Publication Date: January 12, 2015
In A Groovy Kind of Love by Karen Wojcik Berner, Thaddeus and Spring grow up in very different worlds. Their paths converged when they became part of the same book discussion group. Can these very different people make an attraction a life together that works? A Groovy Kind of Love is the third book in The Bibliophiles series.
The author, Karen Wojcik Berner, gave me a copy of this novel in exchange for my review.
A Groovy Kind of Love is a sweet part character study and part contemporary romance. Told in a very easy style we get to first know Thaddeus and then Spring and then the two of them together. The tone is detached and there are few fireworks and the emotional hits when they come are not manipulative in any way. They are crafted in the nature of such is life. Not all moments are ups; there must be a balance of downs to round the characters.
We first meet Thaddeus as a five-year-old on his trip to get the library card that would spark a lifelong love of reading. In life’s dark moments, we see young Thaddeus grow through his experiences. He’s a fairly talented baseball pitcher and his father is the coach so he plays the sport though he hates it. Young Thaddeus’ first relationship with an amorous girl that he knew from school. The fleeting willingness to be called “Thad.” His relationship with his mom is very supportive and his relationship with his father is strained, as neither man knows how to relate to a person without shared interests. There’s familial pressure when Thaddeus goes to college, but he doesn’t seem to, in any way, resent their direction. Readers get the impression that Thaddeus is a nice guy that feels things deeply.
Spring was conceived in a concert venue and raised by hippie parents. She seems to have gone through much of life unsure of her parent’s lifestyle and conforms by default to societal pressure. Spring is a several years younger than Thaddeus and we get less of her life story but what Berner writes is defining. Spring has a special friendship with a classmate named Josh and they made a pact that they will marry if neither one of them were married by the time Josh was 35.
Spring flows through her story and when she becomes involved with Thaddeus, the connection is natural. They start seeing each other and just don’t stop. As this is a romance novel, the start of their relationship is not a surprise but every relationship is fraught with difficulty. Both characters are very real people and they naturally have authentic insecurities.
In A Groovy Kind of Love, Berner gives us two very likable characters in an intelligent storyline. In the brief book group meetings, there is a feeling of really stepping into a cozy space. I would love to belong to such a group experiencing literature in unique ways and arguing passionately about authors (is Jane Austen only for women? You decide).
Technically, A Groovy Kind of Love is a masterpiece. The tone is easy, the flow smooth and the editing flawless. Creatively, the story was beautiful. There was a point in which Thaddeus writes a letter and while I rarely tear up while reading, the tears fell. It was simply that beautiful as was the unity of emotion with which moves were made. One of the characters in the novel mentions having had a pint was Maeve Binchy on a visit by the author to Chicago and the moment sang with self-awareness by the author of her likeness in spirit to the iconic late author.
There are moments I found to be a bit much. Josh’s insertion into the modern story line feels like something that will have a greater impact in later books, but in this book, he felt unnecessary. There were moments in the later part of the work that were belabored.
Overall, A Groovy Kind of Love is a beautiful contemporary romance. If you like character pieces or romance, pick this one up today.
If this sounds like a book for you, read an excerpt and buy A Groovy Kind of Love by Karen Wojcik Berner on