By: Beau North
Narrated by: Becci Martin
Length: 4 hrs and 39 mins
Release date: 06-26-18
Publisher: Beau North
I voluntarily reviewed an advance readers copy of this book. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.
“Love at first sight wasn’t meant for millennials.” So thinks Alice Aberdeen – art student, recovering addict, David Bowie enthusiast. Alice is among the recently dumped and just wants to keep her nose down until she finishes her degree. Her sister, Emma, has other ideas and sets her up with new-in-town Warinder “Will” Murphy – tall, dark, and aloof. To say it isn’t love at first sight is an overstatement. He finds her too abrasive, with her sharp tongue and a don’t-screw-with-me attitude. She thinks he’s too reserved, too damn serious. But the more time Alice spends with Will, the more their slow burn begins to thaw her heart.
A man of two worlds, half-Irish, half-Indian Will Murphy feels at home only when he’s with Alice. He soon realizes that her tough shell is hiding a lot of scar tissue, from her trials with addiction and recovery to her spectacularly bad ex-girlfriend Jamie, to the loss of her mother.
Modern Love isn’t a story about love at first sight; it’s about learning to love yourself before being able to see the one you love.
This is a creative modern romance with a few steamy scenes. It has interesting characters who face unique issues. The biggest issue for Alice is her addiction. I like that she is not complacent in her sobriety attending meetings as needed. She also goes out of her way to help newbies who are prey to 13th steppers (men who prey on the newly sober, vulnerable women at meetings). The attention to detail for 12-Step programs shows good attention to research.
I did not like the speed with which Alice judged and dismissed Will when they first meet. The same went for Will’s attitude towards Alice. This sets up the story but the characters’ reactions are too strong for what happened. Alice also has an issue in discrimination against people with money; since there are people with money in her family it seems a little nasty.
I found the male love interest, Will, a little hot-headed as well. But both characters jump to conclusions often, they don’t give each other the chance to communicate. This is one of my least favorite tropes: there are bigger problems in the world. And a relationship that starts out with poor communication has a negative trajectory. Both characters have chips on their shoulders.
It is interesting that North presents Alice as interested in men or women – that she falls for people and not their gender. I feel like this stresses relationship over gender attraction and is a more modern way of looking at sexuality.
I think Becci Martin did a great job. I liked the range of her voice as it expressed emotion and in its representation of gender. Some of her pronunciation was questionable, but no more or less than any other book I have heard.
There’s a background with David Bowie expressed through the story; it’s a nice cultural reference.
All in all, the novel was a good way to pass 4 ½ hours with some new ideas about gender and a stellar performance from its narrator.