Review: Meant to Be by Emily Giffin


Release date: May 31, 2022

Publisher: Ballantine

Genre: Fiction


A restless golden boy and a girl with a troubled past navigate a love story that may be doomed before it even begins in this irresistible new novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Something Borrowed and The Lies That Bind.

The Kingsley family is practically American royalty, beloved for their military heroics, political service, and unmatched elegance. When Joseph S. Kingsley III is born in 1960, he inherits the weight of that legacy. Growing up with all the Kingsley looks and charisma, Joe should have no problem taking up the mantle after his father’s untimely death. But he is also a little bit reckless, and can’t seem to figure out how to channel the expectations of an entire country.

No one ever expected anything of Cate, on the other hand. She, too, grew up in a single-parent household—just her and her mom scraping by in their small apartment. As a teenager, though, Cate is discovered for her looks. Modeling may be her only ticket out of the cycle of disappointment that her mother has always inhabited. Before too long, her face is everywhere, though she is always aware that she’d be a pariah in her social circles if anyone knew her true story.

When Joe and Cate’s paths cross, their connection is instant. What remains to be seen is whether their relationship will survive the glare of the spotlight that follows Joe everywhere. And just as they find themselves in the make-or-break moment, the tragedy that seems to run in Joe’s family right alongside all that privilege will repeat itself.

In a beautifully written novel that recaptures a gilded moment in American history, Emily Giffin tells a story of a love that may or may not have the power to transcend circumstances that seem arrayed against it . . . and the difficulty of finding your way to the place you belong.


I’m a huge fan of the author and when I found out that she was releasing a book that was loosely inspired by JFK Jr. and Carolyn Bessette I was swooning even before I got a chance to read it. She takes a chance and reimagines history through her own unique lens and it worked incredibly well for me.

Told over the course of several years this felt like an epic, sweeping love story all about fate and timing. Both Cate and Joe were complex and well drawn and in alternating chapters detail their personal upbringings in the time both before they meet and afterwards. I was complete caught up in their story and hanging onto the authors every word. There was so much nostalgia too, always a fun aspect for me and it was well done here. Overall I loved every minute of this one and can definitely recommend it as a perfect addition to your summer TBR.

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

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