"Just the Way You Are" by Lynsey James

Ava Clements has never been lucky in love.  The only time she ever felt true love in her life was six years ago when a secret admirer began sending her letters.  She was supposed to meet up with the mystery man but he never showed and the letters stopped.  Her best friends Max and Gwen were there to pick her up but she has never been the same.

Thankfully, she has been able to throw herself into her work writing for a magazine.  She lost out on the opportunity to write the dating column to the office bitch. But she has an idea of how to win back her position and it involves reuniting two lovers separated fifty years earlier.  With everything going on, she doesn’t have much time for love.  

But now, the letters have started again.  And as much as she wants to forget him, she can’t. Ava is determined this time around to make sure she finds out who he is.  Because he is the only man she has ever loved.

Just the Way You Are, by Lynsey James, is a sweet, fun novel full of love and heartbreak.  It’s a classic “will they, won’t they” story that is very enjoyable.

I was drawn to this book because I knew that it would be a sweet story that I could sit down with and enjoy without too much effort.  And it met my expectations there.  At first, I wasn’t sure if the storyline would carry through the entire book (especially since I felt like I had figured out the mystery writer was very early on) but there was enough “extra” story to keep the book going.  

The storyline of the Ivy and Leo, the people that Ava was trying to reunite was a nice addition to the book. The love lives of Max and Gwen also fit in well rather than feeling like add-ons.  And the story of Maddie was also just right - enough to move the story along but not enough that it takes over or feels like filler.

There were a few things toward the end of book that got on my nerves.  I wish Ava would have stood up for herself more.  And I wish that it didn’t take so long for the big resolve.  The “will they/won’t they” aspect drew out a little too long for me.  I felt like the characters made very silly decisions and at times, I questioned the maturity of the characters (as in, do people their age really behave this way?)

For a debut book, this one is very well written.  Sometimes when a book has an element of “writing” - blogs, columns, and in this case, letters - that element takes over the novel and you find that you are mostly reading that rather than the story.  But that did not happen with this book.  There is enough of the letters to keep you wanting more and not enough to make you sick of the thread.  This is a lovely book to curl up with and I look forward to seeing future books from Lynsey James.

I received a copy of this book courtesy of the publisher through Netgalley.  The opinions expressed above are my own.


  1. I do Hope it ended happily for Ava. Would be too sad otherwise


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