There was an intense amount of depth to the two main characters in this book, and it was really nice to read a romance novel that really focused on the characters and their problems before the emphasis on their attraction to each other. There was a lot of intense feeling to unpick, so definitely don’t enter into this one lightly!
Title: The Minute I Saw You
Author: Paige Toon
Pages: 400 (about 8 hours on audiobook)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio UK
Publication Date: 14th May 2020
Narrator: Heather Long
Rating: 4 stars
When Hannah meets Sonny, and looks into his eyes during an eye appointment, she feels an instant spark of connection. And, judging by his behaviour, he feels it too. However, the next time she sees him, he’s completely different, downcast and miserable. She’s not sure what went wrong. But they bump into each other again and he reveals that he has had a shock, and is working through some things. Hannah and Sonny become friends, and agree that although there is attraction, neither of them are ready to do anything about it – they each have a lot of their own stuff to sort out first.
What really worked well here was the depth of backstory to both Hannah and Sonny. They have both experienced their own traumas, but have found ways to work around them, or just plain ignore them. After a shock event forces Sonny to recognise his own past, Hannah begins to heal in a much more healthy way than she has before (and I can assure you, this is a lot more heavy content than coming out of a rough relationship).
A lot of consideration has gone into this – issues around eye contact, nudity and commitment – all of which have clear reasoning. It’s definitely not light and frothy for either Hannah or Sonny, but was good to read something that was actually serious about what had happened in the main characters’ pasts.
More importantly, Hannah doesn’t act like she can’t cope. It’s not really apparent until around halfway through this book that anything has happened to her. She’s a little withdrawn, prefers an unsettled lifestyle and as such doesn’t really have any close friends. But only as she begins to support Sonny through his own problems, does she begin to realise that there may be a more healthy way to deal with her own.
It’s also really nice to read something where yes, there clearly is attraction between the two characters, but they prioritise support and friendship in a very endearing way, which becomes the foundation of of a healthy and unlooked-for relationship.
Heather Long has a very calming voice who copes well with the strong, clear voice of Hannah, as well as the other characters. She was a very soothing narrator who gave a level of realism to some of the difficult issues discussed in this book without making them contrite.
The story itself is a little languorous – it could definitely be shorter, and there are a lot of detailed descriptions of scenery and meaningful looks, but they do add up to a pleasantly heavy romance.
I received an ALC of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.