I had really, really high hopes for Robin Lefler’s debut novel, which was released this past December. Reasonable Adults seemed like such a good read and one that took place in Ontario, where I live? Bonus! Alas, it let me down in ways I can’t quite put my finger on but are reasons why I only just now, finally trying to put my thoughts into words.
Here’s the book’s description:
A swanky new gig at a luxury artists’ retreat in Muskoka, a delightful canine companion and a chance at a clean start. It should be smooth sailing from here . . .I could see why a lot of people might like this book and really like Kate. I saw one review compare her to Lorelai Gilmore which, I can see. I’m a huge Gilmore Girls fan and have been from the very start but even I can acknowledge some of the problematic behaviours in that show. Kate was strong and smart but forget that often. She had a weird relationship with herself and while I wanted to root for her…I just couldn’t get totally behind her.
Everything has fallen apart for Kate Rigsby: she is freshly single—separated from an ex she never really liked—and freshly fired—from a job she never really liked, either. Somehow, she’s reached the age of thirty-one and the only things she truly cares about are her goldendoodle, Eric, her two best friends, and proving to her parents (and, if she’s honest, to herself) that she made the right choice moving to the city. Except, instead of thriving, she finds that her life has taken a nose-dive. So when a job at Treetops Creative Retreat suddenly lands in her lap, she’s thrilled. Three months at a glorified arts and crafts workshop for grown-ups that boasts five-star cuisine and a helipad, and she’ll be well paid? The perfect escape. So what if her contract spans the depths of winter? Neat! A charming life experience! She can learn to snowshoe.
But when Kate arrives at the retreat, nothing is as she imagined. She didn’t read the fine print, her targets are impossible, her boss seems committed to seeing her fail and there happens to be an extremely off-limits fellow staffer who has no business being so gorgeous.
Part self-discovery, part rom-com and part comedy of errors, Reasonable Adults is a hilarious debut about finding yourself—and maybe love—along the way. A little summer-camp romance never hurt anyone, right?
And the romance part of it? I didn’t get it. I thought maybe it might be between Kate and one character but then was like, no, that doesn’t make any sense. Then I thought it could be someone else. Nope, my first instinct was correct but so was my instinct that it didn’t make sense. I just couldn’t see the pair together. Or maybe I couldn’t see the issues that they were so clearly putting in their own way? Like just…figure it out?
Also…heads up for a sexual assault scene. And then a scene where the victim is blamed and while that character tries to say he understands why he was being a complete asshole immediately after judging her…I was lost. It was not cool and I did not like it one bit.
I did, however, adore the setting. I grew up in kinda-sorta cottage country in Ontario so I really identified with where the book took place. (Not that I’ve ever gone to a resort like Treetops!) Feeling like I was in Muskoka right alongside the characters was my favourite part of the book. Along with the dog. Who doesn’t love a doggo?
So…Reasonable Adults was very much not a win for me. I wanted to love Robin Lefler’s novel but I just couldn’t get into it as much as I should have. Will I read her next one? Perhaps. But it’ll be a library borrow if I do.
*An egalley of this novel was provided by the publisher, HarperCollins Canada, via NetGalley in exchange for review consideration. All opinions are honest and my own.*