A woman must deal with the sudden reappearance of a man who abruptly left her 10 years ago in this romance novel.
Penelope “Poppy” Carter met Colepepper McSimmons in Montana when she was only a teenager, and he was her first love: “Colepepper had been a crush, the first important one of her life. People don’t fall in love just out of the gate at seventeen and then have no chance for the rest of their lives.” But Colepepper breaks her heart when he suddenly disappears, a wound that is reopened when she discovers that one of the new mobile phones he designed, the “Mini-Droid,” looks and sounds strikingly familiar—it’s a remarkable replication of her 17-year-old self. Then to make matters even more emotionally challenging, he simply appears unannounced, and demands that she sign a legal waiver surrendering any claims she might make to the Mini-Droid’s considerable profits given its obvious likeness to her. Penelope indignantly refuses, and out of exasperation starts a blog—Killpoppy.com—that delivers some measure of catharsis and attracts a surprisingly wide following. Meanwhile, Colepepper tries to wrangle his way back into her good graces, but while she still harbors feelings for him, she also carries resentment and distrust in her heart. Bastedo (The Time Machine, 2018, etc.) generously packs this short, delightfully eccentric novel with drama: Penelope’s tea shop just barely makes ends meet, and she’s doggedly pursued by a creepy stalker who won’t take no for an answer. And Colepepper suspects he’s under surveillance, potentially by a business rival, and that his ever popular devices have been “hijacked.” The author’s story is artfully outlandish—somehow both deeply implausible but also entirely authentic. The quirky plot almost reads like a comic fairy tale—even the names of the two protagonists have a cartoonlike character to them. Bastedo achieves a comic lightheartedness that rises above simple frivolity—Penelope in particular is a complex, layered character, both fiercely independent and earnestly vulnerable. The result is a charmingly readable effort, humorous and tender.
A sweet, spirited tale of love rediscovered.