Fancy Meeting You Here is a fun, fast-paced romance with fairly low stakes but a whole lot of chemistry under the hood. It’s romantic and quite fun, with a winning hero and heroine.
Elise Ngo is in mega bridesmaid mode. All three of her closest friends are getting married within months of each other, and she’s not only in every single wedding party, she’s acting as a florist for all of them.
Between shower games, bridal functions, and actually running her own flower shop, Elise is ragged from the stress, but as a struggling florist she needs the extra attention. On top of everything else she has going on, it turns out the swankiest and highest profile of the three weddings, for her friend Becca’s who has a very politically-entangled family, is running low on caterers. In desperation, she hires Ben Yu to make food for the reception – and he turns out to be the bride’s long mysterious brother.
Ben proves to be as distant in the flesh as he has been in Becca’s stories, but in spite of his coldness and Elise’s warmth, they carve out a sense of respect for one another. Ben has been working functions for his mom’s political campaign, and he invites Elise to work as a florist for several important stops. Ben and Elise get closer, but will the stress of the situation – and the conflict inherent in the political atmosphere in which they’re working – affect their romance?
Fancy Meeting You Here is grounded in a world of real people having grown-up conversations. I liked it more than Circling Back to You; the characters are fun and have more fun. The only reason this isn’t an A-level read is because there isn’t much tension in the romance, in spite of what the blurb says. There should have been a whole lot more conflict going on, especially with the level of political involvement happening in the subplot of this story. Still, it’s a fun, easy to enjoy book.
Elise and Ben have a classic grumpy-and-sunshine relationship, and Elise is incredibly easy to root for. All she wants is to finally be successful at something important to her, and be a good friend to boot – who wouldn’t want to root for someone like that? And Ben turns out to be a very cool guy, it just takes him a while to warm up.
The food and floral porn here are great; I loved the way Tieu playfully takes on wedding, romantic and family-related conventions with ease. All of Elise’s friends are likable people, and Tieu does a great job of exploring each tradition inherent to each of Elise’s friends’ families.
This took all of the things I liked in Circling Back to You and improved upon them three-fold, but the book still ends up bubbling just under DIK status; I couldn’t give it that level of praise. But it’s still pretty darn good. I sense Julie Tieu has a full-on A grade book in her, but until then, pick up Fancy Meeting You Here and enjoy the warmth it provides.
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I know, but personally I’d rather have a list than nothing, if it’s not too much trouble.
Let’s try it tomorrow and see!
Maybe. I am looking into another way of doing it.