“Say You Will” by Kate Perry is a book that I expected to be a trashy romance novel and little else. I am fairly certain that the book was one I got for free and therefore I didn’t expect much of anything from it. Perhaps a bit of entertainment. So it’s easy to say that I went into the book with little to no expectations. I ended up being rather surprised by how much I enjoyed it.
The book “Say You Will” follows Rosalind Summerhill as she returns to England for her father’s funeral. It quickly becomes clear that none of the family believe that the man of the house was a good guy in any sense. Rosalind and her sisters, along with her mother and the housekeeper, all showed this to be their opinion at one point or another. Early on we find out that a large part of Reginald Summerhill’s disappointments in life was that he only had daughters and as such his title was passed onto a distant relative.
Nearly as soon as we discover Rosalind’s distaste for her father we learn that she also was not exactly a doting daughter for her mother either. “At one time, she’d have done anything to connect to her mother, but she’d given up on that dream years ago. You could only beat your head against a stone wall for so long.” (Say You Will, pg 9). I liked this quote because it portrayed well how Rosalind feels about her mother. It wasn’t that she didn’t enjoy her or want to be around her; it was simply that she felt neglected and unwanted by her. In some ways, I think that would be worse. Her mother was certainly a character, that’s for sure. “We haven’t had money in a long time, thanks to Reginald’s poor decisions, but if I have control over everything else, the last laugh is mine, and that’s something, isn’t it?” (Say You Will, pg 25).
Amidst all the family drama that Rosalind finds herself once again immersed in, there is also a new distraction. Rosalind meets Nick and it quickly becomes clear why I thought this would be a trashy romance novel. “Instinct told him to run away, only his feet were going nowhere.” (Say You Will, pg 41). The way that Nick seems to feel about Rosalind right away I rolled my eyes at. As the reader, we know that Nick is being deceptive towards her since his sister Summer, is another of Reginald Summerhill’s daughters. Luckily Nick is adopted; otherwise there would have been a real ick factor there. But nevertheless, we know that Nick is not being truthful with Rosalind from the beginning and the deeper his feelings grow, the more tangled up in his lies he becomes.
While this whole situation is developing, the story goes back and forth with one of Summer’s friends, Em Shepherd. She works as a receptionist at a law firm. One of the guys that works there she has the hots for. Instead of giving into her desires, Em focuses on a guy that she considers to be safe, one she can see herself building a life with. “Just thinking about him gave her a warm feeling, like being wrapped in flannel pajamas and drinking hot chocolate from a mug with a cat on it.” (Say You Will, pg 57). I liked this quote a lot. Because really, it just is the perfect picture of what a crazy cat lady would do. Not someone in love. But that is how Em is. She wants a safe guy. I thought that although Em was an interesting character, she was a bit underdeveloped. We learn her backstory and it makes it clearer why she behaves the way she does…but overall the book wouldn’t have been that much different if she was completely eliminated from the story. I kind of feel like if there is going to be a secondary character to share narration of the story that they should be important. I did not feel like Em fulfilled that.
Overall, I ended up being surprised by how much I enjoyed “Say You Will”. It was predictable, sure. It was right along the boarder of being trashy romance…but I found myself caring about what happened between Rosalind and Nick and what happened with the Summerhill girls in general. I think there were a lot of good thoughts that went into this novel. There was one quote that I enjoyed very much. “She liked having the door opened for her. It was probably very un-feminist of her, but she didn’t care. It had nothing to do with needing someone to help her and everything to do with someone showing he cared for her, the way a mother should care for her child.” (Say You Will, pg 203). This could cause me to go off on a rant… but I’ll just say that there really is nothing wrong with wanting a chivalrous guy around sometimes.
Would I recommend this book? Not to most people, no. I think it was a fun read, but it was my backup book for months. I probably could have read it in a much shorter time period were it my main book, but it never seemed important enough to be considered my main book. So I would read it a few pages at a time and I enjoyed it well enough. I did like the idea of the Summerhill sisters and I believe there are more books revolving around them. But I don’t feel overwhelmingly compelled to get my hands on those books. Kate Perry is an adequate writer, but not one that I will actively seek out in the future.