Griffin’s lead characters are complex and fascinating, and the discussions between Mary Claire and Neil are deep, engaging, and intimate while not at all flirty or sexual, keeping the age difference from becoming too creepy up front. But some other key characters feel familiar, sometimes even stereotyped, and the 1960’s milieu can feel out of step with the story itself, as the household setup and plot feel much more like that of a Regency romance.
Griffin regularly celebrates the books his couple reads and discusses, which range from Nietzche to Jack London. Bridges movingly presents literature as a means of communication and connection between these thoughtful protagonists–in fact, it’s where their ardor seems most powerful, as the story’s resolution is surprisingly abrupt, with little buildup, tension, or heat before expressions of mutual, monogamous love, and then little exploration of the tenderness or awkwardness of the shift from friends to lovers. Still, this gentle, bookish romance will appeal to readers who relish Regency concerns of titles and inheritance and portrayals of companionable love.
Takeaway: A bookish romance of surprise inheritance, companionable love, and slowly discovering each other.
Great for fans of: Georgette Heyer, Alison Goodman.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A
Griffin's novel is a tender and nuanced story of love blossoming in the most unexpected of places. Neil and Mary Claire are appealing protagonists whose rapport is bolstered by their robust discussions of literature and religion. Despite the 20-year age difference between the two leads, the author establishes their relationship as an equal partnership. The strong supporting cast of characters includes Jane, whose casual attitude toward her relationship with Neil masks hidden jealousy...An engaging and sweet-natured love story featuring an unlikely couple.