Call Ava romantic, but she thinks love should be found in the real world, not on apps that filter men by height, job, or astrological sign. She believes in feelings, not algorithms. So after a recent breakup and dating app debacle, she decides to put love on hold and escapes to a remote writers’ retreat in coastal Italy. She’s determined to finish writing the novel she’s been fantasizing about, even though it means leaving her close-knit group of friends and her precious dog, Harold, behind.
At the retreat, she’s not allowed to use her real name or reveal any personal information. When the neighboring martial arts retreat is canceled and a few of its attendees join their small writing community, Ava, now going by “Aria,” meets “Dutch,” a man who seems too good to be true. The two embark on a baggage-free, whirlwind love affair, cliff-jumping into gem-colored Mediterranean waters and exploring the splendor of the Italian coast. Things seem to be perfect for Aria and Dutch.
But then their real identities–Ava and Matt–must return to London. As their fantasy starts to fade, they discover just how different their personal worlds are. From food choices to annoying habits to sauna etiquette . . . are they compatible in anything? And then there’s the prickly situation with Matt’s ex-girlfriend, who isn’t too eager to let him go. As one mishap follows another, it seems while they love each other, they just can’t love each other’s lives. Can they reconcile their differences to find one life together?
I really liked it at first. I struggled through the middle and thought the end was good. Ava and Matt immediately connect and all is well until they go back to real life. Then the problems start. Ava was optimistic and positive to a fault. I felt like it got bogged down in the middle because it was like listening to a teenager talk about the boy she just met, how they are in love, their going to get married. Obstacles? Bah! They don’t matter because they are in LUUUV. It might have been in the wrong mood when I was reading, but I thought it was obnoxious, unrealistic and over the top. Any time the main characters group of friends voiced their objections to her I was nodding right along with them. But, I’m glad I kept going. The characters grow up a little along the way and I ended up liking the choices Ava makes. The end was really sweet and really enjoyed her friends.
A big thank you to #SophieKinsella, #NetGalley and #DialPress for providing a free Advance Reader Copy. This is my honest opinion.