3 out of 4 stars
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The Time We Have begins with Lea’s story on Christmas Eve. Having lost her mother as a young child, she also lost her dad five years ago. She shoulders so much responsibility with school and a part-time job at Hal’s Diner (to help out financially while living with her Aunt Helen). This evening, as she climbs the steps to her apartment, she is overcome with cherished memories and grief. As the overwhelming sense of loss hits her head on, she sits down on one of the steps and lets the tears fall.
Across the street, Matt looks out his window and sees her. His concern for her is piqued, and he walks across the snow-laden street to check on her. While they have rarely spoken outside of a few classes, Matt consoles her. As a spur of the moment idea, he invites her to join him for dinner. Dinner turns into a long walk along the shore. When they accidentally bump into one another the following day (Christmas) they end up spending it together as well.
Soon they begin to realize that they have much in common and enjoy each other’s company immensely. But they are both from such different worlds. Lea is a shy and thoughtful girl, and Matt is the outgoing and popular kid at school. Will their relationship be able to survive as they resume classes and try to mesh their very different lives? And what about the life-altering secret that one of them will soon learn? How will this devastating knowledge affect the two of them?
I loved the casual way the author built the conversations and the relationship between the two main characters. Their words flowed effortlessly, and I found myself immersed in their witty and thought-provoking dialog. I particularly enjoyed their discussions of books they had read (mostly the classics) and their interpretations and thoughts regarding them. Lea and Matt’s conversations, ideas, and actions were all consistent with many adults their age, making the characters relatable. Readers will quickly become acquainted with this young couple and cheer for them to work through any issues to stay together. The secondary characters were also thoughtfully portrayed- especially Sarah (Lea’s best friend) and Aunt Helen. Readers will feel the concern that both of these ladies have for Lea, as she tentatively embarks on her first love.
Against a backdrop of romance, the author weaves themes of love, friendship, loss, and grief. Madhur most assuredly did not hold back on emotion as she penned this poignant story. Stopping to replenish my Kleenex supply was the only reason I found to put this book down. At the noted 244 pages, this story is not a long read. I could find nothing to dislike about this novel. Unfortunately, since I did discover more than ten errors, I am obligated to deduct from the rating. However, these errors did not at all detract from my enjoyment in reading this book.
Given the reasons noted, I award The Time We Have by Aastha Madhur 3 out of 4 stars. This exquisite novel will appeal to anyone who is a fan of the contemporary romance genre. And, because there is no violence or sexual content, this story will also be appropriate for younger readers. Those not into romance may want to avoid this one. It is my pleasure to recommend this beautiful love story!
The time we have
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