Wales by Jack B on Unsplash: Leave It To Fate by Beth Corby (The Modest Reader)

Book Review: Leave It To Fate

Beth Corby’s debut novel Where There’s A Will was one of my favourite reads from 2019. It was unexpected, heart-warming, and took us on an amazing adventure. When I saw her follow-up story, Leave It To Fate (in stores February 4) was coming soon, I knew I had to read it. I was ready to be taken on another adventure, but this time in a little Welsh village—and I wasn’t disappointed.

Synopsis
When all else fails, you just have to leave it to Fate . . .

Just as twenty-nine-year-old Ella loses her dream job after an unfortunate incident (it was just a bit of hot sauce, for goodness’ sake—he totally overreacted!), her phone rings. Her aunt Gillian, who lives in a tiny mountain village, has had a fall and needs her help. Ella gives in to Fate and agrees to go, looking forward to a few quiet weeks to work out what to do with her car crash of a life.

But as soon as she gets there, she realises it’s not going to be the idyllic break she had hoped for. With Gillian struggling after the recent loss of her partner, Mike, Ella promises herself that she will show Gillian that life is still worth living—and will certainly not be distracted from her new purpose by Joe, Mike’s disconcertingly handsome nephew . . .

Has Fate brought Ella and Gillian together at just the right time for them both? And do her plans extend to Ella’s love life, as well?

My musings
I loved Corby’s Where There’s A Will, but I think I like this one even better. There were twists and turns (and a few mysteries needing to be solved) that I didn’t see coming, and all of the characters were so well developed, I felt like I was visiting this small Welsh village right along with Ella.

There were a lot of characters in this book, if you include everyone who lived in Gillian’s tiny little village, and I felt like I got to know every one of them without having to try too hard. I could almost draw a map of where everyone lived, too, because Corby set it up so nicely. It’s a bit of a slow burn because you’re getting to know everyone and how they’re connected, but I think that gives a bigger payoff at the end. I also appreciated that there is a love story, but it’s not the sole focus of the story—this is truly about Ella and Gillian and how they’re meant to move onto the next chapters of their lives. Sometimes you really do just have to let Fate take the reins when you don’t know what to do next.

My only criticism would be that I wish Joe, the love interest, was fleshed out a little more. While I feel like I got a sense of the villagers—heck, I feel like I even know his sister Petra better, and she’s a very minor character—other than him being good-looking and very helpful-slash-caring, I don’t feel like I know him all that well or why he and Ella fell for each other so quickly. I suspect it had something to do with one of the twists, but I almost feel like if he weren’t part of the story, or if he were just a guy from the town, I wouldn’t have liked the story any less. Though his banter with Gillian is very entertaining.

If you enjoy a story with deep-seated, sometimes complicated, relationships; small-town dynamics; appreciate art and want a little love story mixed with a mystery or two, you won’t want to put this one down. I highly recommend it.

4.5 STARS

Leave It To Fate by Beth Corby (Book Cover): The Modest Reader

“’Is uncharted scary? Is trying something new scary? Is learning what you want and becoming who you want to be scary?’ He pauses significantly. ‘Or is settling for stagnation and a less-than-wonderful life the real nightmare? I guess you have to decide whether what you have now is worth settling for.’” —Beth CorbyLeave It To Fate

Thank you to NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton for the advanced copy, and to Jack B on Unsplash for the featured photo of Wales.

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