Thank you so much TLC Book Tours, Lake Union Publishing, and Amazon Publishing for my copy.
Valencia, a timid debt collector with crippling OCD, is afraid of many things, but the two that scare her most are flying and turning thirty-five. To confront those fears, Valencia’s therapist suggests that she fly somewhere—anywhere—before her upcoming birthday. And as Valencia begins a telephone romance with a man from New York, she suddenly has a destination in mind. There’s only one problem—he might not actually exist. Mrs. Valentine is an eccentric old woman desperate for company, be it from neighbors, telemarketers, or even the funeral director (when you’re her age, you go to a lot of funerals). So she’s thrilled when the new cleaning girl provides a listening ear for her life’s story—a tale of storybook love and incredible adventures around the world with her husband before his mysterious and sudden disappearance.
When I saw the blurb that VALENCIA AND VALENTINE was compared to Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine I knew I wanted to read this book!
We meet 35-year-old Valencia who works as a debt collector because she thinks she owes the world penance for a bad deed as a teenager. She falls in love with a frequent customer who calls about his debt but ends up beings rather social. Her therapist sees her for crippling OCD and social anxiety but tells her to face her fears and fly to New York to meet him in person. Then we meet a very eccentric 87-year-old widow, Mrs. Valentine. She lost her husband fifty years ago, obsesses with death, and loves to tell stories to anyone who will listen. The two characters lives are intrinsically entwined even though they never meet.
I really enjoyed reading these characters, especially Valencia, as she has a very busy mind (something I can relate to). Mrs. Valentine is a delight to read as she is such a colorful character. We alternate between perspectives of the main characters, and even though it starts a bit rough, as the story keeps going I found myself getting more and more invested. With just a hint of darkness, this is a wonderful debut about love, sadness, loneliness, and the bittersweet lives of these quirky, yet charming characters.
My rating is 4 out of 5 stars!
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