During a two-week trip to London eighteen-year-old Tate Jones falls hard for Sam Brandis. Her first love is all-consuming and Tate finds herself confiding in Sam and telling him a secret she has had to keep her entire life. When Sam betrays her trust and reveals her secret to the tabloids, Tate is heartbroken, and her life is forever changed. Fourteen years later Tate is a successful actress who has just booked the role of a lifetime. When she arrives on set, however, she discovers that the screenwriter of her new movie is none other than Sam. With a two month shoot ahead of her, Tate is now forced to confront her first love and his betrayal.
Christina Lauren (the pen name of writing duo Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings) is the author of some of my favorite contemporary romances. “Twice in a Blue Moon,” however, is a departure from their recent romantic comedies, such as “The Unhoneymooners” and “Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating,” and takes a more melancholy and at times serious tone. One of the main flaws with this book is that I never really felt the chemistry between Tate and Sam. Character development is something Christina Lauren usually excels at, so this was a disappointment. Their two-week romance in London feels rushed but I was willing to look past that because it was first love and a teenage romance.
Unfortunately, even once they are reunited as adults their relationship does not feel entirely fleshed out. Tate forgives Sam very quickly when it felt like a lot more time needed to be spent talking about his betrayal and their past. Sam’s character and personality are also never fully developed, his motives often remaining a mystery. In fact, his grandparent’s love story, which the screenplay he wrote is based on, often seemed more interesting than him and Tate. The final two-thirds of the book take place on a film set, and while this setting could have been interesting it also never felt fully realized like writing about Hollywood and the movie business was outside of the authors’ comfort zone.
While “Twice in a Blue Moon” is a perfectly fine second chance romance, for me it did not live up to the highs set by Christina Lauren’s previous works.
10/19 Caitlin Brisson
TWICE IN A BLUE MOON by Christina Lauren. Gallery Books (October 22, 2019). ISBN 9781982135706. 368 p.