Book reviews

To Sir, With Love by Lauren Layne

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Before I go into the details of this book, let me just say that, for me, this one wins in terms of humorous, witty banter and has the kilig factor I often enjoy in romcom novels. It is my first time reading a book by author Lauren Layne, and it’s like discovering hidden treasure in the guise of a very engaging author.

To Sir, With Love tells the interesting but complicated romance story–both online and in real life–between Gracie Cooper and Sebastian Andrews. Gracie Cooper, as the middle child, is the family’s stronghold–mediating sibling misunderstandings, always making sure everyone is well taken care of, not disappointing their parents, etc. She’s always ensured that the family stayed together, even after their mother passed away. However, at the time she finally decided to pursue formal education in art–her life’s only passion, news of her father’s cancer led her to managing the family champagne business instead. Her older sister got away from the responsibility by way of marriage, whereas her younger brother–impulsive as he is, suddenly moved out of state. So, being the only one left, that means no more art school for Gracie, and it’s now all about keeping the family’s legacy alive.

Sebastian is a scion of a wealthy real estate family business. From the outset, we are informed that Sebastian needed to get the Coopers out of their existing lease–which still has at least five years left. This has Sebastian sending numerous business correspondence to Bubblesthe Cooper establishment, which Gracie would eventually ignore, or worse, put in the shredder. Running out of patience and with no other means to communicate, Sebastian attempts to bring the letter to Gracie in person. But before this sour encounter, the two would first have their meet-cute moment at the sidewalk on Gracie’s way to the family store, all because a twenty-dollar bill decided to let loose. It’s a good meet-cute scene, to be honest, until we are introduced to Genevieve–Sebastian’s girlfriend.

What everyone else does not know yet is that Gracie has an online friend–well, a crush by the name of Sir. Sir has been forced by his friends to sign up for a dating site called MysteryMate. Not really looking to dating anyone, Sir is upfront in saying he’s taken, and has explained the circumstances of his being on a dating site. But Gracie (aka Lady) and Sir clicked. They were communicating as friends, and have been exchanging messages for quite some time now. Never really knowing how the other looks like, as the dating site focuses more on messaging rather than sharing photos or other forms of media, Lady and Sir have never met but have shared meaningful conversations. So much so that Gracie’s correspondence with Sir has become a highlight of her day, and in turn, slowly develops feelings for this mystery man.

I don’t know if I should talk more about Lady and Sir‘s exchanges, but I absolutely love their banter. It’s supposed to mirror how people of the olden times communicate, but there’s that sense of anticipation you can feel when you read through the texts. It’s one of the reasons why I say this one wins in terms of dialogue. Well, the storyline would eventually become a struggle between Gracie and Sebastian and Sir–a love triangle of sorts, which shows a dichotomy between fantasy and reality. I absolutely think this read would be relatable to everyone because of the online aspect. We may not all be on dating sites, but we can infer how these online relationships go. Also, it’s ironic that Lady and Sir are using up-to-date technology to get to know each other, but insists on formalities in speech. I think it’s adorable.

I give this book 4 stars. Almost every part of this novel is engaging, humorous, and relatable. To be honest, I’m supposed to focus on my preparations for an interview I’m having today, but it’s simply difficult to let this one go. I find myself reading bit by bit, and when the scenes get too interesting, I just try to read through it faster so that I can finish and then go back to doing other things. I would rate it higher–like my other instant favorites–but I’m not really solved with the ending. It’s still good, with fairytale kind of feels, but I was hoping that the author highlights more of the reality than the fantasy–since that was one of the major dilemmas. Also, I would have shortened the final reveal, just to give a more realistic sense to the storyline’s conflict resolution.

Well, other than that, I love this read. It would melt my heart to have Sebastian’s point of view in the narration, simply because I think we don’t see a lot of his genuine emotions. It’s sometimes distant, but I guess sufficient. I still like his character a lot though.

Anyway, I’m writing this right after my interview, so apologies if my thoughts aren’t really in order. Or if it seems my emotions are rattled in writing, haha. But what better way to let your mind off things but a good read, right? 🙂

  • Title: To Sir, With Love
  • Author: Lauren Layne
  • Year published: 2021
  • Publisher: Gallery Books
  • Total number of pages: 288
  • ISBN-13: 978-1-982-15281-9

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