I read Jill Santopolo’s first adult novel, The Light We Lost, and absolutely loved it. I was drawn the to scenery of Columbia University (Go Lions!) and how a relationship can be both strengthened and weakened by shared trauma- in this case, the tragedy of 9/11.
More Than Words take us back to New York City, where we find Nina Gregory, a speechwriter for a charismatic NYC mayoral candidate, Rafael. Nina hails from the Gregory family- the Gregories achieved fame through Nina’s father, who founded the elite Gregory Hotels. Her mother died in a car accident when she was very young, and Nina has been close to her father ever since.
Nina has been bathed in wealth and privilege, with her life mostly going comfortably. When her father dies, she uncovers some truths about him that make her question just about everything she’s ever thought about her father, her family, and herself.
Meanwhile, her boyfriend, Tim, is her best-friend since childhood, having only recently found a more romantic relationship. Through this news lens of her life, Nina starts to question if this relationship is what she wants, and finds herself more and more attracted to Rafael. What path will Nina take, and how will she reconcile this new, imperfect image of her who father was? Will her heart steer her to Tim or Rafael?
I went into this book a little arrogantly. The summaries all alluded to a “secret” that is revealed about the father’s past that our protagonist, Nina, finds out after he dies. I totally thought I knew what the secret(s) were going to be, but I was so wrong! So I can’t say this is a predictable book!
The beginning of the book started a little slow for me, but I ended up finishing very quickly. While the ending made sense, I felt like there should’ve been more “scenes,” more development before the final denouement. That said, this could also be a result of the book being such a quick read?
I thought the book was a solid one, but could’ve benefited from adding a little more “umph!” For example, there were a few points at which I thought Nina was going to explore more of her mother’s family history, but that subplot fell kind of flat.
I did, however, enjoy the romantic plot-line very much (some steamy scenes, but not too steamy!). I think Santopolo is showing she has a gift for heroines who are having trouble with their love lives, especially in context of New York City. I hope she sticks to it, and I look forward to book three of her adult fiction!
Source: My local library
- Author’s website
- Author’s Instagram account
- Listen to Santopolo’s strategy for writing on the Moms Don’t Have Time to Read Books Podcast