Review: The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory

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Title: The Wedding Date

Author: Jasmine Guillory

Publication Date: 30 January 2018

SYNOPSIS:

A groomsman and his last-minute guest are about to discover if a fake date can go the distance in a fun and flirty debut novel.

Agreeing to go to a wedding with a guy she gets stuck with in an elevator is something Alexa Monroe wouldn’t normally do. But there’s something about Drew Nichols that’s too hard to resist.

On the eve of his ex’s wedding festivities, Drew is minus a plus one. Until a power outage strands him with the perfect candidate for a fake girlfriend…

After Alexa and Drew have more fun than they ever thought possible, Drew has to fly back to Los Angeles and his job as a pediatric surgeon, and Alexa heads home to Berkeley, where she’s the mayor’s chief of staff. Too bad they can’t stop thinking about the other…

They’re just two high-powered professionals on a collision course toward the long distance dating disaster of the century–or closing the gap between what they think they need and what they truly want…

REVIEW

What would you do if a really gorgeous stranger asked you to be his date for a wedding? Would you say no and laugh it off? Or…would you say yes and see what happens? That’s the situation Alexa Monroe is faced with when she has her meet-cute with Drew Nichols once the two are stuck in an elevator during a power outage in a swanky hotel in San Francisco. What starts off as a fake date has the potential to become something more for commitment-phobe Drew and over thinker Alexa. Will they take their fake date to another level or will they keep on pretending?

The Wedding Date is a fun, sexy (though probably not graphic enough for some readers) romance about the world of modern dating between a black woman and a white man in post-Trump America. Does Guillory touch upon race? Yes, in a very relevant way and with a light hand. It never feels like a sociology lesson and it flows naturally with the plot.

Will you enjoy reading the ups and downs Alexa and Drew experience? Yes, and you won’t want to put your Kindle down. I loved how Guillory handled the subjects of interracial relationships, long-distance relationships and the pitfalls of trying to interpret text messages. So many of the situations in the book made me laugh as I’ve been through them myself.

Take my advice, get thee to your favourite bookstore and pick up a copy of The Wedding Date. You’re going to love Alexa and Drew and you’ll wish it was already a movie.

Highly recommended!

My rating?

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What I’ve Read, I’m Reading and Will Soon Be Reading

Once a month, I’ll share with you what I’ve read, what I’m reading and what I’ll soon be reading. This month, I’ve got three choice reads I think you should add to your TBR and 1-click lists. All three are by writers who happen to be women of colour, and all three are about love and come at it from different perspectives.

What I have read:

Screen Shot 2018-01-14 at 12.37.44Whiskey & Ribbons by Leesa Cross-Smith

Publication Date: March 8

I was lucky enough to read an ARC of Whiskey & Ribbons and it was unputdownable. It’s one of those heart wrenching stories of love and loss and finding love again that had me feeling emotional for a while. Yes, I had a book hangover. Pre-order it ASAP. 

Synopsis:

Evi—a classically-trained ballerina—was nine months pregnant when her husband Eamon was killed in the line of duty on a steamy morning in July. Now, it is winter, and Eamon’s adopted brother Dalton has moved in to help her raise six-month-old Noah.

Whiskey & Ribbons is told in three intertwining, melodic voices: Evi in present day, as she’s snowed in with Dalton during a freak blizzard; Eamon before his murder, as he prepares for impending fatherhood and grapples with the danger of his profession; and Dalton, as he struggles to make sense of his life next to Eamon’s, and as he decides to track down the biological father he’s never known.

In the vein of Jojo Moyes’ After YouWhiskey & Ribbons explores the life that continues beyond loss, with a complicated brotherly dynamic reminiscent of Elizabeth Strout’s The Burgess Boys. It’s a meditation on grief, hope, motherhood, brotherhood and surrogate fatherhood. Above all, it’s a novel about what it means – and whether it’s possible – to heal.


What I’m reading:

Screen Shot 2018-01-14 at 12.37.09Halsey Street by Naima Coster

Publication date: January 1

I’m nearly done reading Halsey Street and … yes, I know I keep posting about it on Twitter and Facebook, but that’s because it’s a beautifully written novel that I think you need to read ASAP. Review coming soon.

Synopsis:

A modern-day story of family, loss, and renewal, Halsey Street captures the deeply human need to belong—not only to a place but to one another.

