Author: Lauren Layne
Audiobook Length: 6 hours 37 minutes
‘Love Is Blind’ meets ‘You’ve Got Mail’ in this laugh-out-loud romantic comedy following two thirty-somethings who meet on a blind dating app – only to realize that their online chemistry is nothing compared to their offline rivalry.
Perpetually cheerful and eager to please, Gracie Cooper strives to make the best out of every situation. So when her father dies just five months after a lung cancer diagnosis, she sets aside her dreams of pursuing her passion for art to take over his Midtown Manhattan champagne shop. She soon finds out that the store’s profit margins are being squeezed perilously tight, and complicating matters further, a giant corporation headed by the impossibly handsome, but irritatingly arrogant Sebastian Andrews is proposing a buyout to turn the store into a parking garage. But Gracie can’t bear the thought of throwing away her father’s dream like she did her own.
Overwhelmed and not wanting to admit to her friends or family that she’s having second thoughts about the shop, Gracie seeks advice and solace from someone she’s never met – the faceless “Sir”, with whom she connected on a blind dating app where matches get to know each other through messages and common interests before exchanging real names or photos.
But although Gracie finds herself slowly falling for Sir online, she has no idea she’s already met him in real life…and they can’t stand each other.
To Sir, With Love is a lovely sweet modern take on You’ve Got Mail. Since I loved that movie, I was very excited to read this novel. I actually went with the audiobook version and absolutely commend the publisher as there is a narrator for the main character with the story told from her perspective, but they included another narrator for her male love interest(s). It was nice to have two distinctive voices for the main characters rather than one narrator attempting to alter their voice enough for each character.
Gracie Cooper is 33 years old and single. She inherited her family’s struggling champagne store by default since no one in her family wanted the responsibility. In order to run the shop, she had to give up her dreams of becoming a full-time artist. She still paints and sells some of her artwork in the shop, but she does not get as much time to dedicate to it as she would like. She is a hopeless romantic who believes in a Disney-like happily ever after, however, she does not have luck in the dating world. She signs up for a new dating app, Mystery Mate, whose motto is Love at No Sight. In the app, users do not see pictures or names of their matches and instead only pair via interests where they can chat to each other and eventually agree to meet, if they choose. Gracie connects with the anonymous Sir, who becomes the highlight of her day.
When Gracie is visiting her neighborhood florist, she runs into a handsome man on the street. She has an instant attraction to him; however, he is with a woman that seems to be his girlfriend. Later on, the man enters her store and turns out to be Sebastian Andrews, a real estate developer whose company is looking to take over the location for the champagne shop. Gracie is determined to sabotage his attempts to take the shop and in turn the two of them end up getting to know the other. Gracie starts to question if there might be more to Sebastian than meets the eye and what is she supposed to with her mysterious online man.
Since the story is told solely from Gracie’s perspective, it is difficult to fully access her version of all the events as a semi-unreliable narrator. Although the reader gets glimpses into Sebastian with his interactions with Gracie, the reader never fully gets to know him. I did love him and Gracie interacting with each other as it was both fun and sweet. The two of them have excellent chemistry and while Gracie is more well-rounded than Sebastian, he still was a well-written character. Where I wish the author expanded the story a little is with the side characters. There is a subplot with Gracie and her family, but I did not fully connect and wanted more.
Overall, this is a very enjoyable and easy read. The romance is sweet with fun characters. The potential romances with Sebastian and Sir feel a little one-sided at times. I am not sure if it would be better with more interactions or the introduction of their points of view, but I just wished for me. As this is my first Lauren Layne novel, I will definitely have to check out more of her works in the future!