The Boyfriend Sessions (City Love #1) by Belinda Williams

Published: 23rd October 2014
Goodreads badgePublisher: Momentum
Pages: 339
Format: ebook
Genre: Contemporary Romance
★   ★   ★   ★  – 4 Stars

Please take your seats. The journey to happiness may involve some turbulence.

Christa Morrison has commitment issues, a fact that quickly becomes apparent after she flees a romantic proposal in Paris, the thunder of impending wedding bells ringing in her ears.

Back in Sydney, she turns to her closest friends for reassurance. Instead they offer her a startling and painful diagnosis: she’s a relationship junkie. The cure? An extreme rehabilitation program guaranteed to reform even the most L-word illiterate.

With her girlfriends along for the ride, Christa commits to their radical plan and the chances of recovery look good. The only problem is Max Spencer. The one guy Christa—and her friends—never expected her to fall for. But he’s proving to be a temptation she may not have the willpower to resist …

For a shot at happiness, is being with Max worth betraying her friends? And will Christa have the strength to trust her heart when her colorful relationship history comes back to haunt her?

It might just be enough to make a poor girl leave the country (again).

Note: I was provided a copy of this book for review.

After fleeing Paris after being proposed to, Christa’s friends make her promise to be single for awhile and take a look at why her relationships have been unsuccessful. But what starts out as a fun and good-humoured discussion about Christa’s past boyfriends soon turns into a serious evaluation of her life and her past. With this story Williams has created something that is quite complex beneath a jovial exterior, and it isn’t until you are submerged in its characters and narrative that you realise there is a lot more going on, and is sometimes a lot more serious than first impressions suggest.

As soon as Christa promises to swear off men for six months you just know that is when she is going to meet someone but the way Williams explores it is clever and she doesn’t rush anything narrative wise or make it too cheesy or simplistic either. It is interesting to see how it plays it out considering the ban, and it does not always go in the direction you were expecting either which gives it another level.

Williams is very good at capturing the dynamic between the girlfriends and the relationship and friendship between them. The conversations are natural and Williams demonstrates the friend discussions well, each girl talking over the top of one another, interrupting one another, and getting sidetracked onto other things.

There are diverse personalities among them and the friendships differ in strength and style. Williams doesn’t try and make everyone perfect and she doesn’t make each woman a certain type, so different from the others that there are the four totally different people who happen to be friends. Instead she shows characters with unique personalities but who have a strong history and connection with one another, each with strengths and weaknesses and flaws of their own.

I loved that things are hinted at in Christa’s past that didn’t need a huge revisit or recapping. Details about her parents and her boyfriends get the right about of mention and detail. The reader does not need a huge, detailed, information overload about who they are as characters, instead Williams uses them to focus on Christa and expand on her character. Williams also uses this technique when providing information about Christa, her friends, and Max. Details and histories are skilfully woven into the narrative and are provided through Christa’s thoughts, casual remarks, and dialogue between characters. This adds to the realistic nature of the story and makes it feel more natural.

While there are times when Christa got on my nerves, especially concerning Max and her questions about his past relationship, most of the time she was great to read about. With her own ignorance about her relationships and her emotions it didn’t feel like she was intentionally being difficult and seeing the realisations slowly emerge was a great character development and one that made you understand her more.

This is not a typical romance novel where Christa’s past relationships are looked at and analysed adoringly. Williams has created a story that looks at how relationships affect people and how not understanding or acknowledging the impact that these cause can have lasting effects. There is a wonderful serious underside to the laughing and the wine and it brings the best out of the narrative. Seeing this switch from the informal and humorous discussions to a real reflection is great and it changes Christa for the better. I really enjoyed this novel because it didn’t go in any of the directions I thought it would and it is complicated, unexpected, and satisfying. Williams has managed to balance the light heartedness and seriousness wonderfully which has resulted in an engaging and thoughtful story.

Purchase The Boyfriend Sessions via the following

Amazon AU

Amazon UK

Amazon

Momentum

iBooks

GooglePlay

Barnes and Noble

Kobo

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Light-hearted fiction with depth? You can’t be serious. | Belinda Williams

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