Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Jill Santopolo - More Than Words

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Light We Lost comes a tender and moving new novel about a woman at a crossroads after the death of her father, and caught between the love of two men.
Nina Gregory has always been a good daughter, a good girlfriend. Raised by her father, owner of New York City's glamorous Gregory Hotels, after her mother's death, Nina was taught that family, reputation, and legacy are what matter most. And her boyfriend Tim, thoughtful, kind, and honest, not to mention her best friend since childhood, feels the same. But after Nina's father passes away, she learns he may not have practiced what he preached.
As her world falls apart, Nina begins to question everything she thought she knew and to see the men in her life--her father, her boyfriend, and unexpectedly, her handsome and attentive boss, Rafael--in a new light. Soon Nina finds herself caught between the world she knows and loves, and a passion that could upend everything.

Comment: I got interested in this story around the last months of 2018. I n longer remember why and having read the book I can't see what element in it would have been the one to catch my eye but it turned out to be a relatively good read.

This is the story of Nina Gregory, a woman who has lived a privileged life and who works for a candidate for mayor until it's time to, at some point, take charge of her father's hotels management. That time comes too soon for her father is ill and dies and Nina isn't ready to let go of him, especially since she had lost her mother while a child. After his death, though, she starts to uncover some secrets he kept from her, which make her see him through different eyes. She starts to question many things, including the fact her best friend should not have become her boyfriend and that her life wasn't as charmed on the background as she imagined. What will the revelations change in her, what will she do in her future?

It was surprising to me how much I enjoyed reading the book. The wealthy privileged setting in which the story is set wasn't always as appealing as that, it offered a certain vibe of "look what I can/have" that I rolled my eyes at in some moments, but thankfully, Nina had enough in her to captivate me and make me forget she has, for most purposes, a kind of life so many would never be able to have. That could have made her vain or entitled but her personality was, for the most part, appealing and one I was sympathetic with, in particular when she was doubting her choices.

The plot isn't too complicated, basically focuses on Nina as she deals with her father's death, as she deals with her feelings towards her steady but somewhat bland relationship, her conflicting emotions when it comes to her boss, her shock upon discovering her father's secrets and her debating what to do in the future, for she feels the clash of her family's name in which she has been always so confident and the loss of contact with her mother's side, which she believed to have been a decision by them.

It's true there's a lot on Nina's plate but I liked how she dealt with most things. It was still easier for her to deal with some professional issues and even some situations regarding the hotels and the business aspects than, say, someone who might not have her bank account. I got the feeling, no matter how dire some problems might have seemed - and they could certainly be worrisome - she had a team (like the hotels' CEO, her friends...) to help her and that side of her life felt like it wasn't too much out of control. I liked how the author used this in the story but it wasn't too complicated to solve/deal with.

It was Nina's personal life that intrigued me the most to be honest. I was interested in seeing how she would evolve as a character, which steps would she take to become a good successor for her father and how her love life would affect her determination to grab happiness in all aspects of her life. We are told from the start she has a boyfriend, her best friend from her childhood, the son of the hotel's CEO. It's someone who understands her life, who shares the same interests and is used to the same lifestyle and, of course, has expectations regarding their future as couple. I liked he was not portrayed as a bad guy, so I could see how her decision to not be with him would be hard, were she to take that step.

However, we also see Nina developing feelings for her boss at the campaign and we are given plenty of proof on how suitable they are and how a good couple they would be. Nothing happens between them but awareness but I think the author was able to convey that very well, and I was being convinced pretty easily on how much better they would be together than Nina was with her boyfriend.

This isn't a perfect book because while reading I kept having the sense  there would still be some loose threads left up in the air by the end and that did happen. Mostly things related to her father's past, to her mother's family side how some situations happened in the past that it was so easy for them to not be on Nina's radar... I suppose, in one way, it was a helpful thing - after all, less distraction -  but on the other, it made some choices feel like they weren't a choice at all.

I liked the book though and for the most part I was eager to see how things would happen between Nina and her boss, how that would play out. I miss more on that actually, especially after the end, I think this is one of those cases where a short epilogue might have helped with closure on some of the looser elements and even o the romance front. 

I will try something else by the author one day.
Grade: 8/10

No comments:

Post a Comment