That’s what happens to Charlotte when out of nowhere, gorgeous movie star David King becomes her surprise passenger. Not recognizing him at first, the startled Charlotte’s initial impulse is to mace him. But once she realizes who he is and that he’s making an escape from a crowd of zealous fans, she puts away her pepper spray and thinks what a great story she’ll have to tell her girlfriends!
From there, the impossible happens: the two take tentative steps toward romance, and a relationship blooms. But Charlotte is a behind-the-scenes romance writer, and David is an in-the-spotlight and in-the-tabloids celebrity. Could it ever work?
Charlotte’s defenses drop one by one. Their age difference doesn’t really matter, and though their realities are worlds apart, they begin to become one. Just when everything seems to be leading to a storybook ending, David’s past intrudes, and Charlotte has to wonder if his romance with fellow star Olivia Hudson really is over.
Charlotte is a woman in her forties not looking to change her life in any shape or form. She has a successful career, good friends, she’s comfortably set in her ways, single by choice and she is “often happiest sitting at home alone with a good book, a glass of wine, and her phone turned off”. But Fate has different plans for Charlotte – a chance encounter between two kindred spirits, a galloping love affair and she soon finds herself deeply enamoured with one of the biggest movie stars in the world, David King.
David is fourteen years her junior but age plays no part in this unlikely romance between two people from two completely different worlds. David is uncomfortable with his lifestyle – he loves being an actor but his constant lack of anonymity troubles him. He meets Charlotte in a moment of pure desperation, never expecting that his ‘saviour’ would also end up being the love of his life. Charlotte offers him normalcy, comfort, unconditional love. She is kind and generous, selfless and compassionate. He falls in love with everything that she is, completely and easily. They might have been an unlikely match in the beginning but their beautiful romance develops quickly and suddenly.
Charlotte and David are loveable characters from the start – they are genuinely nice people and we can’t help but want them to get their happy ending. This is a story with minimal levels of angst for the vast majority of it, it portrays a love story untainted by lies, deception or games, and built on genuine acts of love and fondness. However, I struggled with the pace of their growing affection for each other – it felt rushed, forced, hard to believe. They make intense love declarations to each other and use the word “forever” after only one week of knowing each other, crediting “love at first sight” for what they are feeling. But I didn’t feel it with them.
One of my biggest difficulties with this book, possibly the main reason I didn’t love it, were the unconvincing dialogues between the characters. The words felt odd and often artificial. They did not depict the way two people would normally talk to each other, the expressions used were slightly stuffy and overly formal at times – “I love doing things for you. It makes me delirious.” – not to mention that some expressions were unnecessarily vague and philosophical – “I’m proud of you for having the courage to step outside of yourself.”
David: “My, my, my. Don’t you look scrumptious.”
Charlotte: “Thanks. You don’t look so bad yourself.”
David: “I’m humbled to be in the presence of such sexiness.”
Charlotte: “I could say the same thing, you know.”
Another distracting element of this book were the painstakingly developed scenes loaded with an unnecessary amount of details – “he slowly removed her gray Jockey panties” - and exhaustive descriptions of events or things – “piercing green eyes, which shone like emeralds”. Furthermore, I felt that several romantic moments in the story were spoiled by unromantic and cringe-worthy expressions – “Charlotte felt him tense up, and she held him as he let out a cry. He wobbled inside her, and for a moment all he could do was hold himself above her, his face contorted like a crying newborn.” That definitely did not satisfy my hot lovin’ criteria at all.
Charlotte and David’s story is a lesson about cherishing every moment in life and allowing love into your heart. Having said that, I did not see the need for the ending. It was a surprising turn of events but I didn’t think it was justified or emotionally charged enough to just have it there, making it seem random and uncalled-for. I love stories that are equally filled with sadness as well as happiness, I believe in needing to have a good balance of both to make a story credible and moving, but I did not believe that the feeling we were left with in the end was a positive one or one of hope. Maybe I define my happily-ever-afters differently but it was needlessly heart-breaking.
I really really wanted to love this book, I kept reading it hoping to get more out of it, to be moved more, to fall in love with the characters just a bit more, to see it all come together in a believable and touching way, but that moment never came for me. I had too many objections along the way, too many disagreements with the storyline. It was still a pleasant read for the most part of it but I really wish it had been developed a bit better.