Young love is kindled in a bookstore in Cath Crowley’s WORDS IN DEEP BLUE!
When I first saw the synopsis for Words in Deep Blue, I was excited to read it because– a bookstore love story? Sign me up! As a fellow book nerd, I can’t resist stories that involve books. I had some high expectations for Words in Deep Blue since it seemed like such a cute contemporary read. Unfortunately, while the plot held up strongly, the romance was a bit of a letdown.
Words in Deep Blue follows the life of Rachel and Henry. The two used to be childhood friends until Rachel moved away and eventually lost contact. After Rachel’s younger brother, Cal, dies in a drowning incident, she becomes even more distant from those around her. Rachel is still trying to live through the grief of losing her brother, so her aunt tries to help her cope by finding her a job. The only problem is that her new job is at the very same bookstore Henry’s family owns. Rachel has an understandably hard time opening up to Henry and everyone else working at the bookstore. On the other hand, Henry doesn’t really understand why Rachel is suddenly so closed off and angry. He’s going through his own problems after his long-term girlfriend, Amy, suddenly breaks up with him. In the end, Henry and Rachel slowly mend their relationship with each other and learn how to heal together.
The novel is told in dual point of view, which I usually love or hate. In this case, I feel like it worked well with the plot in showing the characters’ individual thoughts and struggles. In regards to writing style, there are some beautiful passages, but the pacing felt slow. The plot is definitely memorable though, even if the romance wasn’t as cute as I hoped (mostly because of Henry’s constant battle to win Amy back). One thing I enjoyed in particular was the idea of the Letter Library, where people can leave letters or notes in the books for others. I really liked the extra letters that were included in the chapters, especially those between George and her mystery pen-pal. I kept trying to guess the identity of the writer and I liked how I wasn’t able to figure it out without piecing together the small details.
While the plot of the novel was really unique, the characters weren’t as interesting as I’d hoped. My main problem lies with Henry and the minor characters, who tended to follow stereotypical character tropes. Rachel seemed to be the only character that had good development and a more distinct personality. She struggles with talking about Cal and keeps his death a secret, but I understand why she did. I genuinely felt for her when she finally revealed the truth about Cal. I think it marks an important part in her slow transition to moving on. Henry, on the other hand, is mainly preoccupied with his love life problems and remains extremely oblivious to Rachel’s feelings (and his own) throughout the novel. I tried to cut him some slack– He is a teen going through his first heartbreak, after all. I did enjoy the family dynamic between Henry and his family, especially with their struggles regarding whether to close the bookstore.
In terms of minor characters, there’s Amy, who represents the typical “evil ex” and uses Henry to her convenience. I was actually hoping she would have some sort of redemption arc just so it wouldn’t be so predictable. Then there’s Lola, Rachel’s best friend, who I really liked since she added a bit of diversity in the novel as a lesbian character.
Overall, Words in Deep Blue is a heartfelt novel about loss and overcoming grief. It’s a solid contemporary read, great for book lovers and fans of light romance.
RATING: 3.25 OUT OF 5 STARS
Words In Deep Blue is out now. You can order it now via Amazon.
Love lives between the lines.
Years ago, Rachel had a crush on Henry Jones. The day before she moved away, she tucked a love letter into his favorite book in his family’s bookshop. She waited. But Henry never came.
Now Rachel has returned to the city—and to the bookshop—to work alongside the boy she’d rather not see, if at all possible, for the rest of her life. But Rachel needs the distraction, and the escape. Her brother drowned months ago, and she can’t feel anything anymore. She can’t see her future.
Henry’s future isn’t looking too promising, either. His girlfriend dumped him. The bookstore is slipping away. And his family is breaking apart.
As Henry and Rachel work side by side—surrounded by books, watching love stories unfold, exchanging letters between the pages—they find hope in each other. Because life may be uncontrollable, even unbearable sometimes. But it’s possible that words, and love, and second chances are enough.