Our Stop by Laura Jane Williams

Recently, I visited London for the first time, and while I was flying there, I wanted to read a book set in the city to set the mood. I stumbled onto Our Stop which really fit the bill – it’s a love story set in the city’s infamous tube system. Sadly, it was a book that was only redeemed from its inchworm pace by a few redeeming moments and sparks of chemistry.

Nadia gets the 7.30 train every morning without fail. Well, except if she oversleeps or wakes up at her friend Emma’s after too much wine.

Daniel really does get the 7.30 train every morning, which is easy because he hasn’t been able to sleep properly since his dad died.

One morning, Nadia’s eye catches sight of a post in the daily paper:

To the cute girl with the coffee stains on her dress. I’m the guy who’s always standing near the doors… Drink sometime?

So begins a not-quite-romance of near-misses, true love, and the power of the written word.

This book focuses around two characters who keep having near misses. While the concept is to allow both characters to build up the fantasy of the other in their heads, the fact that their first meeting was so late in the book really ruined the amount of chemistry the two main characters could possibly have together. Sometimes the whole slow burn thing can be played out well (see Sleepless in Seattle), but in this instance, it lacked the epic outcome and payoff I really wanted to see. Also, the repeated near misses started getting really repetitive and very contrived. Sometimes they were such a stretch that I could almost feel my eyes rolling to the back of my head. The constant near misses also threw the rhythm of the plot out of balance – they really slowed it down – it felt like the author was trying to meet an arbitrary page count and ran out of ideas.

As a computer science nerd, I wish the book had explored Nadia’s career in artificial intelligence a lot more. It was frustrating that the book stated that she was career driven but then never went any deeper than repetitively saying she worked in AI. Outside of her nonexistent career, Nadia was a pretty one dimensional character. She’s a serial resolution maker, who can never quite stick to them. Daniel, on the other hand, is a career centered man (whose job we actually got to see) who is recently out of a dark place. He begins the more interesting of the two – not only is he pursuing Nadia, he’s struggling to make friends, deal with his crazy roommate, and to buy his first house. Sadly, he goes a little downhill in my books as he refuses to get up the courage to talk to Nadia and reveal who he is, over and over and over again. The one redeeming part of this book was the occasional sparks between Nadia and Daniel. As the book dove into how they first met and their newspaper classifieds exchanges, their chemistry grew. However, their chemistry became stunted when the book drew out the two of them actually meeting each other and their near-encounters got to be repetitive.

Had the two romantic leads met a little earlier, this book would have gotten a higher score from me. While they did have some sparky encounters, they just weren’t enough to make the book truly a romantic story. The repeated missed opportunities got tiring and repetitive and weren’t cohesive enough to drive the plot faster than a snails pace. If you’re looking for a good book about near misses, check out One Day in December by Josie Silver2/5

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