By Genevieve Wheeler
Publication Date: April 18, 2023
Adelaide Williams had a few rocky teenage years, but now she’s living her dream. She’s in London in grad school, surrounded by good friends, single men, and tons of pubs. Then she meets Rory Hughes, a legitimate Disney Prince, and falls headlong in love with him. Nothing is too good for Rory and, like everyone else in her life that she loves, Adelaide puts her own wants and needs second to please him.
When a personal disaster deals Rory a blow, Adelaide is determined to be the pillar that holds him up. But she’s also dealing with professional demands and trying to plan two weddings for her best friend. How much love, care, and attention is too much to give to a person who doesn’t seem to be able to love her back?
April is looking to be an incredible month with wonderful releases and if I didn’t read another ARC this month, I’d be satisfied. This book was simply beautiful. There’s no other way I can put it. Poignant, compassionate, and with a sedate pace that was never boring but allowed time to explore both Rory and Adelaide’s complexities. This is a novel where the writing is so compelling and confident, I’d never have thought this was penned by a first-time author.
I do need to note one trigger warning: a primary theme in this book is the exploration of mental illness. I have a feeling that one’s own history with mental illness will probably color how they view the story. But there’s also a deep exploration of love, friendship, and coming of age.
At times, in the beginning of the book, I feel like the author walked a fine line between making Adelaide too fragile and empathetic, and hinting that something is amiss. But it didn’t take long for me to forget any thoughts of her being a breakable princess and fall into her story. And Rory, what can I say about Rory? I really, really wanted to dislike him but I couldn’t because somehow, the author also made him sympathetic.
One last note that’s more technical and that is that I loved the omniscient point of view. It took me a moment to realize there was an omniscient narrator and that this wasn’t in straight third person with a bit of head hopping. I don’t see this done often (with an unnamed narrator who never intrudes but is definitely there) and when it’s done well, it’s a beautiful thing.
Adelaide is my first fiction five-star review of the year. While I didn’t cry, I really wish I had the skills to write a story this full of empathy.
5/5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for providing the ARC ebook. I’ve left my review honestly and voluntarily.
Until next time, thank you for visiting.