) on: