21 December 2014

Book Review: I'll Take New York by Miranda Dickinson

"Have you ever given up on love?

When her boyfriend lets her down for the last time, Brooklyn bookshop owner Bea James makes a decision – no more. No more men, no more heartbreak, and no more pain.

Psychiatrist Jake Steinmann is making a new start too, leaving his broken marriage behind in San Francisco. From now on there'll just be one love in his life: New York.

At a party where they seem to be the only two singletons, Bea and Jake meet, and decide there’s just one thing for it. They will make a pact: no more relationships.

But the city has other plans . . "

Rating: 5/5

You can buy I'll Take New York as a paperback or an eBook now!

I was over the moon to be sent a review copy of Miranda Dickinson's latest book I'll Take New York, not least because of it's amazing purple cover, I'm a bit in love with that! However, I was a little worried when I read that it was a sort-of sequel to Miranda's first ever novel Fairytale of New York. I hadn't read that book, so this Autumn, I went back and read that book, and thoroughly enjoyed it. I was now ready to take on I'll Take New York and find out all about the story of Bea and Jake. Having now read both, I can safely say you don't need to have Miranda's first book in order to enjoy this one, but it's nice to have the background info on the characters that pop up throughout this book.

Bea has had enough of love. She's been let down by her boyfriend Otis in front of all her family and friends, and so she ends things with him, swearing off men for good at the same time. She's got her bookshop, and her co-worker Russ, and that's all she needs. Pyschologist Jake Steinmann is coming to terms with the impending divorce from his wife Jessica, and he's had to leave his home in San Francisco behind and relocated to New York to start afresh. By chance, the pair meet at a mutual friend's engagement party, and they strike up a new friendship, both making a pact with each other that they'll happily enjoy being single. But are there other plans on the horizon?

First of all, I was taken by this book straight away. It took me no time at all to get invested in the story of Bea and Jake, and I enjoyed it right up until the last page. Bea was a strong character, perfect for the leading lady of the book. She's moved to New York from the UK, and has set up a successful bookshop which she runs with her close friend Russ. I loved the scenes in the bookshop - they sounded just perfect. It sounded so cosy, and exactly the sort of place I could imagine myself losing hours at a time in! You can see why Bea loves her job so much, and the relationship between her and Russ was lovely to read as well. As the story moves on and her friendship with Jake progresses, I enjoyed seeing Bea become happier and I was really hoping she would find her happy ending that she really wanted. The letters that she and her grandmother send each other were beautifully done, and I really enjoyed reading these parts, a wonderful addition to the book.

Jake was such a nice character too, you can see why Bea befriended him so easily and the pair got on so well. You do feel very sorry for him because he's clearly struggling with the divorce, something he doesn't really want himself, and I enjoyed seeing him come out of his shell more as he became closer to Bea. I really enjoyed the parts where he and Bea went exploring the city together, showing each other their favourite parts and why they were important to them. I've been to quite a lot of those places myself and it was fun to read about them all in the book again, especially the ice rink in Central Park! I just wished Jake had the courage to follow through with his convictions and tell Bea how he really felt, I did feel sorry for him having to keep it all inside.

As for references to Miranda's first book Fairytale of New York, we catch up with the main characters from that book, Rosie and Ed who work at the flower shop, Kowalski's. The pair are now engaged to be married and their wedding day is fast approaching. They are linked into this story because Jake is Ed's brother, and Bea's brother Stewart is in a relationship with Celia, one of Rosie's friends. I enjoyed catching up with familiar characters, and they play quite a big part in this book too. I love linking books together like this, and again, you don't have to have read the first book to enjoy this story, enough is explained for you to easily follow the story. We again visit Kowalski's a few times, the flower shop is as perfect as ever. In fact, the setting of New York is perfect for this book, it feels just right, and you can see why all the characters have fallen in love with the city, whether or not they are New York natives!

This was a beautiful book, and I can honestly say that I really enjoyed every single page of it. Miranda's writing brings the story to life on the page for you, allowing you to imagine everything from the bookshop, to Central Park to Grand Central Station with ease in your mind as you are reading. I became really invested in the story between Jake and Bea, as well as the other things they are dealing with in their lives. My favourite part though was how Miranda has linked this brand new brilliant story to her first book, it's so well done and you can't fail but love Rosie and Ed again. A superb novel, Miranda Dickinson gets better and better with each book she writes. This is my favourite by her so far, and I can't wait for more!

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