Book review – Love Lies by Adele Parks

love liesThe book is written in the first person narrative from the point of view of alternatively Fern and Scottie. The story opens with Fern being dissatisfied with life, especially with her relationship with Adam. They have grown apart and their relationship is not going anywhere. Adam seems to take her for granted, spending far too much time with his friends and hardly any time with Fern. Fern is turning thirty soon and she is upset that she is not married yet. She wants Adam to propose to her – although it is not clear to me why, she barely seems to like him, let alone love him – and even gives him an ultimatum. He either proposes to her before she turns thirty (in a week) or the relationship is over.

Fern admits to herself that she has always wanted to get married and maybe her wanting Adam to propose to her only stems from her desire to get married – irrespective to whom. Her thirtieth birthday arrives and Adam surprises Fern in bed with an envelope with three tickets to see the pop star Scottie Taylor in concert. He was able to get three tickets for the Friday, Saturday and Sunday show, as well as all access backstage passes, as he works as assistant stage manager for Scottie. Although Fern is a huge fan of Scottie Taylor, she is not impressed with the gift. For one, she wanted a ring, and two, Adam hadn’t even paid for the tickets.

She goes with Adam to his work and wanders around, checking things out backstage, while Adam works. She meets Scottie in his dressing room and she feels an instant attraction to him. They banter, flirt, play cards and Fern feels herself falling in love. The concert is that night and her friends Lisa and Jess come with her. Scottie sings Happy Birthday to her, and Fern practically swoons.

That night, Adam and Fern have a row over how much time Fern spent in Scotties dressing room and how Scottie sang Happy Birthday to her. Fern feels slightly guilty about her feelings for Scottie, but since Adam hasn’t proposed and doesn’t seem to care about her feelings – he is only jealous – she shrugs it off.

The next two days she spends with Scottie again and at the concert on Sunday, Scottie proposes to her in front of a sold out stadium. Fern is overwhelmed, but she accepts his proposal. She is whisked away to a hotel and from there, she goes to LA with Scottie, not even bothering to go to her house in person to pick up her stuff. She just calls Adam to tell him it’s over, then embarks on a whirlwind romance with – what feels to her – the love of her life.

Things are not all they seem, however, and from Scottie’s point of view we learn that he only proposed to Fern to gain popularity in America and crack the American market. He is fond of her, but it is mostly a PR stunt. Fern’s boss (she used to work in a flower shop) Ben comes to stay with her in LA in the months leading up to the wedding and Ben and Scottie grow close. On the night before the wedding, Fern and Scottie host a big party where all her friends and family come. Towards the end of the party she finds Scottie and Ben in bed with each other. Shocked, she flees to the hotel where all her friends and family are – who are having a party there – and she tells them what happened. Of course they are shocked, but Fern wants to talk to Adam. She wants to ask him to take her back, she feels that her infatuation with Scottie was a mistake and she should have stayed with Adam. Adam tells her she can’t just run back to him, and he won’t have her back. Heart-broken, Fern goes back to her house with Scottie.

The next day is the wedding and as she walks down the aisle, Fern realises she can’t go through with it. She knows she would never be happy with Scottie, so she runs for it. She runs to the flower market, as she loves flowers (she is a florist after all) and it is there where Adam finds her. He tells her he still loves her and Fern is overjoyed. Adam even talks about getting a house together.

Okay, my thoughts on this. I really enjoyed this book. Yes, it was a bit silly at times, but it did a good job at portraying how glorious celebrity life is when you look from the outside in, but how hollow it is when you really look at the inside. Fern is very disillusioned with her life, even though she has all the money in the world to do with what she wants. She and Scottie don’t have sex – he says he wants to wait till the wedding night – and as Scottie has a lot of staff, there is not much to do at the house.

I enjoyed the part where Adam refuses to take Fern back. It felt true to his character and I thought it served Fern right, as she did leave him rather suddenly with little explanation. Adam said to her “one moment everything was fine and the next you left me” and that does not ring true, as from Fern’s point of view, things hadn’t been fine for a long time.

What I didn’t like was that Fern went back with Adam. Yes, she was dazzled by Scottie and the infatuation she felt for him was not real love. But things were not right between Adam and Fern before Scottie made his appearance, Fern had only wanted Adam to propose to her because she felt she should be married at thirty. It would have been a much more powerful ending if Fern left Scottie, but struck out on her own. Ben, who stayed in LA with Scottie, would have sold her the flower shop, so she would have had income, and she could have learned to be on her own, rather than always having to have a man in her life, no matter how bad he treated her.

A number of Fern’s friends tell her that Adam is not so bad. Ben tells Scottie that Adam had bought a house for Fern and him to live in and he was going to bring her to the house on the evening of her birthday, after the concert. That seems really stupid to me. Who goes out and commits to something as huge as buying a house without consulting their better half? Also, by all accounts, Adam didn’t really make much money, so how did he 1) find enough money for a down payment and 2) qualify for a mortgage? That part really felt to me like a devise the author had dreamed up to make Adam more likable.

This book could have been really good. It could have been about Fern growing as a person, realising that she doesn’t need a man to make her happy, that she can make it in the world on her own. Instead, she settles for Adam who just annoyed her, who doesn’t communicate with her and who doesn’t seem to care about what she wants in life.

So all in all a disappointment.

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