– by Bridgette Mabuto –
Name of Book: Five Thousand Three Hundred Miles
Author: Cecily Knobler
Publisher: Q&S Publishing
Publication Date: October 29, 2016
Beth Wilton lived a small life in a small town, where day after day was the same until her sister bought her a trip to London, England for her 30th birthday. There, she had an electric encounter with handsome and kind Jack Stoll, who made her forget her past heartbreak. Two days together made everything seem real until he disappeared suddenly in a storm. Five thousand, three hundred miles apart once again. Would they ever find each other? Or would Beth’s life go back to its former small self? What happens when a new man enters the picture?
If you’ve spent any time reading my book reviews here on Q-Avenue, you know that I don’t usually read a lot of romance novels. I tend to lean towards the mystery and fantasy genre. However, sometimes I feel the need to venture outside my usual genres and when I heard fellow Q-Ave writer, Cecily Knobler, had just released a book, I had to give it a read!
The first thing I have to say about this book is that it finally gives a love story to a perfectly real woman. Beth Wilton is every single one of us. She isn’t perfect. She doesn’t wake up looking gorgeous. She doesn’t make all the right choices. She’s real. I love that about this book!
One of the reasons I don’t read a lot of romance novels is because I get so irritated with how the women are painted. I guess I should say that I can’t really see myself in any of those characters. However, with Beth in Five Thousand Three Hundred Miles, I can relate to the heroine.
The next thing I really liked about this book was that it built a solid group of supporting characters. Usually there’s a friend or advisor in romances, but in Five Thousand, the secondary characters actually mattered to the story. Beth only goes to London because her sister, who is also her best friend. Jack’s brother doesn’t just have an interesting story of his own, but that story plays into the couples, as well.
Also, I feel like this entire story was actually realistic. I mean, how many books have I read where someone’s grandmother refuses to give her granddaughter her inheritance until she gets married? When would that ever really happen? It annoys me to pieces. But this story line, going to a foreign country and having a romantic encounter that stays with you, that’s some real stuff. Since that happened to every single one of my friends who went to Europe for language studies, it resonated with me.
My favorite thing about this book was that it focused on Beth and Jack growing as people before bringing them back together. Was that a spoiler? I don’t think so. Anyways, the point is that when I pick up a romance novel, I expect to watch the couple fall in love with each other. I don’t expect to watch the heroine fall in love with herself or the hero to work through his commitment issues. And I really, really enjoyed reading through that personal growth. It made the romance so much more poignant.
There’s only one thing I didn’t like about this book, but I have to say it with a little bit of a preface. For this book to work, it had to be different from your regular run of the mill romance novels. So, even though this is something I didn’t like about the book, I also recognize that it had to be this way. Okay, here it is: I wish the couple spent more time together! I really enjoyed the day and a half they had together, but I would really have liked it to have gone on for another two or three days.
Maybe I’m more of a romantic than I thought!