Love Your Life by Sophie Kinsella

Love Your Life (Amazon) (AbeBooks) is the first Sophie Kinsella book I’ve read or listened to, so I had no idea what to expect. I normally don’t read romances or romantic comedy or chick lit, although I love the film genre. So I figured I’d give the book a try when the audiobook went on sale.

“Call Ava romantic, but she thinks love should be found in the real world, not on apps that filter men by height, job, or astrological sign. She believes in feelings, not algorithms. So after a recent breakup and dating app debacle, she decides to put love on hold and escapes to a remote writers’ retreat in coastal Italy. She’s determined to finish writing the novel she’s been fantasizing about, even though it means leaving her close-knit group of friends and her precious dog, Harold, behind.

At the retreat, she’s not allowed to use her real name or reveal any personal information. When the neighboring martial arts retreat is canceled and a few of its attendees join their small writing community, Ava, now going by “Aria,” meets “Dutch,” a man who seems too good to be true. The two embark on a baggage-free, whirlwind love affair, cliff-jumping into gem-colored Mediterranean waters and exploring the splendor of the Italian coast. Things seem to be perfect for Aria and Dutch.

But then their real identities—Ava and Matt—must return to London. As their fantasy starts to fade, they discover just how different their personal worlds are. From food choices to annoying habits to sauna etiquette . . . are they compatible in anything? And then there’s the prickly situation with Matt’s ex-girlfriend, who isn’t too eager to let him go. As one mishap follows another, it seems while they love each other, they just can’t love each other’s lives. Can they reconcile their differences to find one life together?”

Two people who don’t know each other’s real names or anything personal about one another hook up at a writer’s retreat in Italy. It’s pure sexual chemistry. What could possibly go wrong? How about everything? I wasn’t a big fan of Ava, who seemed more like a teenager than a grown woman, desperate to be in love, or “Dutch” Matt, whose character seemed wooden and not really fleshed out. And don’t hate me dog lovers, but I hated Harold, the badly behaved, untrained dog. Seriously. I don’t think dogs need to know how to do party tricks, but basic behaviors like training them not to tear things to shreds should be essential to dog ownership. Stop making excuses for bad pet behavior.

As the story progressed Ava became more and more annoying. She’s supposed to be free spirited and open-minded, but she’s really not, but that’s not to say Matt was much better. This is simply the story of two people who are thrown together by circumstance, and when circumstances changes, they realize they have no business being with each other. That, dear readers, is what any sane person would think. Instead, Kinsella tries to sell the couple as opposites attracting and overcoming their differences. I didn’t buy it. I knew the ending before it came, and I was disappointed.

Maybe this is not Kinsella’s best work. Maybe I’m not the target audience. Maybe I had high expectations because I’ve heard so much positive about Kinsella’s other novels Maybe I wasn’t in the mood to listen to this type of story the day I listened to it. Maybe it would have been better to read, rather than listen to the audiobook I don’t know, but it was definitely a miss for me.

This is the 29th Audiobook I’ve listened to as part of my 2021 Audiobook Challenge.

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