The Note by Zoe Folbigg

When it comes to my YouTube habits, I'm pretty terrible. I'm the type of person to get sucked into a rabbit hole after watching a video that pops up randomly in my recommendations. Recently, the rabbit hole I've been getting sucked deeper and deeper into is clips from This Morning, the UK magazine programme that's aired in the mornings. I'm just obsessed with listening to the true life stories and hearing the interviews, and it was in one of those videos where I found out about this book. I love a good romance story, so after hearing Zoe Folbigg talking about the novel and the true story behind it, I just had to buy it!

One very ordinary day, Maya Flowers sees a new commuter board her train to London, and suddenly the day isn't ordinary at all. Maya knows immediately and irrevocably that he is The One.
Every day they go through the same routine; he with his head in a book and her dreaming of their happily-ever-after. But eventually, Maya plucks up the courage to give Train Man a note asking him out for a drink.
And so begins a story of sliding doors, missed opportunities and finding happiness where you least expect it. Based on the true story that everyone is talking about, The Note is an uplifting, life-affirming reminder that taking a chance can change everything...
As the blurb would suggest, this story follows Maya Flowers, fashion extraordinaire, as she falls in love with, but can never quite meet, a man on the train. There isn't much more to it than that really. You just follow the near misses and escapades that they separately get up to, and while that may sound kind of boring, I thoroughly enjoyed it! For a debut book, I thought it was pretty great.

I really liked the character of Maya, which seems to go against a lot of people on GoodReads, but I don't know, there was something about her I really liked. She was kind of the opposite of Robin Wilde from Louise Pentland's book in the way that she picked herself up after a fall and didn't mope around all the time. Like, yes, she is kind of aware that she won't meet Train Man (or will she?) and is sad about it, but instead of being all 'woe is me', she goes on dates and meets new people, which was really lovely to see. I also loved the sense of camaraderie that she had with the work girls and stood up for them when they were being picked on - again, quite the opposite of jealous and bitter Robin Wilde. So yes, I really liked Maya and I was rooting for her the whole way through the book. The only thing that I didn't like was that the book was written in third person, so we never got to see inside Maya's mind and find out her true feelings. Everything was told from an outsiders perspective and it would've been nice to hear from the lady herself.

In terms of other characters, I thought James was ok. He definitely sounded like a dreamboat, but for me, there wasn't that much personality there. Again, this could be tackled by having a first person view, but the third person narrative left a lot to be desired from him. If I'm honest, I can't really pin point any of the other characters that stood out to me and, in a way, that's not too much of a bad thing. There are a lot of characters in this book, some of which are there for no reason and I can't remember the names of, but some provide little turning points and pivotal moments for the story, and that's all they do, so there isn't much to them, if that makes sense? Like Olivia. She plays a part in the work drama, which ultimately leads to Maya making a decision about her job, but we don't find out much else about her.
The true gem for this book though, in my opinion, was the narrative style. I loved that the chapters jumped to different people to show where they were during a moment in Maya's life or what they were doing. It made the story a lot more interesting and allowed me to piece together a little timeline in my head. I also loved the introduction of Simon and Catherine (who I hated, by the way. I wanted their relationship to burn) and they left me guessing as to who they were and why they were relevant to the story. When I finally pieced it together, I was amazed! This style is something that really kept me hooked and made for compelling story progression.

This book also made me want to work in fashion, even though I know nothing about it. I'd love to know how much of the retelling of FASH is true, but all the descriptions of the clothes and the jobs that people do in Maya's department... it made me really want to go have a look around the offices! As someone that enjoys creating content and has a back catalogue of copywriting experience, it was so cool to see it in a fashion setting. Again, I don't know how much of what was written was true, but it put me into a career mindset for a little while, which is something I've never had while reading a novel.

So even though the writing was a little clunky in places and some scenes were a bit longer than needed, I really enjoyed this book. It's a good holiday read and you could easily get through it in a week whilst lounging by the pool. There's nothing difficult about it or any complicated ideas that you need to understand. It's just a romancey chick lit with enough twists to keep you hooked. It's very cutesy and soppy, so it's ideal for those people that love sinking their teeth into a lovey-dovey drama. It's got a lot of characters to keep you on your toes and a true story behind it that will leave you floored (seriously, how does one person have all these things happen to her?) It's not something that I think will become a classic, but it's a solid 3.5 stars from me!

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  1. I got this book for Christmas and really enjoyed reading it too! Like you said it's quite a straightforward story line but the characters and view points are what keeps the readers interested x

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