The Best of Times by Penny Vincenzi Review

I like a bit of romance as much as the next person. But I’m not usually the type of person who reads a book with romance at the centre of it s plot. I like action, I like grit, but I decided to give The Best of Times a go . The plotline itself had bags of potential. There were many various story lines converging on one event, the time of storyline I love. I’m a big fan of films like, Love Actually and Valentines Day. One’s where the stories of unrelated characters converge and are effected by one event. So this book sounded like it would be right up my street.

And the storyline was good, the ripples of one event spread through the book and it worked wonderfully. What let this book down, sadly, were the characters.

The majority, particularly the women, were very stereotypical. Granted there were some that weren’t, and some I did genuinely warm to. But most of the characters, Laura, Abi, Georgia, Jonathan were all extremely stereotypical. Abi became less so as the plot developed, but it was unfortunately too little too late.

Laura was so stuck in her stereotype that she was unfortunately just irritating. I swear, if I hear the phrase ‘so lucky’ ever again I might vomit. I get that Vincenzi was trying to ram home a point but really? It could have been done more subtly than that. In the end when Johnathan’s affair is revealed, I didn’t feel an ounce of sympathy for Laura, which really let this particular plotline down.

The majority of the romance was cheesy, and not in a good way like 90s school disco tunes. The dialogue between most of the budding lovers was corny and forced and made me cringe unbearably. Maybe it’s just that it didn’t translate very well in my head, perhaps on screen, these spoken words would have sounded more genuine. But unfortunately written down it was just uncomfortable to read.

These two factors meant that most of the storylines were just not heart-warming enough for me to care.

The only storyline that felt genuine from beginning to end was that of Patrick O’Connel and his wife Meave. His was the only journey I really cared about from beginning to end. The majority of the romances just felt forced and the getting together was panfully strung out in some cases. The only romance that felt genuine to me was that of Linda and Alex, because it wasn’t all sweetness and light once a few major arguments were resolved. Theirs was a volatile, explosive and passionate relationship which for me, seemed far more real.

So for the most part, this book had bags of potential, and I can really see it as a film or a TV series, but I’m not sure it translates to written words as well.



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