Friday, July 28, 2023

Review: The Break Up by Tilly Tennant

Sometimes life calls for a light and easy read that is a guaranteed happily ever after. Tilly Tennant’s The Break Up is just that kind of book even if there are some frustrations as the story moves forward.

The story opens with Lara at a jazz club with Lucien, her boyfriend of a year. Lara hates jazz but listening to music she doesn’t like is not the worst part of the night. The worst part is finding out that Lucien is breaking up with her and then turning to her best friend Siobhan for sympathy only to discover that she and Lucien have been cheating on Lara together. The only good thing to come of the night is a small, hungry, bedraggled stray cat who walks out of the storm into her kitchen and into her heart. One year later, Lara is running a successful wedding planning business out of her back garden. She has a cheerful assistant named Betsy and she loves the cat she’s named Fluffy. He is a bit of a wanderer though and one night while she is searching for Fluffy, she runs into a neighbor, Theo, out looking for his own missing cat, Satchmo. Except Satchmo and Fluffy turn out to be the same cat. Lara and Theo dislike each other immediately. And then they start running into each other everywhere. Lara is a wedding planner. Theo is a jazz musician whose band is in high demand at weddings. Can they work together? Can they become something more?

This is very much an enemies to lovers story, and the switch from the one to the other is quite fast but it’s easy to want Lara to have a far better boyfriend than Lucien turned out to be. She and Theo have some fun banter and all of the misunderstandings that could tank a fledgling relationship that serious contemporary romance readers could want. There is, however, a bit of a distance between the reader and the characters, and the misunderstandings are so clearly of the hysterical (not funny hysterical, but imaginary, jump to conclusions hysterical) variety that the reading can be frustrating. Fluffy/Satchmo is a major driver of the plot but he disappears for major portions of the story and it seems as if his presence should be a little more consistent given his hand (paw?) in the entire wobbly arc of Lara and Theo. This is over all a breezy, easy romance but not a particularly memorable one.

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