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Continuing with the Rights & Responsibilities Challenge:

16) Buy a car.

Read a romance involving someone who works with vehicles of any type – pilots, racecar drivers, mechanics, chauffeurs, or someone who works with their hands, is in a blue collar profession, or works in tech (IT).

Gail Honeyman’s Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, published in 2017, is general fiction rather than romance, but it definitely has romantic elements. I came across this book while browsing at my local bookstore last year, but I have since noticed that it’s now become one of Reese Witherspoon’s picks, and she has optioned it to be adapted for the screen.

At first blush, this story puts me in mind of those that focus on a lead character who has autism or some other developmental disability. However, our main character, Eleanor, has issues that clearly resulted from a traumatic childhood which have stunted her ability to interact with others in what we would define as an “acceptable” manner. Eleanor is a 30 year old single woman, living in Scotland who works in accounting and payments for a design company. She lives by herself, keeps to herself, has an ironclad, regular routine, and tends to be judgmental about those around her.

One day, things change for Eleanor in what appear to be small ways, but they begin to have huge impacts, making her take baby steps towards changing her outlook and finally face her internal demons. The first is that a new co-worker, Raymond Gibbons, who works in IT, comes to help Eleanor with a computer problem and begins to slowly draw her out, overlooking some of her hostile comments. The second is, upon grudgingly accompanying her co-workers to a work-related event, she sees an up and coming musician who captures her fancy, and the third is that she and Raymond reach out to help an elderly man, who has an accident, and are drawn into his life.

I really enjoyed this debut novel. Although I came to guess some of Eleanor’s secrets, I wasn’t 100% sure if I was correct. This novel does manage to keep you cheering Eleanor on and wondering how far she’ll get towards healing herself. I like how the story took its time and didn’t make huge leaps, even at the end. The story does have a HEA, but it’s not a sure thing that everything you hope for her will work out. It’s just nice to know that Eleanor definitely won’t return to being a damaged loner, who longs to be loved, and that she will have friends who will be there for her. I’d give this book an A. It’s a keeper.


The Alphabet Challenge Variation – 13 down, 5 to go (R, D, L, J, A, G, N, B, C, E, F, H, Q …)

Rights & Responsibilities Challenge – 14 down, 4 to go