I have been a fan of Emily Giffin since her first novel, Something Borrowed and Meant to Be, catapulted me into the realm of mega-fan.
Like many of us who came into adulthood in the early ’90s, Emily Giffin was fascinated with John F. Kennedy Junior and Carolyn Bessette. While Giffin is quick to say that Meant to Be is inspired by, rather than based on, the younger Kennedys, there’s no mistaking the similarities between JFK Jr. and Joe Kingsley. Joe is the son of an American war hero father who died when Joe was young, and a mother who has dedicated her life to upholding her father’s legacy, which consists primarily of exhorting Joe to follow in his footsteps.
Cate Cooper has a very different background; while she, too, lost her father at a young age, she has none of the wealth and privilege of the Kingsley family. When her mother marries an abusive man, Cate sets her sights on obtaining independence as soon as possible. Her opportunity comes when she is discovered by a premier modeling agency, which takes her worldwide. It also puts her in the path of Joe Kingsley.
Much of the romance genre today is populated with tropes like fake engagements, misunderstandings, and reimaginings of fairy tales and myths. It’s been a minute since I’ve read an excellent old-fashioned girl-from-the-wrong-side-of-the-tracks that catches the eye of Prince Charming story, and I found it refreshing.
Hear Emily Giffin talk about the inspiration for Meant to Be in this clip from Good Morning America.
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