I remember watching The Brady Bunch and other sitcoms of the '70s and '80s. And when I Love Lucy is on, I'll still watch an episode every now and then. But my interest in these shows pales next to that of Marlo Spencer, a devotee whose love of all things retro in television knows no end.
Fortunately, Marlo's best friend, Nik, indulges her passion. He even accompanies her to dinners with her wacky aunt. Nik's sister, Savannah, is Marlo's other best friend, and lives with her precocious daughter in the friends' hometown of Napa. It isn't that Marlo's life in Malibu is idyllic, but it's peaceful. That is, until she receives a message from Josh, her high school boyfriend who she hasn't heard from in over a decade: he'd like them to discuss the promise they made before they broke up after graduation.
Marlo is stunned. Yes, she and Josh promised each other that if they were 30 and not married that they would marry each other, but the last she saw of him, he left Napa and headed to France to culinary school. Even though Marlo broke up with him, she's still hurt that he never invited her to visit him in France, much less kept in touch. She agrees to go to Napa to see him when he heads back home, and Nik decides to drive and accompany her.
To say that Nik does not like or trust Josh is a fair assessment of his feelings. And we know why: Nik loves Marlo for himself. When we meet Savannah and see her reaction to Josh's return to Napa, our suspicions ignite, far more than Marlo's. In fact, if there is one thing about Marlo that vexes us it is her penchant for overlooking the obvious. We see the connections long before she does, so by the time her outrage hits, our shock has worn off and we're kind of over it.
Yet you can't help but like Marlo, and you can't help but really like Nik, just as you can't help but distrust Savannah and Josh. Nancy Scrofano presents Marlo's kitschy devotion to classic sitcoms with just the right touch: any firmer, and we would find Marlo annoying and obnoxious. There is a reason why people like Marlo, and it has everything to do with her open, sweet disposition - a disposition Nik adores but Josh attempts to manipulate.
You can see the ending of this book from its opening pages, but that doesn't mean that Scrofano does not make the inevitable an enjoyable turning of the pages. She clearly likes her characters, and we in turn come to care about them as well. For those of us who came of age in the '70s and '80s, there is the added bonus of flashing back to television shows we recall with a nostalgic glow.
True Love Way is much like its characters: cute, adorable, and sweet.
Published on cupcake's book cupboard. @VivaAmaRisata
Thanks to the author for the preview.