Monday, 21 July 2014

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight
Jennifer E. Smith
London, Headline, 2012, 215p

As simple as it may seem, the title of this book is what attracted me to it. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight - what could be more intriguing?

Hadley is flying from New York to London to attend her father's wedding. He left her and her mother for a job in Oxford several years ago, and has since met someone new, someone Hadley has never met and is more than reluctant to get to know. Hadley doesn't want to go to London, but she is frustrated when she misses her flight by just four minutes, leaving her to wait in the airport for a later flight. She will arrive in London less than two hours before the wedding, and is unsure she will even make it on time.

In a strange twist of fate, she ends up sitting next to a handsome young Brit on her flight, who chats away and distracts her from her claustrophobia. He is charming and clever, and Hadley finds herself wishing this moment could last longer than just the flight.

The novel is written in the present tense, with the chapter headings demonstrating the time difference between New York and London. By the end of the book, it is hardly surprising that Hadley and Oliver are completely exhausted, having been awake for more than twenty four hours. But the present tense keeps you in the situation, sharing their tiredness and emotional instability as they try to navigate their feelings and their families.

Despite the synopsis seeming soppy and romantic, I rather enjoyed indulging in this novel. The relationship between Oliver and Hadley is whirlwind and optimistic, despite the obvious barriers, but the novel is also filled with complex familial relationships, adding depth to the characters and their love.

Hadley is angry at her father for leaving her, but surprisingly open minded once she arrives in London, and mature enough to let her Dad and his new wife into her life. Oliver, whilst a happy and warm character, seems to carry some sadness with him, hinting at resentment towards his father. But Hadley is so preoccupied with her own concerns that she does not take the time to really understand Oliver until it is perhaps too late...

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