“You’ll never be without friends as long as you have a good book.”
*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***
After really enjoying fellow book blogger Claire Huston‘s debut Art And Soul last year, I simply couldn’t say no when she invited me to read her second story Elle’s A To Z Of Love. I’ve been more and more in the mood for uplifting romance stories and I had high hopes for this book, but sadly enough this story and me weren’t ment to be. I guess it’s unpopular opinion time again! Elle’s A To Z Of Love is by no means a bad read, but the story included some elements that somehow never sit right with me… I’ll try to explain why this story didn’t work for me personally quickly below.
First of all, I have to say that I still love the idea behind this story and the idylic setting in a small village in the Cotswolds countryside is perfect for a romance story. I loved the many descriptions of the village and it’s definitely made me want to visit the English countryside… It sounds wonderful and I could really imagine what Haileybrook would look like. The village definitely feels like yet another character in the story, as its fate plays an important role in the plot and seems to be intertwined with a lot of the main characters in play too.
Talking about the characters… I think this probably the main reason why this story didn’t work for me. I had huge issues with the main character Elle, and particularly how she was treated by certain characters and how she reacted to that. The fact that she seems to be blind to how those characters treat her and keeps letting others walk all over her is enormously frustrating… Psychological abuse is also abuse, and it’s not something I enjoy reading about. The fact that you can see what is happening from a mile away, but Elle seems to be oblivious and continues to do what she does kind of ruined the story for me. And then I’m not even talking about her giving up her dreams multiple times along the way and never standing up for herself until the very end… I wasn’t a fan of the whole love triangle vibe either, I wasn’t sure why and how the whole thing with Toby fitted in and the ending was a bit of a cliche… Elle’s relationship with her mother was quite frustrating too.
I did like the bookish references as well as the multiple mentions of cake (it definitely made me crave lemon pie!), and the importance of books in the plot shines through throughout the story. I also liked the emails between Zach and Elle, as they added a little something extra to the story and gave their connection more dept. Sadly, it wasn’t enough for me to forget about my dislike towards Elle and her actions nor my negative feelings towards certain characters… But I know this was partly due to a personal pet peeve, and also I know that most people do enjoy Elle’s A To Z Of Love a lot better. So definitely don’t give up on this story on my account if you think it’s your cup of tea!