Penelope Grand has scrapped her failed career as an artist in Pittsburgh and moved back to Brooklyn to keep an eye on her ailing father. She’s accepted that her future won’t be what she’d dreamed, but now, as gentrification has completely reshaped her old neighborhood, even her past is unrecognizable. Old haunts have been razed, and wealthy white strangers have replaced every familiar face in Bed-Stuy. Even her mother, Mirella, has abandoned the family to reclaim her roots in the Dominican Republic. That took courage. It’s also unforgivable.

When Penelope moves into the attic apartment of the affluent Harpers, she thinks she’s found a semblance of family—and maybe even love. But her world is upended again when she receives a postcard from Mirella asking for reconciliation. As old wounds are reopened, and secrets revealed, a journey across an ocean of sacrifice and self-discovery begins.

An engrossing debut, Halsey Street shifts between the perspectives of these two captivating, troubled women. Mirella has one last chance to win back the heart of the daughter she’d lost long before leaving New York, and for Penelope, it’s time to break free of the hold of the past and start navigating her own life.


What I’ll soon be reading:

Screen Shot 2018-01-14 at 12.36.32.pngThe Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory

Publication date: January 30

I pre-ordered The Wedding Date a few months ago and I am happily counting down the days until I can read this one. Going on sick leave for an operation on January 23, so I’ll be reading this one while I recuperate. 🙂

Synopsis:

A groomsman and his last-minute guest are about to discover if a fake date can go the distance in a fun and flirty debut novel.

Agreeing to go to a wedding with a guy she gets stuck with in an elevator is something Alexa Monroe wouldn’t normally do. But there’s something about Drew Nichols that’s too hard to resist.

On the eve of his ex’s wedding festivities, Drew is minus a plus one. Until a power outage strands him with the perfect candidate for a fake girlfriend…

After Alexa and Drew have more fun than they ever thought possible, Drew has to fly back to Los Angeles and his job as a pediatric surgeon, and Alexa heads home to Berkeley, where she’s the mayor’s chief of staff. Too bad they can’t stop thinking about each other…

They’re just two high-powered professionals on a collision course toward the long distance dating disaster of the century—or closing the gap between what they think they need and what they truly want…

 

Happy Reading!

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5 Books I’ve Just 1-clicked…and 5 Books I’ll Soon Be 1-clicking

Now that autumn is well and truly here in Stockholm, it’s time for me to prepare for the looooong, dark Swedish winter.  Granted, Stockholm does not go through the same 24 hours of darkness during the winter as you get in northern Sweden (though when you have thick cloud cover for weeks at a time, it sure does feel that way), but I become rather hermit-like during the dark days. The Danes would call it ‘hygge‘ or this whole art of getting cozy and being comfortable and relaxed (or something like that). In Swedish, we’re more likely to say mysig.

So how to do I get my hygge/mysig on? With good books, a glass of wine or a cup of coffee, and a cozy blanket. I might light some scented candles, too. A cute pair of pyjama pants and a comfy t-shirt or sweater,  add to it my “If you can read this…bring me a glass of wine” socks. But in order to be truly prepared, I need to stock up on books for my dear old Kindle. I’ve already started stocking up for my autumn/winter reading.

Here’s what I’ve 1clicked so far.

Screen Shot 2017-09-17 at 11.46.28Coffee Date by Nia Forrester

You can find out a lot about yourself during the course of a single day.

On the anniversary of the most tragic event of his life, Randall “The Rocket” Reese must face down paparazzi outside his house, a big sister who won’t stay out of his personal life, and a coffee date with an “old classmate” from high school whom he barely remembers.

His plan is to wallow in solitude, but Fate has plans of its own.

 

Screen Shot 2017-09-17 at 11.50.57Relationship Goals by Christina C. Jones

Everyone is a stranger at some point, right?

Pulled by an explicable, undeniable thread of… something… Nick and Noah find themselves keen on becoming more. Hashtags and flights and late-night text sessions lead to a connection neither has experienced, or expected. Beyond the shiny veneer of social media, further than the shallow depths of a good selfie, down to the real, for real stuff that relationships are made of… can Nick and Noah actually reach their prematurely awarded goal?

 

Screen Shot 2017-09-17 at 11.54.16The Hygge Holiday by Rosie Blake

The perfect recipe for hygge this autumn: make a hot chocolate, draw the curtains, snuggle under a blanket and read your way to happiness!

