London With Love by Sarra Manning

Recently, I have read a few novels with a similar premise to London, With Love where the main characters seem destined to be together, but the outcome is unknown. Not all writers manage to do this well, but here Sarra Manning has got it just right. I was interested in the story itself, and not obsessed with how it would all end.  

Jen and Nick meet  in 1986 while doing their A levels at Barnet College and become friends (though she does have a bit of a secret crush on him). Over the following nineteen years, they dip in and out of each other’s lives, never quite on the same page, though their mutual attraction is there for all to see.

The story is told entirely from Jen’s point of view, which means we only see Nick through her eyes, never get his perspective, and only find out what is going on in his life on the occasions they bump into each other. Sarra Manning weaves real historical events into the narrative, along with a soundtrack and popular culture references that help to ground the story in time and place.    

The characters are well drawn, even the minor ones, and we see Jen and Nick mature as the story progresses from insecure teenagers to fully functioning but flawed adults. The title is apt, as the author has painted a loving portrait of her home city and its transport system. I am a fan of Sarra Manning’s writing anyway, and I really enjoyed London, With Love. Thanks to Hodder and NetGalley for a digital copy to review.