Fantastic review today courtesy of new guest-blogger Sam!
The blurb: It’s Fran’s thirtieth birthday and things are good . . .
She’s bluffed her way into a Very Posh Job and her outlandishly handsome and talented boyfriend Michael is escorting her to the Ritz with a bulge the shape of a ring box in his pocket.
But something has gone wrong. Very wrong. By the end of the evening Fran is howling in bed with a bottle of cheap brandy and one of Michael’s old socks.
In her quest to figure out why her life has suddenly gone down the pan, Fran comes up with a failsafe plan: live like a badger, stalk a stranger called Nellie and cancel her beloved Gin Thursdays in favour of drinking gin every night. But then Fran’s friends force a very different plan on her and it’s nowhere near as fun. How could eight dates possibly make her feel better?
But eventually she agrees. And so begins the greatest love story of all time . . .
Sam’s review: I’m just going to start by saying that I didn’t really have any expectations when I started reading this book. The book is a debut and I actually didn’t do any research on who the author is and what’s she’s about until about 5 minutes ago, I don’t think I even read the author biography. Turns out she works in theatre and television production and then some documentary about internet dating was made about her and she has a blog on Marie Claire. She’s also apparently produced Pramface for the BBC, I haven’t actually seen it but I’ve heard good things about it.
Anyway, back to the book. It’s bloody brilliant. Absolutely laugh out loud can’t put it down (and any other cliché you would like to add in here) brilliant. It’s clever, funny, witty and one of the best chick-lit books I’ve read in a long time…and I do read ‘quite’ a lot. The characters are very well-written; Fran is a bit hopeless and at one point I did think the book was heading in a slightly irritating direction when she engineers a meeting with her ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend at a meditation class…but luckily that turned out to be short lived. Another character who is fantastically written is Stefania, Fran’s crazy not-sure-which-bit-of-the-Eastern-Block-she-comes-from next door neighbour. She is probably the one who made me laugh the most, her dialogue was hilarious and some of her mixed metaphors were inspired. The plot wasn’t too contrived and, although I did kind of guess what was going to happen in one aspect of the story, there were a few twists and turns in the final quarter of the book to keep you on your toes and guessing to the end.
I think there’s just one thing that disappoints me about the book, and that’s the cover. It’s a little tame to be honest. For me, this book is where chick-lit is headed, gone are the days of the fluffy books about shopping and handbags and frustrating silly girls who run up mountains of credit card debt; here is a funny, sweary (there is A LOT of colourful language by the way, not for you if you don’t like that sort of thing), contemporary novel and I just think that the cover could reflect that a bit more, it could be a bit more edgy and new. I saw an early proof copy of the book and, even though it was just text, it did reflect the book a bit better as it had a slightly crazy edge to it, compared to that, the finished one is rather sedate. Also, just another quick thing to mention – there’s a book trailer on her website, that too is, well, not the best and I’m not sure it would make me want to read the book.
However, aside from the jacket (which is a little worrying as that’s the reason most people pick up a book in the first place…) and trailer, I literally couldn’t recommend this book highly enough. If you’re a fan of authors such as Jenny Colgan, Sarra Manning or Fiona Neill (Slummy Mummy though, not the new one) then you are in for an absolute treat! Her next one is currently snappily entitled The Book with No Name…Yet, and I for one, can’t wait.
9 out of 10 stars! *********