This book is well loved by Cannonballers. Faintingviolet talked about the kindness with which the characters treat one another. Emmalita pointed out that this was a “robust kindness with boundaries.” And they’re completely right. This book absolutely bursts with the kind of kindness that isn’t rooted in “being nice” but rather in respect. And before I get into this, I just want to say that I really really enjoyed this book and you should read their reviews for how sweet it is.
But rather than belabouring what has already been covered, I’d like to offer a small rant about “forever” love.
Martin And Rose, both (traumatically) divorced teachers, know each other for just under a year before they basically declare themselves as a permanent team. In those months, they spend about 80% of it having small talk and purely professional conversations. They spend two weeks boning. They have maybe 2-3 really deep, revealing conversations. That’s a fine basis, but it’s hardly enough to say you’re ready to commit forever, isn’t it?
I’m much more forgiving of this in historical romances because the cultural context is different and marriage was a far more mandatory part of even really getting to know someone, but in a contemporary book? Why? And to be clear, the word marriage isn’t raised, but the permanence is made, in my reading, much more explicit than was earned.
In my books, unless you’ve managed a crisis together, you just literally don’t know. Also, you pretty much never know because life moves in weird, unpredictable ways (*gestures at everything*). And certainly someone in their 40s with badly failed relationships in their back pocket ought to better understand the impermanence of things better than to assume that the first good lay you have means you’re in love “forever.” And I say this as a person who married their high school sweetheart at 23 and am still with him 8 years (and many crises) later for a total of nearly half my life.
It’s frustrating because I really loved this book and I don’t understand why we need to take a sweet story about two people with baggage finding love through radical kindness and throw down these bonds on what their relationship ought to look like after the story ends, especially where it doesn’t really make sense who the characters are and where they are in their lives.
Anyway this is a lovely book and this pet peeve aside is exactly what the doctor ordered.