Jacke Lodenius comes to the park to de-stress from the brutal demands of his work as a bricklayer. He’s found a space that’s relatively hidden away and it’s calm and quiet. And if Jacke’s lucky, he gets to see the charming and sweet David Boman walking his elderly neighbor’s dog.
David would love to have a dog of his own, but with his long hours as a hotel manager, an animal isn’t a good fit for his life. Walking a close friend’s dog helps fill the void and Princess is a character unto herself. It doesn’t hurt that he gets to see Jacke and that Jacke seems to like David in return.
Casual conversation eventually leads to a date and as Jacke and David learn more about one another, their mutual attraction grows. But only time will tell if their chance meeting in the park will evolve into something lasting or fizzle out before it has a chance to begin.
They Met in the Park falls into the short and sweet category and, while it isn’t a perfect read, it offers a charming couple and a relaxed romance.
My issue with novellas is that often there isn’t the time to learn much about the characters. But Nell Iris has done a good job of ushering David and Jacke through the “getting to know you” phase with casual conversations and a laid back narrative. We don’t learn every single thing about them, of course, but I feel like as a reader I was given enough information to find them relatable. Both men are kind and gentle with one another and, while the passion is there, it’s subtle and this isn’t a romance where getting into each others pants is ever more important than building a relationship.
There are a couple of times where the pacing lags a bit; it’s never for more than a page or two, but given the short length of They Met in the Park, it was odd to have these occasional blips. Additionally, there is an epilogue that some readers may appreciate, but I personally thought was a bit pointless. I would have preferred the story end without an epilogue as the information seemed wedged in and didn’t significantly forward David and Jackie’s story.
If you’re looking for a quick, relaxed read, then They Met in the Park is probably going to be a good fit. There’s some decent relationship development and a pair of sweet, but not saccharine characters. The book has a few minor issues, but nothing that will derail most readers’ enjoyment. This is perfect for a beach read or as something to unwind with at the end of a long day.