by Kate Spencer
Publication Date: March 15, 2022
I received an advance review copy of this book from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.My rating:
A clever, tender, and romantic novel for readers of Christina Lauren, Jasmine Guillory, and Sophie Cousens, this laugh-out-loud debut is a perceptive reminder that fate can have a sense of humor, and that love can happen…In a New York Minute.
Franny Doyle is having the worst day. She’s been laid off from her (admittedly mediocre) job, the subway doors ripped her favorite silk dress to ruins, and now she’s flashed her unmentionables to half of lower Manhattan. On the plus side, a dashing stranger came to her rescue with his (Gucci!) suit jacket. On the not-so-plus side, he can’t get away from her fast enough.
Worse yet? Someone posted their (entirely not) meet-cute online. Suddenly Franny and her knight-in-couture, Hayes Montgomery III, are the newest social media sensation, and all of New York is shipping #SubwayQTs.
Only Franny and Hayes couldn’t be a more disastrous match. She’s fanciful, talkative, and creative. He’s serious, shy, and all about numbers. Luckily, in a city of eight million people, they never have to meet again. Yet somehow, Hayes and Franny keep running into each other—and much to their surprise, they enjoy each other’s company. A lot. But when Franny’s whole world is turned upside down (again!), can she find the courage to trust in herself and finally have the life—and love—she’s always wanted?
The author’s letter at the start of the book states that she set out to write a book influenced by all those zany 90s rom-coms set in New York City. And she meets that goal spectacularly! Hilarious meet-disaster? Check. Complete opposites? Check. Touristy things around NYC? Check! This book is ridiculously charming and adorable and very much worthy of the rom-com label.
Franny was already having a bad day when her dress gets stuck in a subway door, ripping it and exposing her entire backside to, well, everyone. Lucky for her, a handsome stranger steps in and gives her his coat. Unluckily for her, someone documents the whole thing online and their interaction goes viral, culminating in a very awkward “date” on a local morning show. And that’s the last time they’ll see each other, right? Except Hayes’ interior designer has just skipped out on designing their new location, and the newly fired Franny is desperately looking for work…
Franny is pure sunshine. She’s optimistic, enough that she’s able to quickly switch from getting fired as the end of the world to it being the perfect opportunity to finally start her own design firm. She’s got a bit of that quirky bumbling thing going on, but it never veers into annoying territory. She’s creative and artistic, quite a difference from her mom and step-dad, and she’s got a bit of a chip on her shoulder about not disappointing them. Hayes is (as you’d expect) her complete opposite. He comes off as a rude grump, but as Franny discovers, it’s more sheer awkwardness. On the inside he’s a cinnamon roll, albeit a workaholic one who doesn’t believe he’s capable of being in a relationship.
“I’d never met someone like Franny before. The sight of her mixed up the signals in my brain, like they were shaken together in a tumbler, making the most intoxicating cocktail ever.”
While they’re both initially attracted to the other, their romantic relationship is put on the back burner for a good chunk of the novel. It’s so slow burn because they’re focused on developing their working relationship first, which then slides into friendship. Hayes is absolutely enamored by Franny’s sheer vivacity, how much she enjoys life and especially interior design. And once Franny gets a peek under Hayes’ awkwardness, she finds his kindness and humor (and his eyes) enchanting. Their banter and their chemistry made up for the slow pace and the lack of heat. What didn’t work so well for me was the bleak moment or the grand gesture, but given the rest of the book, I found their HEA believable and quite sweet.
“I tried to see what he saw; it was beautiful, sure, but it was magic only to him. I didn’t mind. I didn’t say it out loud, but that was my New York in a nutshell: those special things that we share only with ourselves, the treasures whose shine only we can see. The unremarkable street corners or nameless coffee shops that held worlds of their own.”
Besides the main characters, there’s lots to love. Franny’s friend group is absolutely hilarious and so wonderfully supportive, as was Hayes extremely pregnant, tell-it-like-it-is work-wife. But the biggest side character was NYC itself. There’s no doubt that the author loves the city and both Franny and Hayes do as well, though in different ways . There’s a lovely scene where they’re wandering around and showing off their favorite parts of the city, from bagel joints to bridges to pizza. Some of them are famous landmarks, sure, but it’s their own personal connections to these places that are emphasized as special.
Overall, this is an utterly charming and quite sweet rom-com. Especially recommended for fans of NYC!