I’m not an easy person to amuse. Most jokes fly over my head (like, miles over) and I have a kinda dry sense of humor mixed with childlike wonder that not too many people understand (my wife does and that’s all that really counts) so I never expect to laugh out loud when I read or listen to a book. Yet it happened repeatedly with this one, almost from the start.
Waltzing on the Danube is a perfect example of opposites attract. Eleanor, a wealthy Jewish actuarial accountant from New York, needs plans and routines and to do everything by the book, literally. She gets panic attacks when things don’t go according to plans, and she’s convinced her quirks are what cost her her relationships so far. Her sister has booked her on a lesbian singles cruise, and while she loves her sister, she hates the idea. Crowds make her anxious, as does meeting new people.
Jeanie is the exact opposite. Everything she does is on impulse, flying by the seat of her pants, she loves adventures and taking risks, and she’s sure everything will be alright in the end. Because it usually is. She’s a high school history teacher and though she’s good at it, it’s definitely not her dream job. She has studied art history and was hoping to become a museum curator but life got in the way. She comes from an ordinary family and has never been able to afford traveling outside the US, so this cruise across Europe is a very big deal to her.
When they meet and realize the cruise is not what they expected at all, both women react in very different ways. Eleanor plans to spend her time alone with books on the private balcony of her expensive suite, away from the other passengers. Jeanie takes everything in stride: even if she won’t meet the love on her life on this trip, it doesn’t mean she can’t enjoy it and make new friends anyway. They (of course) end up spending much more time together than planned, and falling for each other despite everything.
I felt like Eleanor’s anxiety was dealt with in a sensitive manner, and the fact that she was able to see the humor in some of her habits made it okay for them to be used in comical situations at times. Jeanie was unexpectedly understanding and kind, and very lovable. As I wrote at the start of this review, I’m not the guffawing type but this book took me by surprise. Stephanie Murphy’s narration was perfect for it.
This was my first book by Miranda MacLeod and I’m looking forward to reading more.