HarperCollins | 2022 (17 March) | 448p | review copy | Buy the book
A misfired, mistyped, angry email from Nick to Bee – not at all the person who was supposed to be on the receiving end – is to change both their lives. Not instantly and not with great shifts of the ground beneath their feet, but slowly and gently. Bee is amused by Nick’s grumpy email (he’s a ghost writer who hasn’t been paid on time) and his self-deprecating humour while Nick falls for Bee, with her strange business of repurposing wedding dresses and her dire blind dates. They slowly get to know one another, purely online, using each other as a way to talk through some quite difficult situations in their lives. They have friends but in many ways they are isolated. Finally comes the time when Bee and Nick are ready to meet in person, under the clock in Euston Station, but, from that moment, the truth begins to dawn and it is impossible.
I love Sarah Lotz’ books. They’re unusual, very clever, frightening in some ways and not a little quirky. I like that. With Impossible, the author returns to the top form of The Three and Day Four, two books I cannot recommend highly enough, and which deserve a re-read. In those novels Sarah Lotz played with the horror genre. This time, romance gets its speculative and curious makeover.
This is a romance but not as we know it. Much of it is conducted by email at a distance, with the narrative alternating between Bee and Nick as they go about their lives while emailing amusing updates to their ‘penpal’. This means the reader gets to laugh but there is also sadness as we get to know the other people in their lives, especially Nick’s stepson Daniel. But all this leads up to where the novel is going and I am not going to say a word about that at all! I hadn’t read a review of Impossible before I read it and that did help but I do want to write this to urge you to dive in. If you don’t read romance normally then this is the romance for you and if you do read it then you will also fall in love with it.
Impossible is clever, sharp, warm, witty and original, as well as being fabulously written. It has the appeal of epistolary novels such as 84 Charing Cross Road while being very different. But, at the heart of it, lies a slowly and beautifully developing love affair between two immensely likeable human beings. It did me good to read it.