Love & Other Words by Christina Lauren follows Macy Sorenson, whose father buys a cabin in the woods after her mother’s death. There, Macy meets Elliot Petropoulos and their relationship slowly develops from a friendship bonded over books to something more. However, one night changes everything, and it isn’t until eleven years and an engagement later that the two meet again.
I was on the fence about reading Love & Other Words. On one hand, I have heard amazing reviews for Love & Other Words and have seen that many Christina Lauren fans regard it as one of their favorites by the author duo. On the other hand, I have encountered several misses from this pair recently, including Something Wilder, which I did not finish last year. While I did overall enjoy Love & Other Words, I did not quite love it as much as I expected.
One aspect of Love & Other Words that I enjoyed was the dual timeline. This story takes place in present day, but also gives flashbacks to different parts of the relationship between Macy and Elliot. Sometimes, I am not a huge fans of dual timelines because they can disrupt the pace of the story if not executed well. However, I do think Christina Lauren did a good job of including scenes which showed the progression of Macy and Elliot’s relationship. In a romance novel, I want to believe that the love interests are meant to be together, and by the end of the novel, I did see Macy and Elliot as soulmates.
Additionally, I appreciated the emotional impact of this story and the emphasis on family throughout the novel. What happens to Macy’s family is tragic, but there is so much love readers see in such a short amount of time. Macy also has sort of a found family through Elliot, who still love and care for her after time passes. In the past, I have read books by this author which lean more lighthearted, so I didn’t necessarily anticipate all of the emotional moments throughout this novel. That being said, I think the emotional aspect of this novel was very well executed.
On the other hand, this created a lack on tension in the novel. At the beginning of the story, both Macy and Elliot are in relationships. While Elliot quickly ends his relationship, Macy stays engaged. However, Macy’s partner has a very flippant view of the situation. It seemed that he didn’t really care what Macy chose. Besides the major event which originally caused their split, this was the only other major obstacle which kept them apart. Even though the author’s tried to create parallels between Macy’s situation with her partner’s past to make his lack of concern seem understandable, it resulted it in a weak portion of the plot.
Another aspect of the novel which hindered my enjoyment was the ending of the novel. Throughout the story, it hints at a major event which triggered the demise of Macy and Elliot’s relationship. It was a shocking reveal, despite clues sprinkled throughout the story, so I do give kudos to Christen Lauren for planning that aspect of the story. On the other hand, the authors drop a massive emotional event onto readers… just to end the story with a quick resolution that doesn’t match the weight of what they just read. It was hard for me to believe that situation which resulted in eleven years of separation could easily be resolved with one conversation. This created an incredibly disappointing end to the story for me.
Overall, Love & Other Words had some aspects that I enjoyed and appreciated. However, there were some aspects of the novel which I found to be weak. I give this book three and a half out of five stars.