Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Look of Love, by Sarah Jio

Plume, ISBN 9780142180532, November 2014

As a small child, Jane Williams watched as her father left her, her mother, and her older brother Flynn, breaking her mother's heart. When she was eighteen, her mother died, also.

Jane has always guarded her heart.

But while guarding her heart, she's been running the flower shop she inherited from her mother and grandmother. As a florist, she spends her days making gifts of love for other people to give. Jane loves her work, loves making flower arrangements that bring happiness, but her own heart has never been in danger.

At twenty-nine, on Christmas, which is also her birthday,she receives a card from a stranger, with a very strange message.

Jane has a special gift, the ability to see true love, and she has a set of tasks to complete before sunset on her thirtieth birthday. If she fails, her life will remain forever unfulfilled.

It's a lot to take in, and it's hard for Jane to take seriously. All her life, though, she's had attacks of dizziness and foggy vision when truly looking at certain couples...

This is a very gentle book, a kind book. The premise may seem out there, but Jane and her friends are real people, good and loyal, not without flaws, but trying their best to do the right thing. And as Jane learns to navigate her confusing gift, trying to use it to help rather than meddle, the reader comes to care not just about Jane, but her friends--her assistant, Lo; her college friend Katie; the baker, Elaine; the hairdresser, Mary; and her brother, Flynn.

This is a book that acknowledges pain and loss and the complications of love, but remains hopeful and optimistic.

Highly recommended.

I received a free electronic galley of this book from the Penguin First to Read program.