Review: Meant To Be by Emily Giffin

☆☆➹⁀☆ 3 stars☆➹⁀☆☆

About the Book:

The Kingsley family is practically American royalty, beloved for their military heroics, political service, and unmatched elegance. When Joseph S. Kingsley III is born in 1960, he inherits the weight of that legacy. Growing up with all the Kingsley looks and charisma, Joe should have no problem taking up the mantle after his father’s untimely death. But he is also a little bit reckless, and can’t seem to figure out how to channel the expectations of an entire country.

No one ever expected anything of Cate, on the other hand. She, too, grew up in a single-parent household—just her and her mom scraping by in their small apartment. As a teenager, though, Cate is discovered for her looks. Modeling may be her only ticket out of the cycle of disappointment that her mother has always inhabited. Before too long, her face is everywhere, though she is always aware that she’d be a pariah in her social circles if anyone knew her true story.

When Joe and Cate’s paths cross, their connection is instant. What remains to be seen is whether their relationship will survive the glare of the spotlight that follows Joe everywhere. And just as they find themselves in the make-or-break moment, the tragedy that seems to run in Joe’s family right alongside all that privilege will repeat itself.



My Thoughts:

I was drawn to Emily Giffin’s Meant To Be by its cover and the obvious tie to the JFK Jr. story. It was easy to romanticize the beautiful couple, and given the author’s interest in JFK Jr. and Carolyn Bessette’s story, I wasn’t the only one who was intrigued by them.

The story is told in a linear time line by the two main characters, Joe and Cate. The chapters alternate between their perspectives, and often they retell the same scene. I know this is not an unusual story format, but I’ve never cared for re-reading the same scene twice. While I was attracted to the premise of the story, the execution didn’t grab me as I anticipated. The characters felt two dimensional, and neither gave me a reason to fall in love with their story. 

Ms. Giffin’s research of the era and her inspiration is evident. Her reimagined ending for the inspirational couple is romantic rather than tragic. I predict that readers who are unfamiliar with the historical basis of Meant To Be, will appreciate the story and be inspired to do a little researching of their own. I’m always impressed by a book that inspires me to further research the topic.


About the Author: EMILY GIFFIN is a graduate of Wake Forest University and the University of Virginia School of Law. The #1 New York Times bestselling author of nine novels; she currently lives in Atlanta with her husband, three children, and two dogs. 

Twitter: @emilygiffin
Instagram: @emilygiffinauthor

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