I have read many books from Adele Parks and have always enjoyed them so I was eagerly anticipating her latest offering, The State We’re In. It’s various tributes describe it as a ‘must read romantic, moving story’ and ‘utterly engrossing and beautifully written’. However, my own experience was that it was slow moving and very hard to get in to. There were moments that grabbed me but for much of the book I was bored and more than a little disappointed.
The State We’re In tells the story of Jo and Dean who are two very different types of people. She is a hopeless romantic who is always expecting to find love around the next corner and he is a cynic who has no belief in happy endings due to his troubled and unhappy past. They meet on a flight to Chicago after Jo has been upgraded to First Class and manages to spill champagne on him after she finds herself sitting next to him. At first he is exasperated and wants nothing to do with her but soon he finds that he cannot ignore her incessant chatter and becomes fascinated with this strange woman who is on her way to try to stop her ex fiancé’s wedding. Realising that she is probably a bit helpless, he takes her under his wing in Chicago particularly as he does not want her to make a fool of herself and you can probably guess that the inevitable happens.
That would make it a simple love story were it not for a twist of fate that means that their pasts are intrinsically entwined even though they don’t realise it. The reader is aware of the past though which makes them keep wondering, as they are reading, whether there is any chance of the happy ending that Jo has always been dreaming of.
The idea of the book is good and there should be lots in it to hook the reader but I’m afraid that it didn’t work for me. I felt it was extremely slow with lots of dialogue with characters seemingly going over the same ground. The characters were reasonably likeable but I didn’t find myself really caring for them which is always an important element for me as a reader. If the book had lasted about two hundred and fifty pages rather than four hundred, it might have worked better. I just felt it was overlong with much unneeded padding.
As I said earlier, I am a fan of Adele Parks, and I don’t think that this would necessarily put me off reading more from her. However, I would not be in a hurry to recommend it and would suggest that readers not familiar with her take a look at About Last Night which is a fabulous book.
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