London Belongs to Me

By Jacquelyn Middleton

Many of us dream of living in London one day.  I love spending time in London and since my annual pilgrimage was cancelled due to COVID, I had a particular longing to read something that would pull me into the fibers of this historic yet cosmopolitan city.  London Belongs To Me by Jacquelyn Middleton did the trick.  I must say that I was engrossed in this piece of chick lit not because the story was that engaging, rather, Ms. Middleton seems to spend a lot of time in the same neighborhoods that I do when I travel to London. In particular, the author focused on the shops, theater, and restaurants (down to the neighborhood Pret-a-Manger) in or near Sloane Square which I consider my second home.  I could envision myself walking through the same shops located in the central square as well as the high-end designer clothing stores on Sloan Street.

The story is about Alex Sinclair, an American from Florida who flees to London to jumpstart her playwriting career upon graduation from college.  As we see with most chick lit, Alex is starting anew after her college boyfriend cheats with – you guessed it—Alex’s best friend.  I don’t mind the boiler plate plotline because that is what I expect from chick lit.  However, the author tries to bring some depth to Alex by building in panic attacks which help make the character more realistic.  However, the author also makes Alex extremely indecisive and a bit passive aggressive and the reader (along with the character’s friends) get a little annoyed with Alex’s second-guessing and lack of confidence from time to time.

Given that Alex is trying to become a playwright, I would have appreciated a deeper glimpse into the theater ecosystem, but Ms. Middleton doesn’t go deep enough to satisfy a theater lover like me.  Regardless, I kept turning the pages to see which London neighborhood or tourist spot would appear next and that was gratifying enough.  London Belongs To Me gave me the right dose of London medicine…down to the mention of Boots Pharmacy.  Yes, London Belongs To Me – too!

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