It’s autumn in Yulethorpe and everyone is gloomy. It’s cold, drizzly and the skies are permagrey. The last shop on the high street – an adorable little toy shop – has just shut its doors. Everything is going wrong for Yulethorpe this autumn. Until Clara Kristensen arrives.

Clara is on holiday but she can see the potential in the pretty town, so she rolls up her sleeves and sets to work. Things are looking up until Joe comes to Yulethorpe to find out exactly what is going on with his mother’s shop. Joe is Very Busy and Important in the City and very sure that Clara is up to no good. Surely no one would work this hard just for the fun of it?

Can a man who answers emails at 3 a. m. learn to appreciate the slower, happier, hygge things in life – naps, candles, good friends and maybe even falling in love?

Screen Shot 2017-09-17 at 12.00.05Stay with Me by Ayobami Odebayo

Yejide and Akin have been married since they met and fell in love at university. Though many expected Akin to take several wives, he and Yejide have always agreed: polygamy is not for them. But four years into their marriage–after consulting fertility doctors and healers, trying strange teas and unlikely cures–Yejide is still not pregnant. She assumes she still has time–until her family arrives on her doorstep with a young woman they introduce as Akin’s second wife. Furious, shocked, and livid with jealousy, Yejide knows the only way to save her marriage is to get pregnant. Which, finally, she does–but at a cost far greater than she could have dared to imagine. An electrifying novel of enormous emotional power, Stay With Me asks how much we can sacrifice for the sake of family.

Screen Shot 2017-09-17 at 12.08.16Since We Fell by Dennis Lehane

Since We Fell follows Rachel Childs, a former journalist who, after an on-air mental breakdown, now lives as a virtual shut-in. In all other respects, however, she enjoys an ideal life with an ideal husband. Until a chance encounter on a rainy afternoon causes that ideal life to fray. As does Rachel’s marriage. As does Rachel herself. Sucked into a conspiracy thick with deception, violence, and possibly madness, Rachel must find the strength within herself to conquer unimaginable fears and mind-altering truths.

 

And then there are 5 books that I’ve already marked for 1clicking…

 

Things We Never Said by Nick Alexander

Screen Shot 2017-09-17 at 12.12.37“One day, we’ll be dead, and we still won’t have known each other. Not properly. Because no one ever does.”

When Catherine learns that she is dying, she remembers the words her husband once jokingly uttered and decides to leave him the ultimate, posthumous gift: a time capsule containing photographs of their life together along with tape recordings in which she recounts every secret she ever kept, every unspoken thought whether loving or treacherous; the things they never said.

Catherine’s recordings shake up many of Sean’s beliefs, sometimes enraging him and other times soothing with memories of the many joys that make up a life together.

But even as the tapes provide an emotional roller coaster of surprises, Sean prays that they’ll confirm the one thing he always secretly believed but never dared say out loud: that destiny exists; that their life together was not the result of mere chance.

Screen Shot 2017-09-17 at 12.16.24Cherished by You: A Found by You Finale Novella by Victoria H. Smith

Life and love can take us many places.

For Roxie and Griffin, the journey has been the best part. The strength of Griffin’s love has tested Roxie beyond belief. It forced her to take a look at herself, expose herself, and fight for the man who cares so much about her. For Griffin, the love of a woman named Roxie allowed him to come into his own. He discovered things about himself he might not have known were possible if not for her. She helped him grow into the man he always knew he could be.

They’ve been through a lot and now that the struggles of the past are gone, they can move forward with the next phase of their lives. CHERISHED BY YOU is an extended novella that shows not only where the couple is now, but where they’re headed. The story takes place a few years after LOVED BY YOU and features many of the couple’s friends and loved ones who have been important throughout the series. There will be laughter. There will be heartache as well, but there will also be love.

So much love.

CHERISHED BY YOU is the finale to Roxie and Griffin’s story and was created for all those who wanted more with a few surprises along the way.

Screen Shot 2017-09-17 at 12.19.51.pngThe Nearness of You by Sareeta Domingo

Falling in love isn’t a choice

Since the moment they met, Ryan and Taylor have shared an unspoken bond. Taylor’s drawn to Ryan more strongly than she thought possible and for some reason only he seems able to lift her out of the darkness in her past.

But Ryan is with Marcy – her best friend.

Marcy stood by Taylor when everything else had fallen apart, and Taylor refuses to risk their friendship now. Somehow she needs to resist what she’s feeling. Yet, when Marcy leaves for a few weeks just as Ryan moves in to their shared flat, the tension grows to unbearable proportions. As the line between right and wrong becomes blurred, Taylor will have to decide whether she can – or should – turn away from what might be the love of her life.

