Blog Tour and Book Review: The First Date by Zara Stoneley
I’ve read a couple of Zara Stoneley books before (Bridesmaids and Four Christmases and a Secret) and really loved her writing style and her charming, underdog heroines. So when the chance to review The First Date came up, I leapt at it.
Rosie’s recently broken up with the only guy she ever had a romantic relationship with, and the dating pool is a very scary place to dip your toes in. She hasn’t a clue how to date or even really how to flirt. Stood up by the first Tinder date she thought looked even vaguely promising, she ends up chatting to Noah in the bar. Noah’s an avowed commitment-phobe who doesn’t really do second dates, and he ends up offering to help Rosie figure out how to do first dates.
Honestly, it’s not hard to figure out where this is going. And therein lies the problem… the plot is too simplistic. Things are only really complicated by Rosie’s massive and unresolved issues with her father. We didn’t get to really see inside Noah’s head and understand just why he was so comfortable setting his commitment issues aside for Rosie. He also behaves like an ass a fair few times, sabotaging Rosie when she does perfectly well setting up dates for herself. He’s a dog in the manger, and it’s really not an attractive quality.
There was one other thing which really bugged me here, and it was the way the characters talked. Every other sentence seemed to end! With! An exclamation! and after a while it got kind of exhausting to read. That plus the ‘haha’ thrown in regularly, when a speech tag or description of laughter would have felt so much more natural, was quite off-putting. I just didn’t quite buy into the whole story. We didn’t get enough insight into Noah’s character (always an issue in first person narration where you only get one character’s point of view) and I’m afraid Rosie’s helplessness annoyed me. For a smart woman, her ‘can’t do’ attitude was very frustrating.
This isn’t terrible, because Zara knows how to tell a story and writes well, but I wanted to like this a whole lot more than I did. Three stars.
The First Date is available now.
Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this title via NetGalley and Rachel's Random Resources.