A very charming, very angsty second-chance romance
Some relationships end not because the love is gone but because the partners don’t feel on the same page anymore, believe they’re not going in the same direction. Alicia and Ripley were very good together until they weren’t and a divorce seemed like the only way to go. But because it hurt so much, because the love was still very much there, they put as much distance between them as they could, hoping that would help them move on. Eight years later though, when Alicia’s best friend Harlow tells her she’s finally pregnant and moving back home and that she needs Alicia there with her for a while, the whole village is rooting for the ex-spouses to get back together. Neither Ripley nor Alicia can see a way forward together but thankfully, they both have very pushy best friends who have no idea what minding their own business means when it comes to their favourite couple.
When they first meet again, Alicia and Ripley are awfully awkward and don’t know how to start communicating again, and the way seems to be through notes then longer letters. Dear Ripley isn’t exactly an epistolary novel since we don’t get all the letters but rather what surrounds them, yet the charm is there. I love that at a time when digital communication is so easily accessible, handwritten notes are what fastens the threads of the MCs’ lives and hearts together again. I also really appreciate the fact that while miscommunication was the issue in the characters’ past, it is in the past. If you don’t know yet, I’m not a fan of the miscommunication trope, not because of it per se but because it often feels forced. Here, however, almost from the start the characters work on honesty and trust, and it made my heart happy.
Dear Ripley is an extremely charming, deliciously angsty second-chance romance novel. I was travelling when I started (I went to the GCLS’s annual conference in Denver) and jet lag made me read more slowly than usual but I’m not unhappy about it at all, I enjoyed this story so much that I didn’t want it to end. Both Alicia and Ripley are easy to love, Harlow is sweet and so are Alicia’s brother and his love interest. I have a soft spot for Morgan, who is exquisitely obnoxious yet full of love for Ripley. The banter between the two made me chuckle several times. We’re getting her story next and I’m very impatient to get to it. 4.5 stars.