Also by this author: Roomies, My Favorite Half-Night Stand, Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating, Love and Other Words, The Unhoneymooners, The Honey-Don't List
on October 22, 2019
Genres: Adult Fiction, Romance
Pages: 358 •Format: E-ARC •Source: NetGalley
As an adventurous send-off to her childhood, eighteen-year-old Tate Jones travels with her grandmother from their small town in Northern California to London. But the vacation of a lifetime is wonderfully derailed by the appearance of two charming Vermont farmers: grandfather Luther and his handsome grandson Sam.
Sam and Tate fall hard and fast. For two glorious weeks, the couple share their hopes, dreams, and secrets. Sam admits he suspects his grandfather is dying and that this could be the last trip they take together, and Tate reveals that she is the hidden daughter of one of the biggest film stars in the world—a secret she’s never told anyone before.
But when Tate is exposed by a crush of cameras and reporters, she knows she's been betrayed by the one person she thought she could trust. She is forced to decide whether she will return to her quiet life or embrace being in the public eye. So when Sam reappears in her world more than a decade later, can Tate forgive the past and rekindle the passion they shared on their magical trip abroad? And does she even want to?
Christina Lauren is my favorite romance author duo, so when I was approved for my second book by them in the same year I was THRILLED! The cover, the title, the synopsis- everything appealed to me, and I found myself procrastinating on starting it, waiting for a time when I could really sit down, focus and enjoy it. When I finally did have a chance to sit down and read it over the course of a few days, I was hooked and couldn’t put it down, sneaking it in during lunch breaks, waiting for rides, etc. It’s one of my favorite Christina Lauren novels to date!
I’ll be honest- though this book was a strong 4 star read for me, what made it so enjoyable for me wasn’t the romance, but the overall plot and setting of the book. It follows protagonist Tate, who is the daughter of a really big movie star but has kept her identity hidden. Split between two time periods, it starts with a focus on her life right before the world rediscovers who she is, and then jumps over a decade later to her adult life as she navigates her acting career. I was so interested in reading all of the behind the scenes details of what the film industry is like, how her father acts in public vs. private, how movies are made, etc. I was so intrigued reading about how once Tate’s identity is released to the press she starts off as a vampire on a CW show which catapults her career until she’s a serious actress playing the lead in an Oscar-worthy period piece. The career progression fascinated me and though I can’t speak to how accurate the depictions were, I found it really interesting to read about how different parts of a movie are shot, staged, and created (like when they build a barn on set to actually burn it down for the film- wild!) I also loved the Northern California farm setting that serves as the backdrop for the movie Tate is filming- you could practically feel the crisp air and easily imagine the serene peacefulness of the rural setting.
Obviously, as a Christina Lauren novel the story is a romance, but it felt very romance “light” compared to many of their other novels (which may be a good or bad thing depending on the mood you are in). It actually reminded me a lot of their novel Love and Other Words although a less intense version, what with the dual timelines and the plot centering around a second chance love story. I felt like the first part of the novel that focused on Tate and Sam’s love story was really well done, and felt believable even though they were only falling in love over the course of a couple weeks during a trip to London. The authors really managed to capture the intense, all consuming feelings of teenage love and infatuation that move at a very accelerated pace, coupled with the tension of following your family’s rules and expectations. Though brief, their whirlwind romance as teens resonated more with me than their reunion as adults. I want to avoid spoilers in this review so I won’t go too in depth, but Tate and Sam’s reunion as adults didn’t move me much. There’s a betrayal they must communicate about and eventually move past, however I personally don’t think I could have 1) moved past it and 2) rekindled the romance after everything that had happened in the time in between. Also, Sam didn’t feel like the same character as his younger self to me, and I had trouble reconciling his older and younger self.
Overall: Twice in a Blue Moon has easily become one of my favorite Christina Lauren novels not for its romance, but for the plot, setting and intimate look at the movie industry and behind the scenes elements of how films are made. It felt to me more like a story of the personal journey of the protagonist who had a romance kick start the rest of her life, rather than her life revolving around a romance, which was a refreshing change.