Thursday, October 26, 2017

Review: London Can You Wait?

At some point in 2016 I started hearing about a book called London Belongs to Me. It was a debut novel and it sounded really good. One day it came up on sale so I snapped it up on my ereader and then, a few weeks later, I was asked to review it for the other blog I sometimes review for, Novel Escapes. (You can find my review here.) Clearly I had wanted to read it so I agreed to review it for some extra exposure for the author. And guys? I adored it. It wasn't perfect but it was really good. So good, in fact, that I bought a Kobo gift card for my sister (who was working on a cruise ship at the time) so she could buy it too (she's a sucker for stories set in London). I was so excited when I learned Jacquelyn Middleton would be writing a sequel. London, Can You Wait? was just as delightful as the first book!

Here's the synopsis:
Alex loves Mark. Mark loves Alex. But is love enough?
Since moving to London from the US, twenty-four-year-old Alex Sinclair seems to have it all: a coveted job writing for the theatre, supportive friends, and the man of her dreams—gorgeous Irish actor, Mark Keegan. But in the year since the acclaimed debut of her play, Alex and Mark’s lives have been turned upside down.
Thanks to his role on a smash-hit British TV show, Mark is catapulted to stardom. Alex couldn’t be happier—until her boyfriend’s popularity and insatiable drive to succeed means they’re apart more than they’re together. Forced to share Mark with showbiz heavy-hitters, intrusive press, and unrelenting fangirls, Alex’s hopes for a stable and committed life with him start to fade. Her struggles with panic attacks, career uncertainty, and Mark’s increasingly worrisome behaviour make her wonder: how much more can she bend before she breaks?
A passionate tale of secrets, loss, and ambition, London, Can You Wait? is the eagerly-awaited sequel to Middleton’s debut novel, London Belongs to Me.
The story starts about a year after London Belongs to Me ended. Mark and Alex are totally in love and Mark's acting star is rapidly rising. I can't imagine how it would feel to be dating an actor let alone a super famous one who is hardly ever around. I've done the long distance relationship thing and it is not easy - and we weren't even dealing with the added stress of fame. I totally understood all of Alex's emotions when it came to missing Mark and being frustrated that he was constantly putting work first. She wants to be supportive because she loves him so much but how can you be supportive when it seems like your partner doesn't care enough to be around to support you? I could even understand why she wouldn't want to have that tough conversation with Mark to explain how she was really feeling (hey, tough conversations are no picnic). But I really wanted her to. I hated that both she and Mark were hiding so much from each other. That is not a recipe for a healthy relationship.

This next part will be a tad spoiler-y but it's to be expected because it's a novel about an established couple so you know there's going to be some relationship issues. I was not thrilled with how Mark was handling his fame or what he does (and doesn't do) that ultimately breaks the pair up. But, it helped them finally face their issues and build an even stronger foundation for their relationship.

Even though it was a novel about a girl who's dating a famous actor, I found the story to be pretty realistic. Alex's relationship fears were valid and her career struggles were also authentic. Most younger twentysomethings (including myself when I was Alex's age) either have no idea what they want to do with their life (me) or know what they want to do and have trouble gaining more than a toe-hold in their industry of choice (Alex). I also loved that even though the story mostly revolved around Alex and Mark's relationship, Alex's career played an important role. This isn't just a love story which makes the novel oh so much better.

There's a massive cast of supporting characters in this novel. You'd almost expect it to be overwhelming but Middleton manages to keep everyone and everything sorted and in check. Of course, I did kind of forget who some of the characters were (it's been awhile since I read LBTM after all) but I eventually got it all sorted out in my head. Lucy is an amazing best friend to Alex and it was awesome to get to see her succeed as well. And Alex's family (her dad, step-mom, and grandmother anyway) are so supportive of Alex and I'm glad that she has them in her corner plus we, as readers, got to spend more time with them as well.

Also - that cover? Love.

I don't know what else I can really say about London, Can You Wait? other than - buy the book and read it. (But also, read London Belongs to Me first because you really will enjoy this book so much more.) It's a great read with really amazing characters who you will completely fall in love with and who you'll root for even when they're being idiots. I cannot wait to see what Jacquelyn Middleton writes next!

*A copy of this novel was provided by the publisher, Kirkwall Books, in exchange for review consideration. All opinions are honest and my own.*

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