The late Matty Devlin was so much more than Ruby Graham’s boss. He was her best friend, her father-figure, and she is showcasing a series of his favourite classic movies at the independent cinema in Notting Hill which was his life’s work … and of which she is now part owner.
Matty left the other half of The Royale to his nephew, Luke,the elusive Manhattan property developer and rumoured son of a Hollywood icon.
It’s all beginning to sound like the plot of one of Ruby’s beloved films until it becomes clear Luke is no more interested in swooping in to save the crumbling Royale than he is in talking about his famous father. He’s bad-tempered, cynical, and he couldn’t care less about the cinema!
But saving The Royale is about far more than just Matty’s legacy. The Royale is the only place where Ruby gets to live in a world of dreams and happy endings, a place where there are no lost causes, and where falling in love is just like in the movies … or is Luke about to change all that?
Goodreads’ Rating: ☀️☀️☀️
Just Like In The Movies is a lovely light read when you’re in the mood for something fun.
What I Liked
I liked how the theme of grief and loss is handled throughout the story. Both of the main characters experienced significant losses in their lives, yet how they handle it is much different. I found the use of the theme impactful, looking at the different ways people experience and process grief in their lives, from closing off part of themselves to finding peace in sharing remembrances to working hard to keep the dead’s wishes alive. All responses were genuine and raw and were handled in a manner that I could instantly recognize and feel compassion.
I enjoyed the main plot of figuring out how to keep The Royale going once Matty passed. The theater is such a unique part of the community, providing color and vibrancy in many patrons’ lives. I loved the inclusivity and the creativity that was part of every event that took place there. It is such a cool place and would definitely be a fun way to experience old movies and spend an evening.
One of the main characters, Luke, is developed very intricately and with empathy for all that he has had to overcome. He is not always likable, but the more you get to know him, the easier it is to understand why he is somewhat standoffish. Unfortunately, Ruby did not get equal development, and her backstory remains a mystery. I needed to know more about her and less about her sexual likes and fantasies to really understand and embrace her character.
What I Wish
I wish there had been more of a proper budding romance between the main characters. I missed the innocent ideal I am used to in the genre and was a bit put off by the explicitness that bordered on erotica. I could see the characters together, but the lack of a romantic build left me feeling like their romance and relationship were missing a key component and, in turn, credibility.
To Read or Not to Read
If you are looking for a light read and love movies, this is an excellent choice for your next read.