I enjoy a romance every now and then, but there are things that are common to this genre that make them a less than ideal read for me. The First Warm Evening of the Year is a romance, yet one with a more literary feel, without explicit details that I don’t wish to read, and with a more character driven approach to telling the story (which I like, but if you like a plot-driven story, this type of book will frustrate you).
Geoffrey is pulled away from his NYC bachelor’s life as a voice-over actor when an old college friend dies. He hasn’t seen or talked to Laura since she moved to Paris after college — 20 years ago — and yet, she’s left word that she’d like him to act as executor of his estate.
When he goes out to the small town of Shady Grove, New York, he begins to think about his and Laura’s friendship, and what she meant to him, and why they lost touch. Laura’s good friend Marion is waiting there to meet him, and from the moment Geoffrey sees her, he can’t stop thinking about her. But he’s involved; she’s involved; and to be honest, neither of them are really looking for a soulmate.
The theme of unrequieted love is a fairly common one, yet Jamie Saul tells the story in such a perfect way that as a reader, I was pulled through the story in suspense. At first, I was convinced that they’d get together — of course they would — and then I wasn’t so sure that I’d get that happy ending (and what I firmly believed would be best for Marion and Geoffrey), and then I’d flip back to the other side of things, unsure if they’d be together, but certain that they’d probably be okay either way.
Of course I’m not going to tell you how it turns out, but I will say that if you enjoy character-driven novels, I can recommend this one highly.
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Jennifer blogs at Snapshot when she’s not getting lost in a book.