The moment I saw the synopsis of The Couple, I knew in my bones that Helly Acton wrote this book for me. See, I love books that turn our social norms upside down and examine how life could be instead. Also, I basically spent my twenties single, which drew a lot of pity from friends. They made unsolicited comments, “Are you sure you don’t want to get married?” or “I’m happy to introduce you to someone!”
Technically, Christmas Cakes and Mistletoe Nights is a sequel to Cake Shop in the Garden but it stands quite well on its own. I actually only realised that it’s a sequel due to the summarised info dump during the first couple of chapters — think throwback highlight reel at the start of new seasons of TV shows. Once that’s done and dusted, it’s back to regular writing and storytelling.
Lost for Words is the sort of book that requires time and patience from the reader. During the first 100 pages, I considered abandoning the book a few times. I was bored with the writing style and didn’t enjoy jumping around three points in the protagonist’s life — 2016, 2013 and 1999. Two alternating timelines are already more than I tend to like. Three was pushing it.
A lot of the time, single people in their late twenties are portrayed as sad, lonely or desperate in the media. I’m glad The Paris Wedding doesn’t go down that road, even if the main character is pining after “the one who got away”. In fact, she’s invited to his destination wedding in Paris, which gives rise to a lot of awkward situations and some humorous ones.