Title: 31 Days of Wonder
Author: Tom Winter
Publisher: Corsair – Little Brown Book Group UK
‘And in that instant, he knows in his heart that today is a momentous day; come what may, he and Alice will meet again, and life will never be the same.’
Alice is stuck in an internship she loathes and a body she is forever trying to change.
Ben, also in his early twenties, is still trying to find his place in the world.
By chance they meet one day in a London park.
Ben spots Alice sitting on a bench and feels compelled to speak to her. To his surprise, their connection is instant. But before numbers are exchanged, Alice is whisked off by her demanding boss.
20 minutes later
Alone in her office toilets, Alice looks at herself in the mirror and desperately searches for the beauty Ben could see in her.
Meanwhile, having misunderstood a parting remark, Ben is already planning a trip to Glasgow where he believes Alice lives, not realising that they actually live barely ten miles apart.
Over the next 31 days, Alice and Ben will discover that even if they never manage to find each other again, they have sparked a change in each other that will last a lifetime. In 31 Days of Wonder, Tom Winter shows us the magic of chance encounters and how one brief moment on a Thursday afternoon can change the rest of your life.
This is a sweet, quirky and, at times, sentimental story about chance and fate. It’s not your usual ‘love story’ but it does involve two characters who meet – albeit very briefly – one day and feel a strange sort of spark between them. It doesn’t end the way love stories usually end, though; in fact the beginning and middle don’t follow the usual love story format either!
The characters are really likeable and I cared about what would happen to both of them. They each have their own problems, and at first I was a little confused as I tried to work out more of Ben’s character but soon got into the swing of the story. Both characters felt like they were unique and a change from some of the ‘samey’ characters which can often pop up in books from this genre. Alice and Ben are both sweet characters, a stark contrast to some of their acquaintances and work colleagues. At times I felt the way these other characters (including family and ‘friends’ of Alice) spoke to her was a bit too cruel and rude at times, and made me wonder if anyone would really be that horrible… then I thought about how cruel people can be, sadly, and it only made me feel more for poor Alice.
31 Days of Wonder was quite refreshing in its style and plot, and it wasn’t exactly what I was expecting – I suppose I thought there’d be more elements of a traditional ‘romance’ in there – but I liked that it surprised me and definitely preferred the way it usurped the usual genre stereotypes to create a charming, sweet story. It’s not a long read, so you can race through it pretty quickly (as I did)! I definitely recommend giving it a go.
Many thanks to Little Brown Book Group UK and Netgalley for providing a copy of this novel on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.