Absence makes the heart grow fonder…doesn’t it? What happens when two people decide to give themselves the year off … from each other?
Annie and Dan were the perfect couple. But now the not-so-newly weds feel more like flatmates than soul mates and wonder where all the fun and fireworks went …
When Annie lands her big break in a smash-hit show that’s heading for the bright lights of Broadway, she’s over the moon. Goodbye remote Irish village of Stickens, hello fabulous Big Apple! But with their relationship already on the rocks, how will Annie and Dan survive the distance?
They’re hitting the pause button on their marriage. One year off from each other – no strings attached, except a date to meet in twelve months at the Rockefeller Centre to decide their fate.
Will they both turn up? Or is it too late for love?
I really, really enjoyed Carroll's previous book Personally, I Blame My Fairygodmother and I couldn't wait to read her latest! Then I learned that it's actually more of a romance story than a proper comedy and I admit I was a little worried as I prefer comedy to just romance, but Carroll pulled it of really well actually!
At the beginning, we're introduced to Annie and Dan, a young couple who have completely drifted away. Annie is absolutely miserable living with his intrusive family in the middle of nowhere and her once oh-so-caring husband is always working and forever letting her down. He's so distant that she can't even tell him how she feels and she feels so trapped. Then finally she gets her chance to escape by starring in a Broadway show - but that would mean moving away for a whole year ...
I must admit I was appalled by how Dan was treating Annie at the beginning. He felt he needed to work so much to help his family that he didn't want to let anyone down, but at the same time he completely failed his wife. Part of me understood Dan, as I'm a bit of a workoholic too, but part of me just wanted to really wanted to give him a very good talking to! Based on his behaviour, I could easily symphatize with Annie and her pain, after being let down SO many times, was tangible. After all that's happened, I can't say I blamed her for escaping to the Big Apple and enjoying her independence for a bit, although I did think the idea itself was a bit drastic, heh.
Once Annie starts enjoying her freedom in NYC, the romance part really starts. Sparks start flying between her and the director Jack, who is a very charming man indeed who could easily sweep Annie off her feet. At the same time, Dan starts missing his wife and he starts reaching out to her again, showing his softer side. I absolutely adored their lovely 'meetings at the moon'.
I loved the gentle romance between Annie and Dan, and on the other hand I quite enjoyed the sparks flying between Jack and her. There were so many twists and turns that I had no idea how the book would end, but I'm pleased to say that I really liked the ending, which made me go all AWWWWWW. :)
There is a fair bit of comedy in this book, which is mostly due to Carroll's narrative, which is typically Irish and thus hilarious in itself - as I've said before, I love Irish authors write, it just cracks me up! Jules was another funny character and I really enjoyed her scenes.
On the other hand, there was plenty of sadness and heartbreak, on top of other serious topics, like drug addiction and alcoholism. Altogether, I thought it was well balanced, plus it was set in the acting world, which I was not very familiar with and so I quite enjoyed reading about it.
Overall, this book isn't just rainbows and butterflies, which turned out to work really well in the end. It features an interesting story with believable, real characters and so many twists and turns to make your head spin, but it ends up making you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Plus the cover is absolutely gorgeous, which is yet another massive plus!
I really can't fault it and while I have almost the whole Carroll's backlist to read, I also cannot wait to see what she comes up with next - it's bound to be a good one!
plot: 5/5 | writing: 5/5 | characters: 5/5 | cover: 5/5