Plot Twist – Bethany Turner – Thomas Nelson – Published 14 June 2021
February 4, 2003, is just another day for Olivia Ross—a greeting card writer whose passion project is a screenplay of her own. After she and a handsome, struggling actor have a near-magic encounter in a coffee shop, they make a spontaneous pact: in ten years, after they’ve found the success they’re just sure they’re going to achieve, they’ll return to the coffeehouse to partner up and make a film together. The only problem? Olivia neglected to get the stranger’s name. But she doesn’t forget the date.
For the next ten years, every February 4, Olivia has an exceptional day, full of coincidences and ironies. As men come and go and return to her life, and as she continues to write her screenplay, she still wonders about the guy from the coffee shop—the nameless actor she’s almost certain was Hamish McDougal, now a famous member of the Hollywood elite.
But a lot can happen in ten years, and while waiting for the curtain to rise on her fate, the true story of Olivia’s life is being written—and if she’s not careful, she’ll completely miss the epic romance playing out right before her eyes.
As I have come to expect from Bethany Turner, this book is hilarious in the most bizarre way. If you just suspend disbelief that anyone could be this ill-timed and that so many celebrities would make an appearance in one’s life, then this might be classified as realistic fiction.
It is funny and romantic (sort of, actually a lot of it is romance gone wrong or so many missed opportunities it’s NOT funny). Despite a Christian publisher, this is general fiction, with no Christian references (unless you count one reference to Narnia) but it is clean (unless you count kissing someone else’s boyfriend…twice….but by accident…sort of…..)
When Olivia connects with a guy at a coffee shop they make a pact – they will meet back there on the same date ten years form now. He vows to have made it big as an actor and she vows to have a screenplay ready for him to star in. Over the next ten years, that date becomes a strange day for Olivia, full of men from her past, present and maybe future, missed opportunities, and disasters of the heart. Will she finally realise that the love of her life might have been there all along or will she wait for the guy she promised ten years ago.
The most unique part of this book is of course how it is written. Each chapter covers just one day in Olivia’s life across a decade. Ten years, ten days, ten chapters. It was amazing how well we actually get to know Olivia, considering we only see her in one day of her life a year. The author does a great job of filling us in on what has been happening in that year of Olivia’s life and keeping the most spectacular of unbelievable events for that one day – February 4th – each year.
This book might be an ode to the saying “friends before mens” (or the other various versions out there). While it is a romance and is about Olivia writing a screenplay, mostly I found that it was about her relationship with her best friend Fiona. They share some ups and downs, are vastly different and yet they remain true and strong to each other. That’s not to say they don’t hurt each other and have some fights – Olivia kissing Fiona’s boyfriend, not speaking for a year, good at communicating about everything except the really important stuff.
I was a little confused at first when the leading love interest might actually turn up in the book – expecting it to be someone different – so I reread the synopsis and realised he was there all along, it just takes Olivia a really, really, really, really long time to figure it out and actually act on her feelings.
The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.
Category: Adult fiction
Themes: Romance, writers, screenplays, actors, friendship, best friends.
Published: 14 June 2021 by Thomas Nelson
Format: Paperback, ebook. 320 pages.