This was such a heartwarming and life affirming novel. Filled with tons of heart, lots of inclusion and representation, and of course, love.
For the past twenty years, Liv and Eliot Goldenhorn have run In Love in New York, Brooklyn’s beloved wedding-planning business. When Eliot dies unexpectedly, he even more unexpectedly leaves half of the business to his younger, blonder girlfriend, Savannah. Liv and Savannah are not a match made in heaven, to say the least. But what starts as a personal and professional nightmare transforms into something even savvy, cynical Liv Goldenhorn couldn’t begin to imagine.
It Had to Be You cleverly unites Liv, Savannah, and couples as diverse and unique as New York City itself, in a joyous Love-Actually-style braided narrative. The result is a smart, modern love story that truly speaks to our times. Second chances, secret romance, and steamy soul mates are front and center in this sexy, tender, and utterly charming rom-com.
The last book I read from Georgia Clark was The Bucket List. It was this beautiful story about a young woman who’s been diagnosed with the BRCA gene that heightens her chances of developing breast cancer. Before she makes the decision for a life-saving double mastectomy, she creates a bucket list for her breasts. It was such a laugh out loud story with a serious undertone about life, love, and your breasts.
This time, Georgia Clark’s returned with a new moniker; a rom-com writer. Putting herself in league with the thousands of other romance writers, does Georgia make the snuff? I think she does. The story starts with Liv and Savannah, but then it branches out to the friends and loved ones close to them and their relationships. It then goes even further out to the weddings Liv and Savannah work together and those unique relationships. It really makes you see how we all may be strangers to one another, but we are somehow interconnected. It’s a beautiful thing!
Because with her humor, her incredible storytelling, and the connections she’s developed with these humans, I think she’s created herself a beautiful romance between five couples in New York City. And New York is its own character in the story as well. I’m originally from New York and the year of pandemic and not seeing my family has me a little downtrodden, but this book made me miss that city life so much. I nearly want to go back just to browse the bookstores and drink the coffee and people watch. And this story is very much people watching to the Nth degree.
The story interweaves ten lives in five relationships and each relationship is so different from the other. Each of the characters relate back to Liv or Savannah in some way, but they’re all standouts on their own. And all of them have their own personalities. It’s like Georgia Clark jumped into these people’s heads and wrote down what she saw from there. There’s honestly a little bit of something for everyone in here. Not only does she represent the entirety of New York, but she also represents the different kinds of love, the different kinds of relationships, and the different ways we expressed (and don’t express) our emotions. There’s the romance after divorce, the open relationship that wants more, the celebrity romance, the friends-to-lovers, fake dating/relationship. It’s seriously a smorgasbord of rom-com stories that will tantalize you.
And while there are so many funny scenes, it also has a lot of heart. I loved that not only there were these romantic stories that were happening, but there were friendships being formed, people finding themselves, people coming to realizations they didn’t see before, coming to terms with grief, and so much more.
Overall, this is such a wonderful story that left me with tears in my eyes and a big smile on my face. I’m not one for crying from romance novels, but this got me in the feels a few times. It’s a satisfying story that will leave your weary soul just a bit perkier knowing that there’s a happily ever after for everyone.
Thanks to Atria Books for the gifted copy of the book. My opinions have not been influenced by the publisher or the author.