Thank you so much to Love books group and Olivia Lara for allowing me an ARC copy of this lovely romance novel in return for an honest review. I always love a good romantic story and this was one with a twist.
What if the Lift driver who finds your cheating boyfriend's phone holds the directions to true love?
'Who are you and why do you have my boyfriend's phone?'
'He left it in my car. You must be the blonde in the red dress? I'm the Lift driver who dropped you two off earlier.'
And with these words, the life of the brunette and t-shirt wearing Maya Maas is turned upside down. Having planned to surprise her boyfriend, she finds herself single and stranded in an unknown city on her birthday.
So when the mystery driver rescues Maya with the suggestion that she cheers herself up at a nearby beach town, she jumps at the chance to get things back on track. She wasn't expecting a personalised itinerary or the easy companionship that comes from opening up to a stranger via text, let alone the possibility it might grow into something more...
I really enjoyed this romantic story. It was a lovely take on the usual boy meets girl. I loved the text chats between Maya and Max at the beginning and the itinerary set out for her birthday. It was such an unusual way to grow a relationship through personality, without even meeting each other. Mayas reactions to the stranger and his tour suggestions was refreshing and it seemed a lovely way to meet someone.
I loved the setting of Carmel-by-the-sea it sounded so quaint and beautiful, I would love to visit it myself. All the descriptions of the gorgeous little houses and the fabulous people, it seemed like a friendly and happy place to live, I can see why she went back there.
I found the overall romantic ending quite predictable, I had guessed the identity fairly early on, and I did find Mayas internal dialogue a little over the top at times and her inability to move past her obsession with Max began to wane after a while. There were a few too many secrets and a lack of communication from the main characters which began to irk me after a while. I think the story would have worked without quite so much secrecy from Ethan and a bit more conversation between them may have been more realistic!
However saying that the book had many positives and although predictable it was nice to read the final happy ending. It did leave me with a happy feeling as the identity of Max was finally revealed and I loved the side stories of Ethans sister, Celine and her cafe. She was a fantastic character and the sibling bond she and Ethan just jumped off the page.
Olivia Lara's love for words started as a child when she spent her summer vacations watching her grandfather, who worked for the biggest publishing house in Romania, edit hundreds of books. She is a former journalist for a newspaper and a television network in Bucharest, now a Marketing VP in San Francisco – in between she lived in France where her love for Paris and the Alsace region was born. Her first book, Someday in Paris, became a B&N, Apple, Kobo and Amazon Top 100 Bestseller and was shortlisted for the Romantic Novel Awards. She lives in the Bay Area, California.