Author: Laura Jane Willams
Rating: 5 Stars
Dates read: 07 May 19 – 08 May 19
Publication date: 13 Jun 2019
Publisher: Avon Books
Genre(s): Contemporary, Romance
What if you almost missed the love of your life?
Nadia gets the 7.30 train every morning without fail. Well, except if she oversleeps or wakes up at her friend Emma’s after too much wine.
Daniel really does get the 7.30 train every morning, which is easy because he hasn’t been able to sleep properly since his Dad died.
One morning, Nadia’s eye catches sight of a post in the daily paper:
To the cute girl with the coffee stains on her dress. I’m the guy who’s always standing near the doors… Drink sometime?
So begins a not-quite-romance of near-misses, true love, and the power of the written word.
*I received an eARC of this book courtesy of Avon and NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review*
I love the London Underground. I quite enjoy reading well constructed contemporary romances. I like humorous characters. I am a sucker for a slightly convoluted and absolutely awesome dating fiasco. This book delivered in bucket loads and then some.
I was lucky enough to be granted a review copy of this book that I think came largely from my love of the tube and the genre. I have London Underground maps (yes, plural) on my walls at home, a themed pass case, and even used have a London Tube bedspread at uni so was super excited to read a book set around the lives of complete strangers on the tube. The synopsis gave it a feel of Sliding Doors meets Tinder, and I was about that.
The plot surrounds Nadia and Daniel, two strangers who regularly get on the same tube train at the same time, to get to work. Daniel notices Nadia, someone who is described to be very much his type, on the train getting on at her stop. He is regimented in his routine, never misses the train, and so her whirlwind entrance rushing onto the train at the last moment and spilling her coffee down herself caught his eye enough to decide to take action on a longer standing crush and place a message in Missed Connections. (For those of you who are not familiar with this phenomenon – London Tube users can post anonymous messages to other tube users through the column in an attempt to have a chance at making more of a fleeting crush on the commute!).
The book follows their stories from their points of view, and shows how wonderfully different they are, but how amazing they would be together. They proceed to go on with their lives, having near misses and close encounters, all whilst communicating with each other through the Missed Connections column. I like that twitter picks up an #OurStop hashtag and follows their story, and that there are opposites in terms of the public’s view on their story. Is it creepy? Stalkery? Romantic?
Nadia is an absolute firecracker. She has an incredible STEM job working in AI, and she is by all accounts dedicated to her job and the introduction of those from different backgrounds in her work. She is like a whirlwind, a constant ball of energy, emotion, and coffee. Even though I like to be early and she is always running late, I like her dedication to trying to improve herself and her routine, and her constant attempt to make the (relevant) 7:30am train, coffee in hand, in the hope of seeing ‘Train Guy’. Her responses to him via Missed Connections are humorous and don’t pull punches, flirting with the best of them.
She stands up for herself though. When there is an incident midway through the book, she doesn’t hang around and wait for the world to fall into place, she dates and finds people who are nice, and attempts to seek comfort in her (hilarious and amazing) friends. I like that she doesn’t lose sight of who she is throughout, and doesn’t settle or stop looking for what she wants. Her friends genuinely made me snort a couple of times throughout the book and are brilliant. I like the idea of a powerful female trio, made up of personal and work friends that ultimately are brilliant for and to one another. They are an example of what we would all like a gaggle of gal pals to be like.
Daniel, I have to say, sounds like the perfect guy. Smart, funny, tall, attractive, stable career, understanding of punctuality, respect of women, he’s in touch with his feelings and emotions without being controlled by them, and is tidy. He fuels the potential union, he takes a leap, arranges a meeting, and by all accounts is the perfect guy. I love that he is attracted to her physically, obviously, but actually noticed her first when she was giving an impassioned speech on artificial intelligence and lower class involvement in its development,. He clearly notices and respects her as a whole, and not just likes her for how she seems.
He is also pretty great when it comes to those around him. He tolerates his housemate, but is careful to step in and stand up for what he thinks is right to the detriment of their friendship. I don’t want to give away the catalyst that causes the decline in their relationship, but I think we will all agree Daniel is right in taking down Lorenzo. Romeo, on the other hand, is a stark contrast to Lorenzo. He is caring, considerate, and seems to respect and understand Daniel, and their friendship/working relationship is something I ultimately really enjoyed.
In the modern age of online dating and Tinder, there is something really romantic and wistful at the idea of meeting someone by literally encountering them on the way to work. OK, they communicate through an online/journalistic channel, but it is refreshing and funny. The story has a feeling of sliding doors about it, with near misses, and interactions with different players in the story happening all the time, even if we don’t realise it.
The story itself is told cleverly through the points of view of the characters. We learn different things about their lives, their interactions, their friends/relationships, and their lives that are like taking pieces of a jigsaw and putting them together slowly throughout the book. The author had a natural, funny writing style, and captured the different characters with deftness and understanding. She never dampens anyone, or steps on characters to boost others and throughout, she is standing for the morally right course, which is a great thing in what is essentially a romantic comedy.
I absolutely loved this book. I went into it hoping it was good and it surpassed all my expectations. It was funny, thoughtful, witty, charming, and respectful, and was a thoroughly entertaining read that I would really love to see adapted into a film someday!