Twelve Hours in Manhattan

She Writes Pr. Apr. 2023. 312p. ISBN 9781647423957. pap. $17.95. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Hearts yearning for love and freedom collide when two strangers meet serendipitously in a Manhattan bar, both looking to escape their stifling lives. Filipina American communications consultant Bianca Maria Curtis is drinking away her financial frustrations when she strikes up a conversation with “Eric,” which turns out to be an alias for Korea’s most acclaimed actor, Park Hyun Min. Eric makes Bianca feel seen, heard, and encouraged as they open up to each other. But when their sleepless 12 hours end as the sun rises, Bianca must face reality back in Jersey City. As she attempts to put her life and herself back together after a tragedy, she holds onto her dreamy night with Eric, until fate brings him back into her life, long enough this time to build something real. In a book drawing on K-dramas and chance encounters with the famous, the main protagonist is endearing, and her backstory offers an emotional jolt. Eric could have had more depth as a character, but Bianca’s other relationships sustain the story as she continuously finds support from her family and friends.
VERDICT Gabriel’s (After Perfect) sophomore novel offers great hope and a grand happy ending.
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