Evocative, moving and heartrendingly romantic, this is a story about real life, true love and the power of friendship.

Screen Shot 2017-09-17 at 12.23.23Then Came You (Accidentally in Love Book 3) by Nicole Falls

Damon Patterson is craving a new start and the opening of his pastry stop is just the beginning. He’s got something to prove and is hyper focused on being professionally successful. Damon isn’t seeking long term entanglements, which works perfectly for Patricia Payne—a single mother who is on the hunt for a man with a particular set of skills. A chance meeting puts them in each others orbit and they’re immediately attracted.

Both Damon and Patricia come with a little bit of baggage, but that is irrelevant as they become friends with benefits. What began as carnal needs being met eventually evolves into deeper feelings, which neither Damon nor Patricia are equipped to handle. Then Came You follows these two individuals as they journey through passion-tinged attraction, fighting to keep it casual, but eventually succumbing to that four letter word…

Screen Shot 2017-09-17 at 12.32.47.pngA Winter’s Tale by Carrie Elks

Struggling film student Kitty Shakespeare is determined to make the most of her new job as nanny to major producer Everett Klein’s son, Jonas. It might not be exactly the career she’d hoped for when she moved from London to LA, but thanks to her habit of freezing up in interviews, this is her last chance to impress a key player in Hollywood – if she can get this right, then surely he’ll take a moment to look at her work. However, what Kitty hasn’t allowed for is Everett’s sexy-as-hell brother, Adam – but love at first sight this is not.

Adam Klein may be sexy, but he’s also gruff and rude and in no way ready to make a fool of himself over the nanny – not after the year he’s had. All he wants to do hole up in his cabin and hide from the brother who destroyed his life. If only he could find it easier to ignore the way Kitty makes his heart race . . .

As Christmas approaches, Kitty and Adam come to realise that the course of true love never does run smooth – and just maybe, it’s more interesting that way…

 

Now it’s your turn: what books are you adding to your autumn hygge reading list?

Review: Saints & Misfits by S.K. Ali

Screen Shot 2017-06-24 at 19.58.48When I stumbled upon S.K. Ali’s Saints and Misfits a few weeks ago, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it was such a delight to read that I wish there still more chapters to read. Saints and Misfits shares the story of Janna, a hijabi teen whose Indian father leads a secular life while her Egyptian mother continues to be a practicing Muslim. Janna is dealing with criticism from some of her Muslim friends for hanging out with non-Muslims, lack of understanding from some non-Muslim friends who don’t understand why she wears a hijabthe fear and frustration of being sexually assaulted by Farooq, the cousin of one of her closest friends and the sort of “perfect” boy that all parents adore. Farooq spends the better part of the novel stalking Janna and doing everything he can to make sure that he can have some influence over her. And then there is Janna’s crush on Jeremy, a non-Muslim boy at her school, her older brother moving back home and deciding to court Sarah–who’s just a little too perfect and has secrets of her own, Tats–one of Janna’s non-Muslim friends who is just a little boy-crazy and trying to play matchmaker between Janna and Jeremy, And Sausun, her badass niqab-wearing friend who is trying to change the way people think of niqab-wearing girls with her YouTube channel, Niqabi Ninjas.

I love how Ali makes sure that the reader understands that Janna’s situation isn’t very different from any other teenage girl: Janna is Every Girl, dealing with her own identity crisis, with wanting to fall in love, with worrying about if she is popular. And I loved how effortlessly this was conveyed to the reader. I also loved how Ali convey’s Janna’s struggles with her faith. This is handled so deftly, without ever veering into the heavy-handedness one often sees in stories that touch upon faith and any doubts related to it.

Another wonderful thing about Saints & Misfits is the characterization. Each character in the story is so well-portrayed and unique. You never have that foggy sensation of not knowing who is who. They all stand out. And I loved the portrayal of Janna’s relationship with Mr. Ram, whom she takes to the senior citizen center every week. Even when Janna sometimes took their friendship for granted, it was obvious that she cared about him and paid heed to the advice he gave her.

Would I recommend reading Saints & Misfits? You betcha! And not only would I recommend it–if I were still teaching, it would be required reading for my students *and* their parents. Definitely a 5-star read!

