I have been an avid follower of Sophie Kinsella’s books. My collection of her romantic fiction has grown as she releases every new book. Normally I restrain myself from buying a copy until it’s summer time but this year I allowed myself to get this gorgeous hardcover version on the release date. Sophie Kinsella is known for her effortless comedy, relatable protagonists and well-written prose. Her previous release, Surprise Me, was one of my favourite books she came out with, focusing on a married couple instead of the typical meet cute setups familiar to her other books. This book delves into themes such as family, mental health and loss..
Fixie Farr can’t help herself. Straightening a crooked object, removing a barely-there stain, helping out a friend . . . she just has to put things right. It’s how she got her nickname, after all.
So when a handsome stranger in a coffee shop asks her to watch his laptop for a moment, Fixie not only agrees, she ends up saving it from certain disaster. To thank her, the computer’s owner, Sebastian, scribbles her an IOU – but of course Fixie never intends to call in the favour.
That is, until her teenage crush, Ryan, comes back into her life and needs her help – and Fixie turns to Seb. But things don’t go according to plan, and now Fixie owes Seb: big time.
Soon the pair are caught up in a series of IOUs – from small favours to life-changing debts – and Fixie is torn between the past she’s used to and the future she deserves.
Does she have the courage to fix things for herself and fight for the life, and love, she really wants?
I got the chance to see Sophie Kinsella talk at a Waterstones event about this book, which is why I was instantly intrigued. The way she talked about Fixie made me fall in love with her as a character. I could understand a lot of her thought-process; the need to fix things, the need to put others before herself etc. While I found Fixie to be well-written there were some characters I found to be a little bit overdone. Ryan came off as a stereotypical “playboy” and I missed that deeper layer to him. Having had my fair share of dating people similar to him, I still think there is a level of vulnerability and emotion to a character like that that I found was lacking with Ryan. Similarly Nicole was displayed as a yoga-loving “model-type” sister. I was happy to see her character more developed towards the end of the book but wished to have seen that side a bit earlier on.
The element I enjoyed the most was the meet cute setup. (This isn’t a spoiler, no worries there, it’s in the blurb!) The moment when Sebastian walks up to Fixie’s table and asks her to look after his laptop I immediately felt content. It felt realistic, it felt authentic and it felt natural. I have been in that position where I’ve sat in a coffee shop and been asked to look after somebody’s stuff. It is absolutely a plausible reason for two people to meet and I enjoyed the ‘owe you one‘ joke that entailed afterwards.
I can’t lie and say that I completely enjoyed this book. I found the plot to be a bit hastily written, especially the ending. Sebastian’s backstory and current situation was messy and confusing to follow. Fixie’s brother and mother also faded in and out of her storyline and I would have enjoyed a bit more time spent on exposition and the building of these characters and their relationships with each other.
I have discussed with other fellow book bloggers who disagreed and said they adored the pace and world built in this novel. I guess it just goes to show how different a reader’s experience can be!
Language & Style: 7 points
Story: 6 points
Characters: 7 points
Plot: 6 points
Total: 26 points out of 40
Favourite Quote: “But what can you do about mistakes except think, Won’t do that again, and move forward?”