Last week in my post about books I can’t wait for this summer I listed Just The Way You Are as one of my debuts I could not wait for. And, as if by magic, a proof appeared on NetGalley and I downloaded it instantly!
My goodness people, this is a belter.
I always feel wary of reviewing books written by people I know – I always worry I’ll dislike it and have to lie that it’s great or I’ll really love it and people will think I’m lying. But no, neither of those things matter with this book because anyone who reads it will see I’m not lying when I say I LOVED IT. It’s always a slightly scary experience delving into a debut as you don’t know if the writing style will suit you and the plot will grab you. Sometimes it can take a good portion of the book before you really ‘get into’ it. Just The Way You Are had me hooked instantly. I immediately warmed to the protagonist and her two best friends, Max & Gwen, and found myself desperate to see what they were going to get up to.
Ava is our main character who is a little, ok a LOT, unlucky in love. Having had her heart broken and never finding anyone to fix it, she spends her time wondering what happened to the mystery secret admirer who used to write her love letters years ago.
With a big pitch at work to contend with, the last thing Ava needs is a complicated love life but fate has other plans. A beautiful love letter arrives for Ava and suddenly Mr Writer is back again, writing her love letters from afar.
Ava sets on a quest to find out who he really is and find out once and for all if he really is the man of her dreams.
I loved the premise for this novel – it was a really cleverly weaved mystery with some gorgeous side plots to keep the reader guessing. I had my suspicions of who Mr Writer was and I smiled so widely when my suspicions were proved right. It felt like such a perfect love story.
James writes with a really lovely level of description which had me visualising everything in crystal detail. I could picture the old shortbread tin Ava stored the letters in and even the descriptions of Manchester totally brought the book alive.
I am so thrilled that I was able to read this book so soon and I cannot wait until people can start reading it. I honestly adored this book and the gorgeous characters, Ivy and Max, to name a few! I would love to see a sequel to this book as I feel the characters have so so much left in them and it feels like their story has only just begun.
I imagine this is the beginning of a very long and successful writing career for Lynsey.
A gorgeous debut novel about first love and second chances that had me grinning from ear to ear.