We Met in December by Rosie Curtis (2019)
I really wanted to love this book - the concept appealed to me (two housemates feel a connection but spend the next year dancing around each other), but unfortunately, this turned out to be just an average read for me.
The story is told from two POVs - Jess, who recently moved to London to start a new job at a publishing house, and Alex, a former lawyer who is now going to nursing school. I liked that we got to see the story from both of their points of view, because the reader could clearly see all the near-misses and misunderstandings. It made me want to root for Jess and Alex to finally get together, yet at the same time that was hard because I felt so little chemistry between them. I could understand Jess' crush on Alex, but I never got the same feelings from him, especially since he's carrying on a months-long friends with benefits situation with another of their roommates (it also didn't sit well with me that he kept proclaiming he wasn't the FWB type - if you're doing this for months, you're that type of person). Jess was such a bland character, as well - I feel like the only thing I know about her is that she loves her grandmother and Instagram. The secondary characters weren't much better - all everyone did was eat, drink, and complain how tired they were all the time (ok, maybe I identified with this a little bit!). However, it's a quick read and if you enjoy slow-burn romances, you may enjoy this one. 3 stars
The Peacock Summer by Hannah Richell (2018)
This book wasn't even on my radar, but I came across it while browsing the shelves at my library. A dual timeline, a crumbling English estate - I couldn't resist!
In the summer of 1955, Lillian is rather unhappily married to Charles Oberon, the wealthy owner of the Cloudesley estate, when the arrival of artist Jack Fincher changes everything. In the present, Lillian's granddaughter Maggie returns home to take care of her ailing grandmother and figure out how she can save the family home.
A bit Gothic and very atmospheric, I enjoyed reading this novel. Richell's writing is smooth and elegant without being stuffy. Lillian's storyline appealed to me more - her life isn't what she imagined it would be, and her sense of honor and duty is simultaneously respectable and heartbreaking. I couldn't help but feel for her as she experienced true love for the first time while knowing it might not last. Although not necessarily ground-breaking for the genre, there were a couple of surprises contained within the pages that helped elevate the story. If you enjoy books with dual timelines, family secrets, and forbidden love, try this one. 4 stars