This holiday season I had flights and time to kill at the airport. I loaded my nook up with easy things to read, since you never know who is going to be sitting near you and whether or not you are going to be able to concentrate on a narrative while amongst so many interesting sorts. While preparing I came across The Other Side of Us which I had downloaded, cheaply since that’s all I do with nook books, at some point in the past 12 months and not gotten around to (I blame my 2014 love affair with Courtney Milan which will be continuing in 2015). So, I thought, why not give this romance title a try?
I almost stopped reading the book entirely in the first 50 pages. There wasn’t much that made me care about either Oliver or Mackenzie. I mean, there should’ve been. There is plenty in the way of melodrama what with Mackenzie’s near fatal car accident the previous year and Oliver’s discovery of his wife’s SIX YEARS OF INFIDELITY and the disillusion of his marriage. I put it down, read The Season for Love and Diana Peterfreund’s two novellas in the For Darkness Shows the Stars series and promptly took a reading break between CBR6 and CBR7. I started reading this one again on my flight home, and only really because I decided as part of my goal for a cannonball and a quarter (65 books read and reviewed this year) I also want to try to expand my reading habits and read something by an author from each continent, and Sarah Mayberry had set her book in outside Melbourne, Australia so I was hoping she was also from the land of Oz (she is!).
I’m glad I did return to this one, because the book picked up dramatically after those first couple chapters. While I have affection for romance reads and their characters, I am not always big on the tropes. There are lots and lots of authors, or more accurately – covers – that I stay away from. Or I wait to hear how Malin and Mrs. Julien feel about them before diving in. I was nervous that Ms. Mayberry was going to make The Other Side of Us about two broken people *magically* being healed by loving each other. And sexy fun times. But instead, she lets her characters stay broken. There’s no magical ‘fixing’ things aren’t made easy just because they can be. These are people facing real issues and the inconveniences of love poorly timed.
And did I mention that it’s funny? Because there are definite moments of levity throughout a relatively heavy read. While double checking Ms. Mayberry’s country of origin I also discovered that she had spent a chunk of her writing career on Australia’s longest running soap, Neighbours and it’s a fun little tidbit to know, since Mackenzie our female protagonist is a producer on just such a show in the novel. I was pleased with this one and read it in two sittings, so should you see it around, you might want to read it too.