I love small towns. Correction. I love reading books and watching TV shows set in small towns. Gilmore Girls forever.
So, one can say the book Of Literature and Lattes by Katherine Reay had me at ‘hello’…
After fleeing her hometown three years earlier, Alyssa Harrison never planned to return. Then the Silicon Valley start-up she worked for collapsed and turned her world upside down. She is broke, under FBI investigation, and without a place to go. Having exhausted every option, she comes home to Winsome, Illinois, to regroup then move on as quickly as possible. Yet, as friends and family welcome her back, Alyssa begins to see a place for herself in this small Midwestern community.
Jeremy Mitchell moved from Seattle to Winsome to be near his daughter and to open the coffee shop he’s been dreaming of for years. Problem is, the business is bleeding money—and he’s not quite sure why. When he meets Alyssa, he senses an immediate connection, but what he needs most is someone to help him save his floundering business. After asking for her help, he wonders if something might grow between them—but forces beyond their control soon complicate their already complex lives, and the future they both hoped for is not at all what they anticipated.
With the help of Winsome’s small-town charm and quirky residents, Alyssa and Jeremy discover the beauty and romance of second chances.
The book had me at ‘hello’ and then lost me along the way.
I found it to be too much. Too thickly sweet. There were so many ‘right’ words about making choices, seeking the truth, seeking forgiveness, forgiving oneself, they were distracting from the story. Full stop.
Alyssa is one hell of a horrible child, if you ask me (I am mum to 18 year old. I would know). Her teenage ‘black and white’ attitude drove her crazy, sick and lonely. She barricaded herself away from everything and everyone. ‘I have to defend myself’. ‘I have to defend my principles’. Us, parents heard it so many times during teenage angst… Fortunately, all these lead nowhere. But in case with Alyssa it lead to very dire consequences.
Alyssa’s family is a bunch of long-suffering adults who have to dance around their daughter’s hysteronics.
Finding herself and finding forgivenes takes forever. Story goes on and on. It’s being filled with all fluffy stuff of modern and trendy ‘find yourself’… Where did my small town go?
I loved how the book started. A small town, a community, a set of shops and central square – a very picturesque setting. But Alyssa kept driving away… so did the story.
All other characters were not given enough chance to spread their wings. I would have loved to know more about them and their interactions. Secondary characters were brought in as an after thought almost…
All in all a cozy quick read that could have been so much better (even if it would have been made much shorter).
The only stable thing in life is change…and no, you don’t get used to it.
After taking a wrong turn, travelling further down the (same) road doesn’t get you any closer to your destination. You have to go back in order to go on.