Book Review: ‘Lucky Leap Year’ by Ann Marie Walker

2022 continues to be the year of the romance novel. Ann Marie Walker’s Lucky Leap Year is among the latest entries into the genre, and readers are luckier for it. It makes use of some of the best romance tropes and gives us characters we can love and root for from beginning to end. If you love escapism at its finest, and a genuinely sweet journey, this may be the next book you’re looking for.

Readers are introduced to Cara Kennedy, a screenwriter coming off of a breakup who copes by taking a trip to Ireland that was originally meant for two. On her trip, she meets Finn, a walking advertisement for Irish tourism. When Cara takes advantage of the Irish rules of Leap Day where women can propose to men, chaos and hilarity ensue. Throw in an adorable dog, and you have the makings of one of the most comforting and genuinely endearing books of the year.

The romance itself is heartfelt. In the best possible way, these two characters are so delightful to follow. With all of their quirks and flaws, they are both incredibly relatable and easy to cheer for every step of the way. Right from the beginning, it’s clear from the way they treat each other that there’s a tonne of respect, even though they only just met. This respect only grows as the story unfolds, and that’s the energy we need from our romance novels.

The tropes in Lucky Leap Day are elite-level. The fake marriage trope is one of the most difficult to pull off. In this book, however, it’s used to further the story and makes perfect sense in the context of the characters’ respective journeys. The shared bed and necessary proximity is incredibly effective. Again, these tropes are used in service to the story. They’re all the more enjoyable because of how flawlessly they’re incorporated.

In addition to the travel itself, the incorporation of Ireland’s politics and history was also done in such an organic way. In particular, the reference to the tragic story of Grace Gifford and Joseph Plunkett was a poignant reminder of the struggle the Irish people have endured, and how they have collectively fought to defend themselves and their identity as a people. It was handled respectfully and in a way that compels readers to want to learn even more about the real stories behind these legends.

The touch of Hollywood also brought both a touch of magic and a dose of reality to the story. The glamor and rose-tinted glasses is always tempered with the reality that so many working in this industry are undervalued at best, and put in so much time for hardly tangible results. The discouragement of devoting years of a career to never having the opportunity is held in stark contrast to the promise of finally landing elusive stardom in the City of Stars.

Lucky Leap Day offers readers a delightful romp to escape from our current reality at a time when so many of us need it most. This isn’t some fluff piece that lacks any substance, however. There’s plenty here to keep readers engaged. At the story’s heart are two people who come together under the most unlikely of circumstances. As the story goes on, however, it’s clear it wasn’t so likely after all. So many of us want stories to touch our heart and make us see ourselves in a love story that’s deliciously relatable.  Lucky Leap Day offers readers just that. 

Lucky Leap Day is available now.

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