When I began this book I had a déjà vu moment, briefly I felt like I was reading Where Rainbows End by Cecelia Ahern or as some people may know it Love, Rosie. Although the narrative is very different I felt for a moment like I was about to be told the same story. I am glad to say that this was not the case.
A love story is barely ever a love story without a few bumps in the road…or mountains as the case may be.
The story follows the lives of Emma and Dexter who spend the night together after graduation and we see the story evolve every year on St Swithin’s Day.
Firstly we have Emma, a refreshingly witty and clever female character . She is written beautifully but there are times when I dislike her. There are moments when she becomes merely an emotional prop for Dexter and she deserves to be far more than that.
Then we have Dexter, a selfish, unlovable, emotionally stunted character who you just can’t help but fall in love with! It is torturous at times to read Dexter’s narratives, especially when he goes to see his ill mother. You want to yell at him as he falls further down the rabbit hole! A slave to fame and vanity he is a deeply unlikable character yet Nicholls wrote him in such a way that you keep believing that he will wake up, grow up and become the person Emma deserves.
Their friendship goes through many ups and downs but I think that that’s why I like it, though at times I found myself shouting at the novel “Just get together already!” because you know it is inevitably going to happen. I think, even though you will for them to be together, you know that it will only happen when they finally become the people they were destined to be and not the ones they may have imagined in their early twenties.
I think in the end they fix each other.
And here comes the spoiler…you have been warned!
Emma dies! Yes that’s right everything is happy and all wrapped up and seemingly perfect and she dies! Not Dexter, who if anyone I would have understood. But to kill Emma…it was heartbreaking. I put this book down for two whole days the moment I read that line, I almost went as far as to put it in the freezer! (Friends reference). It almost felt like Emma gave her everything to make Dexter into a decent person and once he was redeemed there was just no need for her anymore, she gave her life for him. I am glad that I did pick the book back up and finish it, it is wonderfully written and he writes what I think is a perfect ending (except from the one he could have written where Emma doesn’t die).
I’ll give this an 8/10 it really is an exquisitely well told story. Part of why it is so good is that it is not your run of the mill love story, it is about so much more. Mainly it is a story about growing up and learning that life is not perfect, no matter how well planned!
‘Fare thee well! and if for ever, Still for ever, fare thee well.’
– Lord Byron