Let’s Connect by Kelly Jensen

A year after his divorce, Daniel Stroman has decided that he’s too young to die—or fuse permanently with his couch. But when he downloads the dating app “Let’s Connect” and starts dating, his success/fail ratio isn’t encouraging until he gets a connection request from Robin.

Everything about Robin’s profile is different, from the bright little bird he’s using as an avatar to the long and thoughtful answers he’s written for the standard questions. He’s witty, funny, and easy to talk to. Robin could be his perfect match. But Robin is holding something back.

Then again, so is Dan—beginning with the seven-year crush he’s carried for his best friend, Trevor. Sadly, except for one brief moment, they’ve never been single at the same time.

Or have they?

Rating: B+

Kelly Jensen’s Let’s Connect was originally written as a serial for the author’s newsletter subscribers, but now she’s collected the instalments together and published them as a novella.  It’s a charming, funny and poignant story about a fifty-year-old divorcé who alternates between wondering if life and love have passed him by and feeling as though he’s too young to give up on finding love and someone to share his life with.

Dan Stroman has been divorced for a year, and he’s obviously been struggling – with being single again, and with life in general. He’s neglected his business and spent more time than he should have clinging to his couch, but his best friend Trevor (on whom Dan has had a crush for years) has encouraged him to get back into the dating game, and pretty much stood over him while Dan downloaded the Let’s Connect app and created a profile.  Dan does indeed connect with a few guys, but the in-person dates range from disastrous to simply not-what-I’m-looking-for, and he’s almost ready to give up when he receives a message on the app from Robin, who responds to the question “what’s the most interesting thing about you?” with a short essay about odd socks that is “the most bizarre yet sweet collection of words Dan had ever read.”

Dan is immediately struck by the personality  – funny, self-deprecating and distinctly quirky – that comes through in Robin’s words.  After they’ve exchanged a few messages on the app, Robin suggests they try a virtual date – they’ll both cook the same meal, and watch a movie together – and it goes well.  Robin is easy to talk to and Dan feels comfortable with him – and over the weeks they spend chatting, he realises that his interactions with Robin have helped him to see that he IS ready to move forward and take the next step with someone.  But… who is the right someone?

Let’s Connect is short, but it’s a lovely read that possesses considerable depth and insight.  I really enjoyed Ms. Jensen’s recent This Time Forever series, in which most of the principal characters were in their forties and fifties, and here, she continues to highlight the very different issues that can arise when a more mature person is looking to find a new relationship, and does it in a very appealing and perceptive way.

Dan is the PoV character, although there’s a very satisfying epilogue which switches the perspective to the man in his life.  Let’s Connect is short, sweet, and absolutely delightful, and happily, I see that Ms. Jensen is planning on writing more in this world.

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