Bird After Bird, Leslea Tash
Published April 6, 2014 by Fido Publishing
Dear Birdy, Princess Birdzilla von MuffinStuff, Keeper of Dreams, Lover of our Fine Feathered Friends, queen of my life and light of my world, I hope this letter finds you well. If you are reading this then I am gone, and sweetheart, I am so sorry.
Chi-town professional Wren Riley is 25 and a rising star in the business world. She can eat a man alive and laugh about it to her girlfriends in seconds flat–and she does, on the regular. Behind the power suits and the flashing, flirty eyes, however, Wren has a secret, vulnerable side. Following a devastating loss and the discovery of a bird journal she and her father made together years before, Wren sets out to seek peace, closure, and something she just can’t name. Is that something tied to the little paper cranes she keeps finding along the way?
Laurence Byrd grew up a lanky Hoosier kid with the good/bad fortune of having the same name as the state’s perennial basketball legend. With a better affinity for dogs than sports or school, he ends up in the Army instead of the Chicago art school of his dreams. Still, his service to our country is something he can be proud of–until an argument with the girl who means the world to him results in a series of events that blows his life apart. With no one left to understand him, black sheep Laurie pours out his heart into letters and drawings he never intends to send–then he folds them into paper cranes that he leaves behind like messages in little winged bottles. He never dreams someone might be finding them.
God damn it, Sylvia, for a few moments I tricked myself into feeling really alive. I cut it off before anyone got hurt, but just for a moment or two, I really thought I might feel something again–something like trust. Something like love. Not the kind of love we had, but something new. Something like hope.
Spoiler alert: Wren and Laurie are going to meet. And when they do, their lives are never going to be the same.
Thank you Fido Publishing and NetGalley for this advanced read copy in exchange for an honest review.
We meet Wren Riley visiting her hometown a year after her father’s death. She’s just read a letter her dad wrote her knowing he was dying, so she’s understandably a mess. Wren stops to try to freshen up after the letter and meets Laurie for the first time. I thought the meeting was cute and I liked the potential Wren and Laurie sparked in this brief time they spent together.
Sadly, that is mostly what I liked about this romance, the potential. I liked Wren and Laurie individually, but it seemed to me that Tash put too much into Laurie as a character and not enough into Wren. Why is Wren known as a maneater? I’d have rather read those details then the details of the business deal she put together. Or in the end I’d have like to see Wren’s choices fleshed out more rather than just a vague plan. I loved the letters from her dad and her plan to redo their birding trip-where was the rest of that?
Then we have Laurie, poor Laurie. He has PTSD, his fiance and dog died, his mom is abusive, he didn’t get into art school, he’s in therapy with a lesbian nun and his best friend is a redneck. He sounds like a country song! His letters to Sylvia, the dead fiance, are very sweet as are his origami cranes. I wish there had been more focus on one or two aspects of Laurie’s life rather than a laundry list of issues.
Some of the scenes with Laurie and Wren were very sweet and touching, but some of the dialog was off for me. Laurie visits with the parents of his deceased fiance and finds her father proudly offering him lemonade made with a recipe from Pinterest. I really can’t imagine any of the men I know bragging about Pinterest finds! Some of the language was too old-fashioned-i.e. Wren calling out “Ladies and gents!” Some just wrong for the character in my mind, i.e. Laurie talking to his dog “You blasted mutt!” This was just awkward in the flow of my reading.
Parts of this book were really sweet and I did really like Laurie and Wren together in the end. This was a cute read, but for me just took too long to get to where it needed to go.