Genres: Romance, Contemporary
Summary: As an adventurous send-off to her childhood, eighteen-year-old Tate Jones travels with her grandmother from their small town in Northern California to London. But the vacation of a lifetime is wonderfully derailed by the appearance of two charming Vermont farmers: grandfather Luther and his handsome grandson Sam.
Sam and Tate fall hard and fast. For two glorious weeks, the couple share their hopes, dreams, and secrets. Sam admits he suspects his grandfather is dying and that this could be the last trip they take together, and Tate reveals that she is the hidden daughter of one of the biggest film stars in the world—a secret she’s never told anyone before.
But when Tate is exposed by a crush of cameras and reporters, she knows she’s been betrayed by the one person she thought she could trust. She is forced to decide whether she will return to her quiet life or embrace being in the public eye. So when Sam reappears in her world more than a decade later, can Tate forgive the past and rekindle the passion they shared on their magical trip abroad? And does she even want to?
My thoughts: This was my first main-stream Christina Lauren novel since reading their Beautiful Bastard series, and I wish I could say that I enjoyed it, but sadly it did not live up to the hype for me. Their Beautiful Bastard series was so much grittier, explicit, romantic, and entertaining, so reading Twice in a Blue Moon was jarring. Instead of having a steamy romance with off-the-charts chemistry between the love interests, Christina Lauren’s latest release was dry, full of insta-love, and left me wondering why I wasted my time on a romance that hardly had any chemistry between the main character and her love interest.
Twice in a Blue Moon‘s Insta-Love wasn’t Compelling or Endearing
First of all, Tate and Sam fall in love with each other within a week or so. I’m sorry, but I cannot take characters seriously when they say that they are meant for each other and love one another when they haven’t even exchanged phone numbers, yet. That alone made me question what I was getting into because I’m not a fan of insta-love and never find the romance to be compelling enough for me to fall for the story or the “love” blossoming between two characters.
I didn’t realize that this detail was mentioned in the synopsis before picking up the novel. I was hoping that it would have been less drastic than two characters confessing their love for one another during a two-week vacation to London, but alas…
Then, after Sam betrays Tate’s trust, 14 years pas before they bump into each other again on the set of a movie. There, Tate states that she has “nostalgic feelings” for Sam, but, honestly, how can you feel nostalgic for a person you only knew for a week? I’d really love to know, Tate.
The Romance Between Sam and Tate Did Not Win me Over
One reason why I didn’t enjoy this novel was the fact that the love interest, Sam, doesn’t have a personality or any substance that would have made him a memorable character. The only intrigue he has is his grandmother and grandfather’s history which isn’t his story. He doesn’t have a personality of his own.
What are his likes and dislikes? Who are his friends? What was it like being a teen in Vermont? How was college? Did he attend college? He and Tate meet when she was 18 and he was 21, and he never mentions what it was like growing up. How did he end up being a successful screenwriter? I had so many questions about Sam’s past and personality, but all that was delivered was a one-dimensional character without any real interests or intrigue.
Due to Sam’s lackluster personality, that also affected his romance with Tate. Their romance is one of the least memorable romances that I’ve ever read. Both of these characters’ lack of personalities make it feel like two complete strangers suddenly saying that they love one another. They only share about three romantic moments with one another within the entire story. Other than that, it is mutual pining from a distance, so how can you say you love someone when you hardly know their likes, dislikes, quirks, etc.?
In most romances, the protagonist and love interest have banter, flirtations, moments where they get to know one another, but in Twice in a Blue Moon it always felt as if Tate was longing for the idea of Sam, the guy she knew for literally seven days, rather than actually being near, now 32-year-old, Sam.
Sam is always either in the background of the scenes Tate is filming on set, or he’s up-and-vanished when Tate needs him most (when the paparazzi hounds her for an exclusive about her personal life that is leaked to the press). Sam isn’t a present character, in my eyes, and I’ll be honest, I didn’t root for them as I read this book. How can you root for a couple that hardly has any romantic moments?
Smaller Details that Annoyed me About Twice in a Blue Moon
The number of times Tate comments about how “big, large, muscular, etc.” Sam is is astounding. I get it; the boy is reminiscent of Tom Hardy, but constantly commenting about that or how much room he takes up in a space is exhausting. Think of something else to comment about. Tell us details of his facial expressions, his eyes, his body language, not just the fact that Sam lifted often. We barely got any descriptions about the character’s features or expressions. All we got was Sam is a big guy who probably towers over Tate. Cool, next.
Next, for a book about Hollywood, we hardly see any details of Tate being an actress or how she even works to become an up-and-coming star. Sure, we see her moving onto set, filming one (1) scene, and then the wrap party, but that’s it. For a novel set primarily on a movie set, I wish we saw more details about being an actress and how much time, energy, and effort it takes to film a movie in a remote location.
Along with that, the screenplay for the movie in the book is said to be profound and moving when it’s mostly basic dialogue with no actual uniqueness that makes it stand out from the rest of the book. The lines are choppy and simple, and it didn’t make me feel as though it was a moving script that Tate could have fallen in love with like she claims she did. Sam is said to be a deep and emotional writer, but what I got from the screenplay was a simple story that didn’t leave me awe-inspired by his work.
I wish I had more fun with Twice in a Blue Moon, considering I previously loved Christina Lauren’s Beautiful Bastard series, but this really missed the mark for me. It felt rushed, basic, uninspired, and left me wondering if this is even considered a romance since both the protagonist and love interest only shared a few scenes together that could be counted as romantic moments.
I miss Christina Lauren’s raw, gritty, sensual romances filled with steamy moments, flirtations, and characters who fall towards one another and share a romance that makes my heart flutter, but I guess they’ve moved towards simplistic, unmemorable stories that are a quick weekend read.
** I received a free physical ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review. **