If she’s ever going to write her romance novel, Sylvie Jacobsen concludes that she will need to get in touch with her wild side.
Would-be romance author Sylvie has just come to a disheartening realization: “Oh my god, I’m a prude.” In the spirit of research, the accountant by day and writer by night signs up for an online dating site, seeking a few steamy rendezvous to chip away at her writer’s block. The profiles that the heroine sifts through are painfully familiar, from AceLover, a gym rat who “was almost handsome but wore a soul patch, which made him look like a douchebag,” to Giz.Allday, whose opening line reads “Those shoes are HAWT lets hang out.” With options like these, Sylvie’s dates are nothing short of disastrous, ranging from the lackluster to the outrageous. Despite her efforts to become a better catch—she invests in new beauty products, totters around in high heels, and even pages through a few naughty magazines—she has no luck. From an awkward sunset picnic fraught with small talk to a promising workout date that ends in embarrassment, each one is a zero. Sylvie starts to lose hope. Her last resort is the hot construction worker whom she has spotted at a local bank—the tellers have promised to pass along her business card. Though the plot relies on a familiar conceit, Burovac’s (Wandering, 2014) strength is in executing physical comedy. Sylvie frequently slips into sexy daydreams, coming to with a literal bang, crash, or spill. Several chapters end on a slapstick note, as when one potential suitor flees a restaurant after Sylvie gets her ring stuck while twirling her hair and smears handwritten notes about her date across her face. While she tends to be self-critical and insecure, it’s lovely to watch her bloom. The novel is set in Hawaii, and Sylvie comes alive during ocean swims and a cruise along the mountainous coast. There’s also a particularly sweet moment when she embraces her sexuality (“she relaxed more as she looked at herself in the mirror, her eyes roving over every part of her body as if she had never seen herself before”). While readers looking for hot and heavy love scenes may be disappointed, as this story falls safely in PG-13 territory, hopeless romantics should be satisfied by the fairy-tale ending.
A feel-good romantic comedy with a resilient heroine.