Book Review | Our Stop, by Laura Jane Williams

This book was gifted by Avon Books without expectation of a review.; I’m reviewing it because I want to! All views are honest, unbiased and completely my own.

I’m a sucker for romance. With so many wonderful films out there, I nearly always return to When Harry Met Sally, or You’ve Got Mail. I can’t resist a good meet-cute either, thanks to The Holiday!

It’s no different with books – although I have to add, I do love an unhappy ending and unlikeable characters. David Nicholls does those spectacularly well.

Anyway!

When Laura Jane Williams announced that her third book – and first work of published fiction  was a modern rom-com, I was very excited to see what she’d come up with. Her past blog posts and articles about her dating experiences, love affairs and, indeed, quests of self-exploration and growth had me hoping for a witty, realistic, and passionate tale.

You can imagine my delight when Avon Books sent me a proof copy of Our Stop. There was no expectation of a review, they told me – but I do love sharing my thoughts and spreading the word about books I’ve read. So, here we are!

Our Stop is the story of twenty-something London-dweller, Nadia Fielding, her beloved friends, and her New Routine to Change Her Life. It’s the story of Daniel Weissman – a handsome and respectful young man who also happens to be a hopeless romantic at heart. It’s also the story of a letter in the ‘lonely hearts’ section of the daily paper which throws the possibility of passion and Forever out into the ether.

It’s a love story. So, inevitably, this letter will instantly bring these two together, and they’ll fall head-over-heels for eachother…right?

Except Laura Jane Williams has decided that that would be too easy. Instead, it’s much more realistic, and much less like a fairytale, than that.

The book describes itself as a ‘not-quite-romance of near-misses, true love and the power of the written word’ and that really does sum it up.

Our Stop by Laura Jane Williams

The story is a pleasant one. The will they/won’t they of the plot may drag a little at times, but it’s on the right side of tantalising. The obstacles and challenges that appear along the way of everyday life for each character are genuine and believable, and I particularly enjoyed the bittersweet, honest and on-the-brink-of-it nature of the story. Things in life don’t always work out how you expect, and Laura has captured that very well in the pages of this book.

As I mentioned before, I love an unhappy ending, so these obstacles and issues were right up my street. Love is never easy, and finding Mister or Miss Right, in my opinion, is something of a myth – an urban legend. Real life often gets in the way – and so Laura has it spot on in this respect.

The characters throughout the book are unmistakably modern and millennial. This is a thoroughly contemporary tale of finding The One in a world of Instagram, the #MeToo movement, and feminism. However, the written element of the Missed Connections lonely hearts column gives it a touch of timelessness which will resonate, I think, with lovers of an iconic romantic comedy trope.

It’s hard not to hear Laura’s voice throughout. I’m sure it may be different for those not familiar with her style, and even her opinions, but her fiery and flirty personality is peppered in the voices of the protagonists and their friends. I can almost feel the life she lived in London herself in the pages of this book. It’s not offputting at all, and many authors draw on their own experiences, but it is almost unmistakable and hard to ignore.

Also, I feel the need to add that, though Our Stop certainly has a comic element, don’t expect to be clutching your sides as they split. Laura herself admits that the book, in its first incarnation, had no funny elements at all. Thankfully, she’s rectified this – but the amusing parts of the story are far from cheesy. They respect their reader, and are clever, subtle, witty and sarcastic, running in parallel with poignancy and worldly wisdom.

I have to say, a rom-com is only as good as its heroes and heroines, and Daniel Weissman is one hell of a hero. He is ‘woke’, clever, funny and big-hearted. He almost seems too good to be true – at times, I wondered if his discussions and thoughts were realistic, which was a little distracting at times, but not to a detriment to the story.

I devoured Our Stop in mere days. It has just the right balance of pace, intrigue, and plot-twist, with an absorbing story concept that keeps you wanting to turn one page after another.

Laura’s writing harnesses the wonderful everyday observations and gloriously frustrating imperfections of love and life in London, and crams them into a (mostly) believable story that draws on the charm and wit of the contemporary romantic classics we all know and love so well, with a tweet-worthy twist or two thrown in.

Our Stop is an easy read, and a pleasurable one at that. It whisks you along on a journey of old-school romance in a modern age with a one-way ticket.

If you’re looking for the perfect holiday read, or something that restores your faith in love and courtship in an age of swiping and sliding into DMs, this should make its way to the top of your TBR list.

Now, if you don’t mind me, I’m off to London to hop on the tube and hope that there’s a Daniel Weissman out there for me, too!

Our Stop is released in paperback on 8 August, but is already available as an e-book if you can’t wait that long! 

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