Fated to Love You
Fated to Love You starts off with one of the closest things to a literal bang I can think of: Cassie Steel is trapped in her car during a landslide. The next chapters show the hours leading up to the potentially fatal occurrence, and the blossoming of the romance the rest of the book will follow. Zhang Xuan is a fellow grad student, and when he saves Cassie’s life, their unspoken attraction soon turns into a romance deep enough that Cassie feels it must have been fated.
But, as Cassie might remind us William Shakespeare once wrote, “the course of true love never did run smooth”. Their establishing their relationship early on in the book doesn’t mean things will go well for them for the following two hundred pages. Far from it; both of them have trials to face.
Overall, I enjoyed the book. This is Cunningham’s first novel, and I think it makes for an excellent debut. She has created a love story that feels deep and powerful for both characters, and it’s clear she loves them as much as they love each other. It’s also clear she did her research. The chapters in Colombia feel vibrant, and there are several references to Chinese culture, both large and small. I was very glad both of those aspects felt like more than set dressing to provide a little color for the book.
The only thing keeping me from giving the book five stars is a collection of small things that shook my immersion in the narrative. Some are nothing more than matters of taste, but others made parts of the book feel underdeveloped. The deep, poetic writing at times went too far and wound up sounding pretentious. Cassie often brings up cultural references that sometimes distract from the point being made at the moment or feel brought up solely for the sake of mentioning Seinfeld or a particular song. At times, the romance took over a little too much, to the point where it consumed the characters and the narrative. (This last point probably falls most under “personal taste”, as different readers look for different sorts of balance in romances and love stories.)
On the whole, this is an excellent debut that I think will appeal to people looking for epic love stories. It doesn’t quite follow the format of a traditional romance novel, but it’s certainly a romantic tale. I hope I get a chance to read what she writes next.
|Page Count||404 pages|
|Publisher||eXtasy Books Inc|
|Bookshop.org||Buy this Book|