"Love at first sight wasn't meant for millennials," thinks Alice Aberdeen: art student, recovering addict, David Bowie enthusiast. Alice is among the recently dumped and only wants to keep her nose to the grindstone until she finishes her degree. Her sister has other ideas and sets her up with new-in-town Will Murphy--tall, dark, and aloof. To say it wasn't an instant attraction is an understatement: He finds her abrasive, with her sharp tongue and don't-screw-with-me attitude. She thinks he's excessively reserved, too damn serious. But the more time Alice spends with Will, the more their slow burn begins to thaw her heart. A man of two worlds, half-Irish, half-Indian, Will feels at home with Alice. He soon realizes her tough shell is hiding extensive scar tissue--from her addiction and recovery to her spectacularly bad ex-girlfriend to the loss of her mother. Modern Love isn't a story about love at first sight but learning to love yourself before being able to see the one you love.
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
I loved Beau North’s writing style in her previous works (All JAFF) so I wasn’t surprised when I enjoyed Modern Love so much. Charming, hopeful, painfully real and beautiful, Modern Love is the kind of contemporary read anyone will enjoy. This book had dynamic and colorful characters that were imperfect yet authentic and it featured different kinds of love—romantic, familial, even toxic.
Alice Aberdeen is still hung up on her ex-girlfriend of two years, so her sister Emma—and her boyfriend, Gabe—brings it upon herself to become her matchmaker. For some reason, Emma and Gabe think it’s perfect for Alice to meet the guy they believe is perfect for her at a David Bowie costume contest… and Alice has no clue she’s set up on a blind date with Gabe’s best friend.
“I challenge you to find two blacker, more cynical hearts than theirs.”
And so when they finally meet, Alice leaves an impression on Will Murphy in the middle of the dance floor by literally bumping into him and spilling ginger ale all over his expensive shirt.
Obviously, it wasn’t love at first sight for them, but it hasn’t stopped Emma and Gabe from finding ways to get them to hang out. Soon enough, Alice and Will realize they have some things in common and it wouldn’t kill them if they became friends, maybe even more. But when two people with two of the heaviest baggage try to float together, they’re bound to sink unless they learn to let go.
“She seems the kind of girl who’d break your bones, your balls, and your will to live.”
Alice is bisexual and was once an addict, but what I loved about that fact is the author didn’t use it as a plot device to keep the story rolling. Those things were just part of Alice, of who she is/was as a person. This woman had so many layers, but she’s so wonderful to get to know! Her love for art, David Bowie, her grief over losing her mother, her unhealthy obsession with her ex-girlfriend, Jamie, her unconditional love for her sister, Emma. This woman had so many facets, but the main takeaway is despite everything that’s happened to her, she’s still good.
Then we have Warinder “Will” Murphy, a half-Indian half-Irish businessman who hasn’t felt at home anywhere until meeting Alice. Because of his mixed heritage, he feels he’s not quite one or the other. He started off as this aloof, standoff-ish man (kind of like Mr. Darcy) when he first met Alice, but as we and Alice got to know him, he’s so much more than that. He’s funny, smart, and sweet. So, so sweet.
Despite its title (which is obviously a reference to David Bowie, a recurring theme in the story), the book was not just about love. It’s about life, losing one’s way and finding it again, and the different relationships in Alice’s and Will’s lives. One of my favorites was between Alice and her step-mom, Deb.
My selfish wish is that I hoped the story was longer. I wanted to see more of Will’s family, his mother’s side and father’s. I adored Alex, Will’s cousin, though, and the side-romance with a certain Sara.
Even with its heavy topics, Modern Love was witty and mostly light. I loved Alice and Will’s gradual build up to love, and the friendship that happened in between. If you’re looking for a heartwarming and fun story with lovable and unforgettable characters, I recommend reading Modern Love.
Tropes: Bad First Impressions, Friends to Lovers, Opposites Attract
POV: First Person, Dual POV
Warning: View Spoiler »No cheating, but one of the MCs sleeps with someone else in the middle of the story « Hide Spoiler
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