I’m fully prepared to admit that I might be overrating this book a tad. As I’ve written before, my ratings reflect the feelings a book evokes, not whether it’s perfect or not. Brooklyn Summer definitely made me feel a lot, in a good way. It’s heartwarming and immensely romantic and it makes me happy.
There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with Ashleigh’s life. She loves her job, she loves her friends. Sure, she’s living with her parents and sassy grandmother at the moment, after a rather amicable divorce, but she loves her family and they’re all very supportive. She’s not jealous of her ex-wife Reagan’s happiness with her new boyfriend, she’s not even unhappy. Mostly, she feels pathetic. With the summer break starting, she hopes to take control back over her life and plans on visiting all the places she never has time for in her hometown of New York. She was hoping her best friend Liam could tag along but having just taken over his parents’ pub, he can’t go gallivanting all day. As luck would have it, Kellan, one of his army buddies, has been summoned to New York to catsit for her aunt and would love nothing better than to discover the city with a local. The two women hit it off right away, becoming fast friends before admitting there’s more to their relationship than friendship.
The author does a wonderful job of conveying the sensation of falling in love, the way colours are brighter, sounds are clearer, food and drinks taste better. I don’t mind the instalove when it’s done well. I know it happens IRL, I fell in love with my wife immediately – I just didn’t realise that’s what was happening at first. While the characters’ backstories are very different from mine, how they feel about each other sounds a lot like what I’ve experienced, and still feel. The way Ashleigh and Kellan get closer and closer, how their feelings grow, it all feels very organic.
At one point, Kellan thinks of a moment as “perfect and sweet and unbelievably sexy”. These modifiers fit the novel just as well. I’m a little sad I’m done reading this book already, I wouldn’t have minded staying a bit longer in its warmth.