3.5 to 4 stars
Review request always makes me nervous because you'll never know whether you end up liking or hating the book. This one was quite a surprise.
A Veil of Glass and Rain is simple friends to lovers story. I say simple because we've had a lot of those. And if I may be honest, the friends-to-lovers trope is probably my favorite trope of all. I'm a sucker for those. So I guess it comes as to no surprise that I enjoyed this book very much.
Brina and Eagan are childhood friends. Brina is Italian while Eagan is American. They met through their parents who were best friends with each other. The thing is their parents are very much in love with each of their spouses. They loved each other so much they couldn't stand to be apart from each other. Which is why, Brina's father who is photographer, and her mother couldn't stand to be apart from each other. So basically, Brina was left to fend for herself while her mother accompanies Brina's father on assignments. Poor child.
I mention this because it plays a great deal into Brina's character development and her reaction to her growing feelings for Eagan.
Eagan's parents are the same. The only difference is Eagan has his grandparents and a circle of friends to keep him occupied. Brina has no one except for Eagan. So she becomes quite dependent on him. The meet every summer since they were young and as they grew older, Brina realized that her feelings for Eagan is becoming too intense. In other words, she fell in love. Not having the best example except for her parents' kind of twisted love, she withdrew from Eagan.
He's your typical boy-next-door hero type, although he doesn't really live anywhere next door to Brina but you get my drift. He's the sort of boy that you'd get a crush on in high school. He's sweet, caring, protective, and just overall, a wonderful guy. I totally get why Brina fell in love with her. But he is also just man, and that means, he made mistakes.
Brina is your typical girl. Painfully insecure and so very unsure of herself, and immature. I should say she's your typical poor little rich girl and I felt I should hate her character but I don't. I don't even pity her. In fact, I was kind of rooting for her. There were times in though in book where her actions were just..ugh, plain immature. But then I realized, she's very young barely out of her teens at the beginning of the book and dealing with absentee parents and her feelings for this boy. But she did grow at the end, which was a relief.
This is written in past tense, first person POV. Not my favorite style and I've read a lot of it to know that it can sometimes make or break the book for me. Let me just say that Ms. Bargnardi sort of writes in snapshots. Snapshots of Brina's life in Rome, snapshots of her summer with Eagan, with her parents, her life as a student or some other noteworthy event that that she remembered. It threw me off at first but after a while, it grew on me. It was almost like looking at a photo album or a scrapbook that contains Brina's whole life.
The first time I saw Eagan, it was through a veil of glass and water. I was nine, and he was fourteen. We were at my parent's place. It was raining, and I was playing outside by myself. I was wearing a yellow raincoat and yellow boots. Eagan, his parents and mine were in the kitchen, talking, laughing, probably making tea. I could see them through the kitchen window. Our garden was dotted with small and big puddles. I jumped around them, pretending they were black holes that could capture me, if only I grazed their surface with the tips of my feet.
Another thing is that the book is littered with flashbacks during their life as young kids in Italy. It was hard to keep up but this is only during the first half of the book. The second half pretty much happened in the present, so it was smooth sailing for me there.
Another thing unique about this book is that the story took place mostly in Rome. And Ms. Bagnardi did a wonderful job describing the sound and smell of Rome. Never been there but this book made me want to go to Rome and visit the places mentioned in this book. I loved the part where Brina was driving through the streets of Rome explaining patiently to Eagan about why traffic rules are meant to be broken. I seriously laughed at that one.
I also loved the secondary characters including Clem and the gay twins who essentially became Brina's surrogate family.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. And I would definitely recommend it to those who are looking for a lovely, straightforward friends to lovers story.
*This copy is provided by the author in exchange for an honest review*
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