This book is a testament to how much a cover can help a book’s discoverability. I rarely read memoirs and never read romance novels, but when I received a pitch for this memoir by Harlequin senior editor Patience Bloom, the cover captivated me. Perhaps I was coming off a bunch of dark, creepy crime novels and needed something lighter, but the artwork is bright and fun so I said yes to a review copy and am glad I did.
The book starts with Bloom in boarding school, trying to get her nerve up to ask a cute boy named Kent to a dance. Things don’t go well, which also describes her love life in the next couple of decades.
Bloom started reading and loving romance novels while a teen and often built dreamy scenarios in her head as soon as she developed a crush on someone. This led to her going to great lengths to please the objects of her affection in her journey toward finding The One.
But, alas, her time and efforts did not bring about her desired results. At the age of 41, with her dream job as an editor at Harlequin, Bloom realized she was happy in her single life. Then an old friend contacted her on Facebook.
Bloom has a breezy, accessible style that reads like someone telling you a story at a dinner party. At times, there’s too much repetition—in saying romance novels got her through tough times, for example, or insisting that reconnecting with her old friend on FB wasn’t going to lead to anything—but she comes across as someone who’s decent, self aware, unafraid to own up to her flaws and neuroses, and witty. She doesn’t wallow in self-pity after each disappointment; she gets right back in the saddle with remarkable resilience and optimism.
Which is why I was invested in her story, and it’s a good one. It contains awkward moments that call to mind Bridget Jones’s disastrous adventures in dating, amusing comparisons between romance-hero types and real men, and dark moments (like many fairy tales, there’s a nasty stepmother and scary characters), but the ending affirms the notion that sometimes real life can turn out better than fiction.
Nerd verdict: Breezy, affecting Romance