Book Title:
Book Author:
Genevieve Wheeler
Page Count:
Publishing Date:
April 18th, 2023
St. Martin's Press
Date Read:
June 1st, 2023


In love . . .

For twenty-six-year-old Adelaide Williams, an American living in dreamy London, meeting Rory Hughes was like a lightning bolt out of the blue: this charming Englishman was The One she wasn’t even looking for.

Is it enough?

Does he respond to texts? Honor his commitments? Make advance plans? Sometimes, rarely, and no, not at all. But when he shines his light on her, the world makes sense, and Adelaide is convinced that, in his heart, he’s fallen just as deeply as she has. Then, when Rory is rocked by an unexpected tragedy, Adelaide does everything in her power to hold him together―even if it means losing herself in the process. When love asks too much of us, how do we find the strength to put ourselves first?

With unflinching honesty and heart, this relatable debut from a fresh new voice explores grief and mental health while capturing the timeless nature of what it’s like to be young and in love―with your friends, with your city, and with a person who cannot, will not, love you back.

My Review

I am a strong believer in giving a book an honest, decent chance. This, of course, includes books that you wouldn’t normally pick up for yourself without the urging of others.

I got Adelaide after a lot of initial hesitation. Romance isn’t really a genre I read much of – I truly just never felt much of a tie to romance novels. That being said, I do tend to dip my toe into the waters of women’s fiction and literary fiction from time to time, so I decided, after reading such glowing reviews for Adelaide, that I was going to check it out and see what all the fuss was about.

Unfortunately I only made it several chapters before I started questioning my decision.

Adelaide isn’t a bad book. Not by any means. It has a beautiful message underneath, and it isn’t exactly romance. Or is it? I feel like Adelaide falls under several different genres, rather than just trying to be one thing.

That being said, I wish I had been able to fall in love with Adelaide the way so many other people did, but I just didn’t. Not because it’s a bad book, like I said already. It has more to do with the fact that it’s just…not my type of read. So I didn’t take any stars off in this review for me not really liking the book – because that has more to do with personal taste and shouldn’t have any impact on the book itself.

“There are parts of our hearts we give away. Not lend, but sacrifice entirely. And there are some people to whom we give these pieces, knowing we’ll never really get them back.”

Adelaide Williams is twenty-six and has moved to London for work, and for, well, being happy. She loves how dreamy and charming it is, and she loves it even more when she meets the man she falls instantly in love with – sweet Rory Hughes.

But does Rory love her back?

Adelaide doesn’t know. Rory doesn’t keep plans with her. He doesn’t tell her he loves her, despite her saying it to him. He doesn’t return calls. He doesn’t make her feel the way she deserves to feel. In fact, it’s downright heartbreaking.

“The thing about Adelaide is that she felt everything. Truly, everything-except the things she most needed to feel.”

Adelaide, is, obviously, trying her hardest to not only control her emotions around Rory so she can be the kind of woman he wants, but also silently deals with all of the pain that he causes her, over and over again. She figures she can feel enough for the both of them, but that doesn’t last long – eventually Adelaide finds herself spiraling away into someone she barely recognizes – all in the name of love and keeping Rory.

The only reason I took a star off of this one is because of how slow the book is in the beginning. Sure, the first two or three chapters have a lot of promise, but then I feel like we are met with a good chunk of a novel that kind of just plods on and on, and I thought it was kind of boring. I feel like a lot of the things that happened in this section could have been condensed somehow to make the book shorter. So many details just felt unnecessary and just kind of made the story drag on a bit.

But I also understand at the same time, that the author was trying to give a lot of details about Adelaide’s life as a backstory, to why she is in the predicament she is in when the book begins. And so, I can actually respect this choice, because as a writer I know it can be difficult to walk that fine line between too many details and not enough details.

That being said, the first half of Adelaide doesn’t just detail Adelaide’s life, either – it also has a section on Rory here in there, so we can get to know him better and understand him, too. This is essential to getting to know him as a character.

The second half of the book was amazing. It moved along at a much better pace, quicker and full of life, detailing more about Adelaide and Rory’s relationship. You can see how Adelaide is slowly beginning to change; how her character is slowly developing into a bit more seasoned and how she is dealing with all of the red flags that Rory throws at her.

Eventually, as you can expect, Adelaide is forced to come to terms with the way that Rory is toward her, and even though we partly understand Rory and why he is the way he is (this is where all those details I mentioned earlier come into play), I still found myself feeling bad for and rooting for Adelaide all throughout the book.

As I said, character development in Adelaide is completely incredible. So much effort was put into fleshing out all of the characters in this book – not just the main characters, but even the side characters, such as Adelaide’s friends and roommates. I found the attention to this character development to be what is probably my favorite part of the book.

The absence of quotation marks in Adelaide was something a lot of people commented on, I’ve noticed. To be honest, that isn’t something that bothered me at all. Instead of the spoken bits being in quotation marks, they were just in italics, that’s all. So don’t let that bother you!

4 stars
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2 Responses to Adelaide by Genevieve Wheeler

  1. It’s interesting to me the first half was slow because I don’t normally find that in romances and if I do, I probably DNF them. I’m glad it picked up and you ended up enjoying it. It sounds like a good read.

    • Kelly says:

      Same – I typically don’t finish books that are slow to start, either. But for some reason this one kept me hanging on, despite it being so slow at first!

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