REVIEW: Would Like to Meet by Rachel Winters

In brief: Evie needs to keep her job and ideally get promoted. She’s desperate, so much so that she has agreed to roleplay the meet-cutes of romantic comedies in real life to inspire a hit screenwriter to write a romcom.

The good: It’s funny, unpredictable and sweet.

The not-so-good: A little slow to start.

Why I chose it: Sounded like a fun summer read. Thanks to Hachette for the copy.

Year: 2019

Pages: 362

Publisher: Trapeze (Hachette)

Setting: London and Sheffield, England

Rating: 9 out of 10

For me, summer is about feel good, fun reads. Would Like to Meet is the perfect definition of this, tying together a unique story with something a lot of us are familiar with, the meet-cutes of romantic comedies. What is a meet-cute? (It’s OK if you don’t know!) It’s the way two characters meet and fall in love in a film that is quirky, funny or sweet. Like spilling a drink on someone. A holiday romance. A road trip. Putting your phone number inside a book. Joining a book club.

These are things our heroine our heroine Evie has done not in the name of love or science, but in desperation. You see, Evie is a long-suffering assistant to an agent and she wants a promotion, but the agency also needs to keep afloat. The magical carrot that will solve everything is a romantic comedy script from hot, Oscar winning from Ezra Chester. Who also happens to be very, very difficult. Ezra can’t write the romcom (or won’t) and Evie wants a job. So in the name of saving everyone, Evie decides to prove to Ezra that it is possible in real life to fall in love via a meet-cute. She will re-enact ways of meeting someone as seen on screen and fall in love, writing up her adventures as she goes. Ezra will then write his romcom and everyone will live happily ever after. Of course, this is a book so nothing goes to plan. The meet-cutes turn out to be the wrong genre from screwball comedy to horror. Add in a Bridezilla to be (aka one of Evie’s best friends), a bridesmaid’s dress from hell and a forgotten booking and Evie’s friendships are falling apart. But there are upsides, like meeting Anette and her father Ben in a café and that Ezra could weirdly have feelings for her…

Would Like to Meet is more than just a romcom in a novel. As the plot progresses, things get a little more serious and there’s some men that need to take a good, long look at their behaviour. This is nicely balanced out with an event involving a cake, toilet and a vibrator which is hilarious plus a fight scene worthy of Bridget Jones. Some of the characters have hidden depths that I didn’t expect, but are fitting with their earlier behaviours. I admire Winters’ ability to write characters where your perception of them changes as more of their personality is revealed (both for good and for bad). At the hallway point of the novel I really didn’t know if I wanted to be Team Ben or Team Ezra. I thought this was great, because usually the hero and the unsuitable guy are pretty clearly defined early on. I like a little mystery to my romcoms! Evie’s friends are well written too. I don’t know if I was meant to love or hate Sarah (the Bridezilla) who was rather ‘me me me’ at all crises in Evie’s life. She does have a couple of redemptive scenes during the novel (including one that would understandably not be forgivable) but she’s not that big a character. Evie’s flatmate Jane is also quirky in an unusual way, it’s a pity she didn’t get a lot of page time.

There are some very funny moments in Would Like to Meet. I’m not usually one to laugh out loud in novels, but there are some moments that you can’t help but giggle at. Befittingly, Would Like to Meet would also make a fantastic movie.

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