REVIEW: Love, in Theory by Elodie Cheesman

In brief: Romy is a big believer in data. So when she finds she’s at the best point in her life to settle down, she’s going to find someone suitable and dependable. Love can come later.

The good: It’s fun and refreshing.

The not-so-good: Romy leads a pretty privileged life.

Why I chose it: Thanks to Pan Macmillan for the copy, it looked like a fun weekend read!

Year: 2021

Pages: 338

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

Setting: Sydney, Australia

Rating: 8 out of 10

A good rom-com is hard to find, particularly in the Australian setting. But with Elodie Cheesman’s debut novel, Love in Theory, it proves that it can be done. It’s an inventive twist on the looking for love trope, adding some statistics and a definitive plan for the heroine to follow (that goes completely wrong, of course).

Romy is a young lawyer in Sydney, and despite her workplace treating her as a cog, she lives a pretty sweet life. She doesn’t want for money; she lives in a cool area of town and she’s got some great friends. But at the big 24 (and I say that with sarcasm), Romy is worried that she will never find The One. So when her mother admits that it wasn’t love at first sight with Romy’s father (more like a work in progress) and a newspaper article tells Romy her best chance at love is right now, Romy is worried. She needs a plan and she needs it now. Dating apps are uploaded on to her phone, and her friends help her choose suitable dates. She’s methodically ploughing her way through them when she meets Hans. He’s sensible, driven and definitely has long term plans. Friend of a friend James, who is definitely not on a Stable Career Track, is firmly placed in the Do Not Go There part of Romy’s mind. But it’s OK to be friends with James, right?

You know how it’s going to end, but Elodie Cheesman takes the reader on a fun path through dating app duds, cheesy romantic montages and a ski trip that changes everything. In these close to home times, Romy’s freedom to attend parties, bars and the ski fields was just the balm to a wintry winter week at home. In between, there are some heavier issues tackled on the work front regarding unacceptable workplace behaviour and Romy tackling whether corporate law is her lifelong path. I appreciated these subplots, as they gave more weight to the story and fleshed out the characters of Romy and her friends. Romy’s voice was authentic, honest and full of the uncertainty of life in your mid-twenties, yet it was never grating. Her friends are quirky characters with memorable quirks, and the male love interests are like chalk and cheese (yet both mainly endearing until the big reveal).

Love, in Theory is a sound rom-com which would make for a fantastic movie (hint, hint).

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