Eight Perfect Hours by Lia Louis

Returning from a college reunion, where she had been hoping to recover a letter and camera placed in a time capsule by her late friend Daisy, Noelle gets stuck on the motorway in a blizzard. She is having a bit of a meltdown, as her phone has died and she is unable to contact her mum to let her know what is happening, when someone knocks on her window to see if they can help. Sam is an American on his way to the airport, and they keep each other company for Eight Perfect Hours until morning arrives and they are able to continue their journeys. They do not exchange phone numbers, assuming they will never see each other again, but over the next few months their paths keep crossing.

I liked the way the story was put together – it might have seemed a bit contrived in places, but it works. As we only get Noelle’s point of view, the mystery surrounding Sam’s past is only gradually revealed and comes as quite a revelation. Eight Perfect Hours is charming, funny and well written with engaging characters (mostly, not keen on Noelle’s self-absorbed ex), but also highlights some serious issues that give depth to the narrative – her friend is struggling with postnatal depression, Noelle has put her life on hold to care for her mother, and she still feels guilt about her friend’s death fifteen years ago. I chose to read Eight Perfect Hours as I had previously enjoyed Dear Emmie Blue by the same author and was not disappointed – I will definitely be looking out for her next book.