Julia is a Swedish expat who teaches English in Vienna. Her life consists mainly of working, nights out with a friend she dislikes and evenings in with her cat, Optimus. That is until she meets Ben one day on a park bench. He’s homeless, shoeless and doesn’t smell too good, but she agrees to meet him again and before she knows it they’re dating. But Julia and Ben are complete opposites and Julia never imagined she’d be in a relationship with someone like Ben.
I loved the fact that this book is set in Vienna, and has a different perspective in terms of its setting, culture and its characters. The interactions between Ben and Julia are often fun but I found Julia too judgemental and superior, especially in the final third of the book, in which she comes across as too condescending and hypocritical to be redeeming. I also didn’t really feel a sense of her developing as a person and found the finale rather underwhelming and unromantic. With its quirky characters and unconventional romance, I was hoping this story would blow me away but, sadly, it didn’t. (JC)