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New Release: Livvy – Book 4 in the Choisie Series by Lori L. Otto

ChoisieCompletedSeries-Page-CoverIf you love YA fiction and haven’t discovered Lori L. Otto’s Choisie series, now’s your chance. The series, which started with Contessa, is now complete with the December 9th release of Livvy! Find out why so many readers are head over heels for the Choisie series.

Teasers

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What Readers Are Saying

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Where to Purchase the Livvy and the Choisie series

Contessa (Choisie 1)

Kindle: http://bit.ly/ContessaJackson

iBooks: http://bit.ly/ContessaiBooks

Nook: http://bit.ly/ContessaNook

Paperback: http://bit.ly/CONpaperback

Olivia (Choisie 2)

Kindle: http://bit.ly/choisie2

iBooks: http://bit.ly/OliviaiBooks

Nook: http://bit.ly/OliviaNook

Paperback: http://bit.ly/OLIpaperback

Dear Jon (Choisie 3)

Kindle: http://bit.ly/DearJonKindle

iBooks: http://bit.ly/DearJoniBooks

Nook: http://bit.ly/DearJonNook

Paperback: http://bit.ly/DJpaperback

Livvy (Choisie 4)

Kindle: http://bit.ly/LivvyAmazon

iBooks: http://bit.ly/LivvyiBooks

Nook: http://bit.ly/LivvyNook

Paperback: http://bit.ly/LIVpaperback

And there’s even a giveaway!

https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/6fa401115/

 

Blog Tour: Zack Love’s The Doorman and City Solipsism

Book Blitz Banner The Doorman Cover Synopsis

Alex seems to have it all: a great penthouse apartment, a lovely girlfriend, and a prestigious Wall Street job. But below the surface he is sure of nothing but his angst-ridden doubts. And when he realizes that his doorman may be God, or sent by God, he will question things like never before.

This novelette is a story of New York doormen, tormented love, empty office life, and the theological questions that arise in response to the horrors of evil.

City Solipsism Cover Synopsis

Have you ever been on a train, bus, metro/subway — or any other shared space with strangers — and started to wonder what that person right next to you is thinking? Did you ever start to think or hope that maybe your temporary neighbor was somehow sharing your thoughts and/or desires? Ever sensed some sort of romantic connection or sexual tension and wished you could get into the individual’s head, to know for sure?

“City Solipsism” will take you on a journey into the mind of one commuter on a New York City subway car, riding next to and thinking about a person standing awkwardly close…The man and woman are total strangers but their proximity is almost intimate, as their hands share the same metal subway pole…

NOTE: Readers seeking the over-top-hilarity of “Sex in the Title” should know that “City Solipsism” is written in a very different style. Rather than a comedic series of misadventures in New York, this short story takes more of a philosophical and psychological walk through the mind of one New Yorker observing and speculating about another.

Buy Now

CITY SOLIPSISM: A SHORT STORY

AMAZON * AMAZON CA * AMAZON UK

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THE DOORMAN

AMAZON * AMAZON CA * AMAZON UK

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CITY SOLIPSISM: A SHORT STORY

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MeetTheAuthor

Facebook / Goodreads / Twitter / Sex in the Title Facebook

Zack Love graduated from Harvard College, where he tried to create a bachelor’s degree in Women. With the bachelor portion of that degree in hand, he settled in New York City but – to afford renting his bed-sized studio – found himself flirting mostly with a computer screen and stacks of documents. Determined not to die a corporate drone, Zack decided to sacrifice sleep for screenwriting, an active social life, and Internet startups offering temporary billion-dollar fantasies.

To feed his steady diet of NYC nightlife, he regularly crashed VIP parties in the early 2000s and twice bumped into his burgeoning crush, a Hollywood starlet. But – much to Zack’s surprise – neither of those awkward conversations led to marriage with the A-list actress. Zack eventually consoled himself by imagining fiascos far worse than those involving his celebrity crush. In the process, he dreamed up a motley gang of five men inspired by some of his college friends and quirky work colleagues. And thus was born Sex in the Title. But the novel is not autobiographical: Zack never had his third leg attacked by any mammal (nor by any plant, for that matter). In fact, keeping his member safe has been one of Zack’s lifelong goals – and one of the few that he’s managed to accomplish.

