Author: Jule Meeringa, (German –>English Translation by Terry Laster)
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Rating: 1 Star
Between raising her seven-year-old daughter and maintaining her job, single mom Nele needs a break. When friends offer to take her daughter, Paula, on vacation with them, it’s the perfect opportunity for Nele to have an adventure of her own.
Nele’s track record with men is bleak, so when she goes on a North Sea getaway, the last thing she expects is romance. But that’s what she finds in the beguiling Mathis, a man twenty-five years her senior. Like Nele, Mathis longs to break free from the ordinary. But are their circumstances too complicated to allow a future together? Nele has her doubts—especially after she returns home to find that her ex, a handsome doctor, is back and ready to settle down.
Now Nele faces a choice, between two different men and two very different lives. Which is the path to her future—and her truest self?
WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW
Did. Not. Finish. I desperately wanted to like this book. I’m a tried and true romance reader at heart, and so when I got a copy of Sea Air by Jule Meeringa, I had decent expectations that I was going to like the story, even if the synopsis wasn’t entirely right up my alley. Let’s be honest, I’m not a huge fan of massive age gaps in couples. It’s not that I’m inherently against age gaps… my own parents were nearly 10 years apart in age… but 25 years is an exceedingly large age gap. That’s like a guy dating someone his daughter’s age.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get far enough into the story to base my dislike of the book on the age gap. You see, Sea Air was originally written in the German language—and I’m sure that written in it’s native language, it is quite well done—but, somewhere in translation the heart of the narrative got lost. The text is incredibly dry. It lacks the engaging quality that I often search for in books, the quality that makes me want to continue reading. By the end of the first chapter, It was already beginning to drag. It felt as if the life of the character’s narrative had been sucked out and only sentence structure remained. I’ll go ahead and say it—it was boring.
To make matters worse, Nele and Mathis lacked chemistry. Other than the fact that Nele was interested in Mathis’ life story, the first few days she met him didn’t indicate any romance at all. Mathis was a mysterious, quirky, older guy with children, and as he indicated to Nele, a wife. He talked about himself in third-person. Nele was hardly better. She seemed to lack any obvious connection to her own daughter—it was as if they were strangers—and within 24 hours of meeting Mathis, was asking this complete stranger if she could rest her head in his lap. This is the point at which I threw in the towel.
I have a feeling that a lot of what made this book good was lost in translation, and it’s unfortunate. I just couldn’t push myself to read anymore. I wasn’t engaged, and there came a point where I just couldn’t push myself to read any more. There may be someone out there who will like this book more than I did—particularly if you’re from Germany and can maybe pick up on some of the familiar nuances of their social interaction… but it wasn’t for me.