Peter has an accident along the road near his house after avoiding running over a cat. He calls into his insurance company and happens to speak with Mina. When he is involved in a second accident just a short while later, he calls his insurance back requesting her specifically. Through the course of helping him out after a second accident in just a short while, Mina learns that he is a widower with young twin daughters approximately the same age as her daughter. She herself is a single mother living in her mother’s flat. When her mother moved in with her boyfriend, she left the flat to Mina’s care. There she is not only raising her daughter Sal, but her unruly teenage sister as well. When Mina calls Peter at home to let him know that his second accident would not count against him, a quiet over-the-phone friendship begins. They share each other’s sorrows despite the distance between Peter’s higher education lifestyle and Mina’s working class one. Can they also find love?
I picked this novel up several times since it first arrived. I think the cover is adorable and I quite liked the coincidence that brought Peter and Mina together in the first place. It was the differences between American English and British English that kept me from reading past the first chapter. It isn’t that I couldn’t understand what was written (there was some pop culture references and slang that went over my head), but it was the pacing of the language and the colloquialisms that kept tripping me up. For example, when I read something such as “going to hospital” instead of “going to the hospital,” it makes me stumble. It took me several chapters to get into the flow of things. Once I did, I enjoyed picking up new words and expressions.
Crossed Wires is character-based book. It spends a great deal of time developing its characters and telling their story. Despite some fast paced scenes, much of the book focuses specifically on Mina and Peter’s internal life and the joys and challenges that surround single parenting. In that, I felt it mirrored life as it actually is. It was more a view of a slice of their lives than it was about any one event or plot line. It never seemed to go anywhere. I was convinced that when Peter took the trip to help Mina out during a crisis that things would start to happen, but I was mistaken. This did frustrate me while reading the novel, but it is precisely the lack of split second drama and over-the-top happenings that make me look back on this novel as fondly as I do. Traveling through the lives of ordinary people at their speed in a book is an interesting way to experience a culture different from your own. I enjoyed Peter’s and Mina’s story and I can imagine them happily spending the rest of their lives getting to know each other better.
I want to thank the author for sending me a review copy of this novel.