Sometimes true love defies all expectations.
When Emma Montague left England behind, she embarked on a fast-paced and stressful financial career in Manhattan. Five years later, she's ready for another change in her life. After diligently saving, she has enough money set aside to pursue her dream of interior design off the beaten path in Westport, Connecticut. Though her rental house isn’t ideal, she's able to see past the hideous salmon shag carpeting and dated linoleum and imagines transforming it into her ideal beach home. Her landlord, Dominic, is confident and flirtatious, yet Emma almost immediately shuts down any possibility of viewing him as a romantic interest, insisting to others and herself that their backgrounds are too different and they simply have nothing in common. But given that he and his young son live right next door, a relationship begins to blossom. For much of the tale, Emma tries to argue herself out of a future with Dominic, worrying both about significant concerns—his son, Jesse, doesn’t appear eager to share his father’s time and affection—and her continued anxiety that their differences make them incompatible. While there are hints of conflict throughout the novel, most of those issues peter out before reaching a peak. Bestselling author Green (Summer Secrets, 2015, etc.) relies heavily on stereotypes with this offering, and the characters seem forced into creation rather than developing more authentically. The use of present-tense narration further chokes a novel that focuses more on introspection than action. While the vast majority of the novel is told from Emma’s third-person point of view, it occasionally character-hops in a manner that is jarring and inconsistent.
Though Emma’s life changes drastically, the reliance on clichés and all-too-familiar tropes makes it difficult to reach an emotional payoff.