I’m faced with so much uncertainty when I think about how to discuss my reaction to London is the Best City in America by Laura Dave. This women’s fiction book was nothing like I had expected, and now I need to articulate that. Here goes.
London is the Best City in America
London is the Best City in America by Laura Dave grabbed me by the throat in the prologue and never let go for the entirety of the story.
Emmy Everett breaks up with her fiancé in the most clever way I have seen written to date. I don’t want to say how because it was so moving. If you do nothing else, read the look inside on Amazon for this book. Trust me. The look inside had me pressing the buy button.
Fast forward years (YEARS!) that Emmy has been living in the coastal town of Rhode Island where she left said fiancé and now she’s heading home for her brother’s wedding.
It’s enough emotional weight that she’s going home when her life has essentially stalled, but when her brother reveals a catastrophic secret, the weekend becomes more fraught with disaster than Emmy could have suspected.
Dave is quite quick to smack you right in the face with some pretty terrific symbolism. The best part, however, is that it’s not lost on our main character. Emmy’s incredible wit takes that symbolism and fires back at it with a sharpness that I came to crave.
This is not a watery heroine. This is a woman who could be you, me, or the Queen of Sheba. She’s everyone and everything, and to watch her wade through the detritus that her life had become was poignant and relatable.
I normally talk about characters, but in this women’s fiction story, it’s much more about the relationships.
This entire wedding weekend Emmy is rediscovering (and in some cases discovering for the first time) the nuances of the relationships she has with the people in her life.
I want to talk about three of them –
Her brother: there is a bond here that is so classically brother and sister it made yearn for my childhood.
Her mother: OH. MY. DOG. I want this mother character in all books going forward please. This is not the typical cute mom relationship. Emmy’s mom takes cute and blasts it away with a potato gun.
Matt, the ex-fiancé: This was the one that grabbed me. I love how Emmy approached her re-introduction to the man she had walked away from. This was not the rekindled romance I had anticipated. It was so much richer, darker, and deeper and brought Emmy to a whole new level of amazing.
You know I’ve said time and again it’s about the characters for me. London is the Best City in America provided the best side characters I have seen in a while. Think Kit in How to Walk Away by Katherine Center times ten.
I’ve already mentioned her mother, but there’s also her brother’s best friend and the bride. Both are zingers for me. They added such flavor to the plot without actually being an intrinsic part of it. They were like the spice packet that comes with your Papa John’s pizza. Just the right unexpected touch that makes the story that much more memorable.
Who Should Read London is the Best City in America
If you like…
- Road trips
- Best friend’s sibling crushes
- Journeys of self-discovery
You should read London is the Best City in America by Laura Dave.
The writing in this women’s fiction novel wasn’t as polished as in Dave’s latest and one of my favorite’s from 2021, The Last Thing He Told Me. But Emmy’s journey is resonating with me in a unique and compelling way. To say nothing of how much I enjoyed the characters in this one. This was quite simply a delightful read.