Twelve Hours in Manhattan by Maan Gabriel
Recommended: if you know what you’re getting into
For a complex and expansive story that covers years of pain and grief and hope and fear. NOT for a lighthearted story or any kind of rom-com tale
Bianca Maria Curtis is at the brink of losing it all when she meets Eric at a bar in Manhattan. Eric, as it turns out, is the famous Korean drama celebrity Park Hyun Min, and he’s in town for one night to escape the pressures of fame. From walking along Fifth Avenue to eating ice cream at Serendipity to sharing tender moments on top of the Empire State building, sparks fly as Bianca and Eric spend twelve magical hours far away from their respective lives. In that time, they talk about the big stuff: love, life, and happiness, and the freedom they both seek to fully exist and not merely survive.
But real life is more than just a few exhilarating stolen moments in time.
As the clock strikes the twelfth hour, Bianca returns back to the life she detests to face a tragedy that will test her strength and resolve—and the only thing she has to keep going is the memory of a man she loves in secret from a world away.
Overall this was a decent story, but my experience reading it was tainted in two key ways (more below). For quick reference, this is what I think is important to know before reading this book:
Things to know:
– this actually takes place over the course of three YEARS and the titular twelve hours are only the first quarter or so of the book
– this is NOT a romcom or lighthearted read
– this book has a lot of pain and grief that characters have to sort through
– this book is a good read, but best if you know what you’re going into
I had two main issues with this book: expectations and confusion. This book gave the impression with the title, cover art, and summary, that it is more of a rom-com lighthearted story when it absolutely is not. Being something deeper and darker isn’t a bad thing, but it was extremely jarring to adjust to that on the fly when it was way more grim and pained than I had believed it would be from the media introducing it. In particular, it was compared to Susan Lee’s Seoulmates which is so incredibly incorrect a comparison that the only thing they have in common is a Korean character and some elements of romance.