I picked this up on a whim on my last trip to the library. I don’t tend to read romances, and both the title and the blurb (which refers to the two main characters falling in love at first sight) make it sound like it is a romantic novel and therefore not my usual reading matter. The review quotes are what made me pick it up and I’m glad I did.
It is a romantic novel, of course, there’s no escaping that. However, Shields subverts this by having the protagonists not even meeting until halfway through the novel, although Shields keeps teasing the reader by casually mentioning connections and mutual acquaintances between them. Tom is a thrice-divorced late night radio DJ and Fay has an even more unusual job – she works for a folklore centre where she studies mermaids. I felt that this made the characters slightly harder to relate to than people who do ordinary jobs, but that’s not a big quibble as the characterisation is good throughout.
Oddly, I think I actually prefered the first half of the book, before Tom and Fay meet. It’s interesting seeing the build-up and how their past relationships and experiences have impacted on them.