Excerpt

THE DOORMAN

During my first year at 777 Fifth Avenue, I came to realize that Lenny had never made a false prediction or failed to supply the correct answer to a question, no matter what the subject. He wasn’t just a handyman who could fix a twitching toilet or stubborn sink; he could look at his watch while taking you down in the elevator and accurately estimate the number of minutes before a downpour would start or a cab would show up outside. He could tell you the corner where the scent of fresh lox and bagels mixed just right with the scent of the neighboring Laundromat; he knew the best place to buy your curtains or cut your hair or get your suits dry-cleaned; and he knew every phone number you needed, like the yellow pages on two short legs. He was a pipe-smoking almanac, energetically rattling off any fact about the world. “Bhutan’s current population? Let me see,” he would say, looking up for a moment before launching into his usual light-speed speech, “2,047,453. But seven more were just born yesterday, so it’s at 2,047,460 now.” Of course, I couldn’t verify such a preposterously precise claim, but he was always right about everything else, so I was inclined to believe him. He could tend to any wound or malady, as though he had perfectly mastered the Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine, and his advice always seemed more effective than any doctor recommendation I obtained. And despite the swiftness of his incessant chatter, there wasn’t a word he uttered without gentle passion and infectious enthusiasm. And so he would engage you in some topic you never imagined could interest you for more than a polite minute – the history of vacuum cleaners, or the different flavors of ice cream in China, or the intricate ways of the delicate blue ball turning third in line from the sun. The elevator ride would be over but you’d still be listening until someone else called the elevator or Lenny jokingly reminded you that you had originally entered the elevator with a look of great purpose. Mercifully enough, Lenny always kept it brief in the mornings, knowing that I had to be at work by 8:30 a.m.

At one point, I began to think that I had a divine doorman. Lenny was the most unlikely incarnation of God I could imagine, and yet I kept drifting irresistibly towards this absurd conclusion. Despite my staunchly atheistic inclinations, I couldn’t explain Lenny any other way. But eventually I came to my senses and realized that he was just one of those game show freaks with an encyclopedic memory. That didn’t make him God, did it? Would God proclaim so regularly how much he likes Patsy’s Pizza?

Excerpt

CITY SOLIPSISM: A SHORT STORY

The pages of my calendar flip by faster each year as the bewildering march of time presses forward through alarm clock blues, dinners at the office, and “free time” planned away – in the same way – month after month. As I stand on the same subway platform, waiting for the same local train, I think to myself how youth is marked by a breathtaking novelty that diminishes with each year of age – until life becomes a delusive struggle to break routines, escape the ordinary, and rediscover the joy of discovery.

“What does it take now – as a ‘grown-up’- to make a month memorable?” I wonder. “How do you make treading the treadmill feel like trailblazing a trail? What would make this morning any more remarkable than any other morning?”

And then I notice someone who doesn’t look quite so beleaguered by it all. She’s a woman in her early-twenties with features that hail from either Italy or Spain – I can’t be sure because it’s been about six years since I played my guitar for coins across Europe (and even then, I wasn’t great at differentiating Italians from Spaniards).

Summer sticks to her skirt sumptuously, in the shiny gray fabric hanging loosely from her curves. Her chestnut eyes, apparently hidden from strangers; her simple but graceful face, unpainted by Madison Avenue; and her straight black hair, parted down the middle without ego, all suggest a minimalist – almost pastoral – beauty that is oddly discordant with her fashionable attire, comfortable indifference to the crowds, and quasi-attentive perusal of the Time magazine unfolded over her hand.

I don’t know her name and I’m sure that I’ve never seen her before, but there is something familiar about her. She seems to have this schizophrenically interested or curious look that reminds me of the female shoppers I once observed in a busy Florentine marketplace. The young Italian women in that spice-filled outdoor market, buying their extra virgin olive oil and red ripe tomatoes, seemed flirtatious in their enjoyment of the young men eyeing them, yet guardedly guilt-ridden about any deviations from a properly Catholic day of shopping. And here in our subway car, the way in which this bucolic belle’s eyes occasionally seem undecided between the text of her magazine and the people standing around her makes me wonder how those Florentine shoppers would look if their daily routine were transformed from an outdoor Tuscan shopping spree to an indoor New York subway ride. Would they all look at the magazines in their hands more or less than this woman two feet away from me does?

At the risk of fetishizing an unsuspecting subway rider, I’m going to call her “Florence.” The name of that city evokes in me so many magical memories that I’ll call her “Florence” even though the vestiges of my origin-detection skills insist that her roots might actually be Spanish. Calling her “Madrid” just wouldn’t sound as good, and admitting my uncertainty by calling her “Southern Europe” would sound even worse. So she’ll be Florence for now.

Teaser

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