When I’m thinking back to books that I enjoyed that take place at certain events over a long period of time, I immediately think of One Day by David Nicholls, which was really well done (and turned into a pretty good movie, too), so when I saw Ten Years by Pernille Hughes, I was definitely intrigued. Add in an enemies-to-lovers trope and a posthumous mission or bucket list to be had, and there was no way I wouldn’t read this book.
Becca and Charlie have known each other for years—ever since they met at university.
And for every one of those years, they’ve bickered, argued, offended, mocked, and generally rubbed each other up the wrong way.
Until now. Until Ally’s bucket list. The death of their loved one should mean Becca and Charlie can go their separate ways and not look back. But completing the list is something neither Charlie nor Becca can walk away from. And sometimes, those who bring out the worst in you, also bring out the very best…
Over ten years, Becca and Charlie’s paths collide as they deal with grief, love and life after Ally.
I really enjoyed how this book tackled grief. You got two points of view (the best friend and the fiancé), and you see how two people who loved the same person intensely could be polar opposites in how they processed their friend’s death. In that way, the book felt real and raw. I loved how, throughout the ten years, you can see how your opinion on someone can shift and change, ebb and flow as you continue through grieving—because, let’s face it, you never really stop—and that was something that I don’t often read in the type of fiction I’m drawn to. It was heavier than what I usually read, but it wasn’t heavy in the way that it brought me down.
I wish I could say I loved the main characters, though. Or any of the characters, really. Becca is immature and selfish—and though she does get her life more together throughout the book, everything seemed kind of flukey and unbelievable. I liked Charlie a bit more, though his serial monogamy meant we didn’t really get an insight into who he was without a woman on his arm. Though I generally love the enemies-to-lovers trope, and I did get the impression Becca and Charlie were getting more fond of each other as time went on, I didn’t find their connection authentic. Other than the fact that they loved Ally and both needed to find a particular type of person to help them get their lives together, I’m not sure how they worked. And don’t even get me started on the epilogue. The author throws a twist in that I wasn’t asking for or needed and, quite honestly, tarnished the story for me a little bit. I probably would have given it a higher rating if that last chapter wasn’t in there.
I will say that I loved the bucket list part of the story and thought that it ended way too soon. I wanted Ally to send Becca and Charlie on so many more adventures because that’s when we got the best bits of plot, I think.
For a story that was listed as a romance, there really wasn’t enough romance for me, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth a read. If anything, how Hughes handles grief and moving on is really touching—and maybe that’s how we should position the genre and the messaging.
“For Ally, Becca reckoned they could manage it; they’d meet, complete the task and depart again. Bish bash bosh. Simples. They were grown-ups, they could be reasonable, and they had a fairly accepted code of engagement. So really, how wrong could this go?” —Pernille Hughes, Ten Years
Thank you to NetGalley and HarperCollins UK for the advanced copy and Asap Rocky on Unsplash for the featured photo.