This post contains a gifted item. All thoughts are my own.
Every time I open a new Paige Toon book, it’s as if I am enveloped in a familiar warmth and it was no different this time around, so today I a sharing my review of The Minute I Saw You. I read one of Paige’s books every year as they come out, usually on a summer holiday, so it was lovely to have that little slice of normality in this very unusual time. I’m actually participating in the Bookstagram tour with Kaleidoscopic Tours, so there was no obligation to write a review, but I just bloody loved this book and wanted to write about it straight away. I only finished it last night!
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd
Genre: Adult contemporary
Length: 432 pages
Source: Gifted by the publisher
Affiliate Links: Book Depository
Spice Rating: 🌶🌶
Some people believe that it’s possible to fall in love simply by gazing into another person’s eyes . . .
When Hannah meets Sonny, she’s irresistibly drawn to him- he’s sexy and confident, but only in town on holiday. That’s fine with Hannah – she doesn’t do long-term relationships. And luckily for her, neither does Sonny.
But as summer hots up and their chemistry shows no signs of cooling, they start to question their reasons for shutting each other out. Are they both too broken to find love? And if they tear down the walls between them, will they still like what’s on the other side?
Content warnings: suicide, child sexual abuse, drug use, addiction, sex as a coping mechanism, death of a sibling, mental health and counselling
In a few words:
A beautifully heartbreaking romance, reminiscent of summer days in the British sun with lots of heart and electric chemistry
I loved our two main characters from the very beginning of the story, with Sonny, a photographer with a cheeky and engaging nature and Hannah, a dispensing optician with a friendly and relatable demeanour. We are introduced to the pair right away, and from their first interaction the chemistry really was off the charts, but it was also clear to see that they both dealing with events from their past. Hannah has an injury we are told is as a result of a car accident when she was younger, while Sonny is visibly struggling too and is seeing a counsellor.
The two characters were so well developed and three dimensional that sometimes I forgot I was reading about fictional characters and not real people. I’ve found that this is a common occurrence in Paige’s books and really helps to pull you into the story.
“It’s odd. We barely know each other, but it doesn’t feel like that. It’s as though something between us has clicked into place. I think it’s the same for him.“
Paige has this wonderful ability to create romantic and gleeful moments out of the ordinary. I wish my eye tests were like the one Hannah gives Sonny – it was such a wonderful meet cute and so original!
This talent of Paige’s also extends to exceptional world building. It was so easy to visualise the entire story; it was as if I were strolling around Cambridge and walking through orchards with them. In fact, I am now desperate to visit a small village like the one in this story, hopefully during a rare English summer.
“The air is warm and smells of cow parsley – the tall wildflowers are crowded together under the shaded bushes and fruit trees, the scent of the white umbrella-shaped blooms bringing back memories of summer.“
Something I really enjoyed about this story, was how the two first seek a friendship with one another. Don’t get me wrong, the tension between Sonny and Hannah was palpable, but the two build a strong friendship which I always think makes the romance that much more powerful. I mean, friends to lovers is one of the best tropes!
Sonny has vowed to take a period of abstinence to work on himself, confront his past and also better his relationships with women, while Hannah does not have an interest in long term relationships as she feels too vulnerable to open herself up in that way.
While secrets and hidden pasts did account for a lot of this book, which obviously I can’t go into because of spoilers, it didn’t stop Sonny and Hannah being upfront about a lot of other things. I enjoyed the open communication between the two, and their clear respect for one another.
“Your differences are what make you unique. They’re what make you you… Your differences are your truth.”
Not only did this book feature a romantic relationship, friendship was also a huge part of this story. While in the beginning Hannah feels a little on the outside, due to growing up being homeschooled and almost ostracised from society, I definitely got found family vibes here. The side characters were well fleshed out and really added value to the story, rather than existing simply to propel the main characters forward. Throughout the story the characters open up a lot to one another, forming such strong bonds which I found really heartwarming.
We find out early on that Sonny is a dad to two young twins, and the way his relationship with them evolves throughout the story is so lovely. Hannah’s interactions with the family and the way she interacts with the twins made me so happy; she was such a natural!
“Anyone who loved you wouldn’t make you feel like that. I wouldn’t make you feel like that.”
While The Minute I Saw You was packed with soft and heartfelt moments, it was also hot. In fact I’m pretty sure this is one of the steamiest Paige Toon books I’ve read, and I’m fairly certain I’ve read them all! Let me just mention two scenes: eye-contact and aftershave. If you read it, you’ll know what I mean. Personally I would have enjoyed things to be that bit smuttier, but that’s just my preference, it’s still a hot read with a super slow burn regardless!
There were plenty of happy and laugh out loud moments in the story, but please know going in that this book gets very deep. As mentioned above, there are lots of content warnings needed and some quite frank discussions. There is an exploration of how grief and trauma can affect relationships with friends, family and potential partners, and Sonny and Hannah are both dealing with some serious issues from their past.
The Minute I Saw You also tackled subjects such as homelessness and how those without a fixed address struggle to receive basic care such as eye tests, and I was pleased to see how Sonny and Hannah discuss these issues and how they plan to help and raise awareness.
“He places one hand over my heart. You are more beautiful to me than anyone else has ever been or ever will be. I need you to know that.“
I devoured this book in around five hours in one sitting; once I picked it up I honestly couldn’t put it down. The secrets made me want to keep reading, sure, but I was honestly more invested in the couple and their growth throughout the book. I love how much they loved one another.
Thank you so much for reading my review of The Minute I Saw You by Paige Toon, this was a bit longer than I anticipated. Huge thanks to Kaleidoscopic Tours and Simon and Schuster for providing me with a copy of this book, though I definitely would have bought one myself anyway!
The Minute I Saw You was the perfect Summer romance, a rollercoaster of a read and a piece of escapism that made my heart feel full, my belly full of butterflies and my head longing for more feel good romance.
If you like the sound of that, you may fancy these!
The One We Fell in Love With by Paige Toon
The story of three sisters who all fall in love with one man, Angus, all at very different stages of their lives.
(This one made me ugly cry lying by a pool on holiday.)
The Last Piece of My Heart by Paige Toon
Bridget, a successful journalist, accepts a proposition to complete a novel after the bestselling author passes away. As she starts to understand the woman behind the writing, she also gets to know the family she left behind.