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Wendy the Super Librarian‘s review of Molly Cooper’s Dream Date by Barbara Hannay
Contemporary romance published by Harlequin Romance 04 Jan 11

One of my duties while I was at RWA last month was to give a presentation to a group of librarians on category romance.  My partner in crime for this endeavor was a Harlequin editor, who gave a shout-out for this book while we were discussing the Harlequin Romance line.  I had it languishing on my Sony Reader, and her “sell job” for it was so intriguing, I vowed to make it my next read.

Molly Cooper has lived her whole life on tiny Magnetic Island, off the coast of Australia.  She’s hungry (desperate even) for an adventure, but money is tight.  So she hits upon the idea of a home-swap.  Her dream is to go to posh London and fall in love with a proper English gentleman.  Surely there must be a London-ite desperate to escape the city for a tiny island paradise?

That ends up being Patrick Knight, a banker burning his candle at both ends.  He has a dream of writing a novel, and Molly’s small island cottage seems just the ticket.  So the swap is arranged, and while Molly is having her adventure in London and Patrick is writing his novel on the island, they get to know each other through the wonders of e-mail.

This is the type of book that breaks several of my personal reading rules.  1) I like the romantic couple to be “on page” together early on and 2) I’m a dialogue ho.  The bulk of this story is told via e-mails, text messages, and diary entries.  The reader gets to know both Molly and Patrick this way, and it’s really a lovely, charming way to watch a friendship, then romance, unfold.

I will say that Molly, while 24, is a young 24.  She’s been stuck on that island her whole life.  London represents adventure, excitement, everything she doesn’t have back home.  Her dreams of falling for a proper English gent do come off a wee bit idealistic, romantic, and far-fetched – but again, whole life lived on a tiny island.  I never felt like she was too-stupid-to-live or dense – just young.  Try to remember what you were like when you were like Molly and….young.

Patrick is a nice guy.  Period.  He loves his mother.  He’s hard working.  He’s a thoughtful person.  When Molly finds herself overwhelmed, Patrick is there to help her out – even as he’s thousands of miles away.  He does do something rather boneheaded later in the book, and Molly does overreact just a pinch – but it gives the conflict a shot in the arm and paves the way for one of the sweeter, romantic endings I’ve read in a long, long time.  I defy anyone to read it and not sigh.  Go ahead, I dare you.

This is a gentle, sweet story about a young girl who has an adventure and the nice guy who ends up winning her heart.  It hit all the right notes for me, and it was just a flat-out happy book for me to lose myself in for a couple of hours.  It’s the perfect cure-all for just about every single one of real life’s annoyances.  God bless editors.

Wendy TSLGrade: B+


Pacific islander Molly Cooper has house-swapped her way into London’s exclusive Chelsea. It’s her dream to explore Britain…and meet a perfect English gentleman!

Patrick Knight is finding Molly’s chatty emails strangely compelling. The onetime city banker thought swapping his London pad for Molly’s idyllic cottage would help him write his first novel—but it’s not quite working out…

What do you do when you realize the one you want is half a world away, living in your home, sleeping in your bed…?

Read an excerpt.