A review by Nalini Haynes
Lorelai works at an old-fashioned cinema while secretly writing screenplays for books that haven’t been converted to movies yet. But with this kiss – with any kiss – she sees the way the person she kisses will die. To date everyone she’s kissed has died a violent death, causing nightmares for years. So Lorelai has sworn off relationships. But then Grayson comes along.
Lorelai thinks of herself as a monster, wondering if she causes deaths. Her best friend Joani challenges Lorelai to kiss people to experiment, to learn if she can change their deaths. That way, Lorelai may change Grayson’s outcome or be able to accept it.
With Lorelai calling herself a monster and isolating herself socially including from her family, it seems her ability is a metaphor for mental illness. Fletcher focuses on secrets, the need for family for healing and rebuilding to reinforce this metaphor. As an author, Fletcher has the courage not to heal her protagonist of this affliction and yet provides a satisfying ending.
The emotional journey
Most romances embark on a fairly predictable emotional journey, a route from which this novel diverges. With This Kiss reminds me more of the novel/memoir No Longer Lonely (possibly this novel) than of other books in the romance genre, although With This Kiss shares some features with No Hard Feelings.
When the romantic figures usually reach the peak of conflict or uncertainty, Fletcher sidetracks to focus on Lorelai’s social isolation. And then indulges in a typical romantic Hollywood ending despite the obvious plot hole. (Think the Pacific Rim Honest Trailer. But without the phallic sword.)
With This Kiss is an emotional healing journey of a mentally unwell (aka supernaturally gifted) woman, with a side of fries (romance). The emotional climax, the darkest hour before the dawn, was a bit too long and melodramatic for my personal taste. However, if you or someone you care about is struggling with mental health or other health issues causing social isolation, that darkest hour before the dawn and the healing process therein may be pure gold for you.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Imprint: HQ Fiction GB
Format: paperback, 320 pages
List Price: 32.99 AUD
Category: Romance, fantasy