Friday, 16 January 2015

How I Wonder What You Are by Jane Lovering

When Molly first meets Phinn, he's drunk, naked, and unconscious. Both are running away from heartbreak, and have found themselves in a small Yorkshire village. When they realise that they are the only ones who seem to be witnessing a strange night-sky phenomenon, the investigation into what it might be draws them closer together.

When reading a romance novel, I find it important to manage my expectations. As I have mentioned in previous reviews, I don't expect to be shocked by plot twists; ultimately, readers go in knowing what they are going to get. As soon as a male and female character are introduced, it's easy to quickly assess whether or not they are 'meant to be', and once you have decided that they are, you are under no illusions as to the culmination of events.

The fun in reading a romance, therefore, is not found in the basic plot journey between girl meets boy and girl gets boy. It's found in all of the ephemera; the central conceit of the story, the supporting characters, and what happens to the girl and boy before they manage to end up together.

Unfortunately, How I Wonder What You Are didn't really provide me with too much fun in that ephemera. I liked Molly and Phinn well enough, and it was fun to watch them slowly realise that they like each other, only to have various obstacles thrown into their path. But at the centre of the story are the mysterious lights that they see in the sky, and which nobody else seems to be able to see. For me, it just seemed as though it was a heavy handed way to throw the couple together, and it didn't really work.

It wasn't a total failure; I engaged with the characters, and cared about their ultimate fate, but it's not a book that I'd rush to recommend to anyone else. Ultimately it was just a perfectly acceptable way to step away from the reality of my own life for a couple of hours.

How I Wonder What You Are
First published: December 2014
Choc Lit
Review copy provided by publisher

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