This post is being brought to you in partnership with Harlequin Trade Publishing for their Women’s Romance Blog Tour. They provided the arc and the photo, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Charlotte Rosen is 29 years old and is looking for her perfect match. She has created an algorithm to go through men’s profiles, interactions, everything, to determine if they would be a good match for her. It has not been successful…. yet, but practice makes perfect and Charlotte is only looking for perfect.
The book opens up wth a wedding and a blind date. The date, Chad, is horrible. I mean that, he’s an actual horrible person. The things he says are revolting and Charlotte rightfully ends the date as soon as she can. It does however introduce the fact that Charlotte has been married. The way it is described, you’d think that her ex was The Worst™ she sounds bitter and hurt by the experience. Then you find out in the next chapter that she isn’t a disgruntled divorcee, she’s a widow. That’s a little confusing given how angry she sounds when describing her former marriage especially when you consider the fact that her being a widow is in the blurb. It’s a bit of a case of mixed signals.
I have a couple gripes with this book. The first being that we know Charlotte’s a widow before we start reading, so why is that kept from us and why is her ex painted as some rude, unlikeable person? All that did was make Charlotte seem really selfish. The death of her husband comes across more like a personal attack on her happiness and less of a genuinely heartbreaking event that crushed her. That mystery exists only for a few pages so why even have that in there to begin with? All it does is make the reader not like Charlotte.
Speaking of Charlotte, she is very hard to like. It was wild, I would hate her, find everything she said and did annoying, and then she would have moments of humanity and sincerity and I would go yeah, this is someone I can get behind, I feel her sorrow over the unexpected death of her husband and at such a young age. I could understand why she never wanted to be with his family, his mom is AWFUL. And then there’d be scenes where she is making decisions and acting in such a way that I, another 29 year old woman who has experience with grief on a massive scale, am like…. excuse me? I don’t want to spoil anything so I’m keeping it vague! But I just don’t realistically see someone doing the things that she did. Not at 29 and not after 5 years of counseling.
I can’t really describe all of my feelings about this book. There are some really amazing moments between Charlotte and her roommate Casey, Brian – the love interest and her late husband’s best friend – and her mother-in-law. I pushed myself to finish this book, for a good chunk, I was happy that I did. It seemed like Charlotte was growing as a person and some of her less likable traits were fading into the background. And then there’d be a chapter where I’d realize that that didn’t happen. It was difficult.
There are a lot of people who love this book so I really think you should give it a shot! Things that I find frustrating may add flavor for you and that’s wonderful. I have read reviews of people saying that they loved how flawed and imperfect Charlotte was and that it made the story stand out over others and I can definitely agree with that. This is not a cookie cutter story. There is a unique thread to this story and if you connect with it, you’ll really like this. Emily Belden can write drama in many forms and I am interested to see what she comes out with next.