Author Archives: Serendipity

Asking For Trouble – Elizabeth Young

Synopsis

Sophy’s single and happy about it. She likes her job, her friends and her life, so bemoaning her single status over a bottle or two of Chardonnay isn’t on the cards.

She does however have an imaginary boyfriend, Dominic, a little white lie whose sole purpose is to keep Sophy’s mother off her back. Which is fine until Dominic’s presence is demanded at a family wedding.

So what does Sophy do? Does she admit Dominic is a fantasy? Does she invent a sudden but tragic death? Oh no. Sophy hires an escort.

But when distinctly delicious Josh Carmichael arrives on her doorstep ready to step into Dominic’s expensively tailored shoes, Sophy can tell things are going to get tricky. And the wedding is only the beginning …

Review

Asking For Trouble is the book that the movie The Wedding Date is very loosely based upon, and although at the time of seeing the movie I wasn’t all that impressed with it, it is in hindsight a lot better than the original book. Maybe watching the movie prior to reading the book wasn’t the way to go and maybe if I’d done it the other way around I would have enjoyed the book more, but in all honesty I really don’t think it would have made all that much difference as there’s something about the book that I just didn’t like.

I’m thinking that one of the reasons for this is the characters themselves.

For a start the main character of Sophy is actually really rather annoying and even the spelling of her name tended to irritate me and as a result I found myself gritting my teeth each and every time it was mentioned … which was a lot considering the whole book revolves around her. The only saving grace and her only redeeming feature is the fact that she’s a size 13¾ and has wobbly bits, which certainly makes a nice change as usually in these types of book the main characters are all stick thin sized 8’s with hardly any hang-ups about their appearances at all.

Another really annoying aspect of this book was the continuous mention of characters in passing, some of whom I’m fairly certain we never actually met (so to speak) so not only did I find this annoying but I also found it rather confusing and had to spend a fair amount of time racking my brain trying to think if they’d been mentioned before and if so where.

On the plus side it is a fairly quick and easy read and as such you can plough your way through it fairly quickly but for the reasons mentioned above it didn’t grab my attention. I found it a bit slow to start with, which didn’t help matters, but even when it did start to pick up the pace a bit it was still very long winded in parts and it started to become a bit of a chore to read. I actually found myself wishing for the end to come sooner rather than later just so that I could finally close the book, put it to one side and move on to something a bit more interesting.

As you can no doubt probably tell by now I’m not a fan of this book and I don’t think I’m going to be in any great hurry to read any more of this author’s work. This is actually one of those very rare times where by the movie is much better than the book, and for those of you who have already seen the movie, that’s saying something.

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The Baby Group – Rowan Coleman

Synopsis

Meet The Baby Group: Natalie ran her own design company until baby Freddie unexpectedly came along. Now the capable person she once was is trapped inside a crazy woman’s body, longing for just one decent night’s sleep and words of more than one syllable. Meg is onto her fourth child but still feels she has to take notes. Meg’s sister-in-law Frances organises her little boy like he’s a private in the army, but underneath her prickly facade she longs for the kind of friendships others seem to find so easy. Former career girl Jess sees danger lurking in every corner, doubting she’ll ever be a good mother. Stay-at-home house-husband Steve is just glad to have the opportunity to spend time with his daughter. And sixteen-year-old Tiffany is the youngest – yet possibly the wisest – of them all.

Six very different parents. Six very different lives. But when Natalie’s dodgy wiring leads to a series of chance encounters, they rapidly discover – through Baby Music, Baby Aerobics, coffee and more importantly cake – that there’s safety in numbers. And their own unofficial baby group is formed.

Review

I’m not going to go into any great detail with regards to the actual plotline of this book because in all honesty the above synopsis does in fact give a very good and accurate description of it so I don’t really feel the need to repeat any of it here.

I will however say that although The Baby Group does supposedly have six main characters whose lives we periodically follow throughout the book it does in fact primarily focus on that of Natalie and the story is told mostly from her point of view. Saying that we do get a bit of an insight into the lives of Meg, Jess and Tiffany however unfortunately the same can’t be said for that of Frances and Steve – neither of whom are featured all that heavily and seem to be there for no other reason than to add a couple of extra members to the group. I did find this a little disappointing especially with regards to Steve. As the only male member of the group it would have been nice to get a little bit more of an insight into his life as a stay-at-home father however I’m sure the author had her reasons for not focusing on him more than she did, I just can’t figure out what those reasons were.

Although I personally have decided to place this book under the chick lit label, it is however a little bit more than just your average stereotypical chick lit book, mainly because it has a bit more substance to it. I did however find some aspects of it a little bit too hard to believe, in particular the circumstances surrounding the initial meeting between Natalie and Jack. I don’t know any woman who would do what she did and swan off for a romantic weekend in Venice with a man she met that very same day. Even now after having finishing the book and understanding Jack’s reasons for doing so, from Natalie’s point of view I still find it a little bit hard to swallow but maybe that’s just me.

I also have to admit to finding the ending a little bit too fairytale like for my liking, however it did tie up a few loose ends and everyone seemed to get the happy ending I was so hoping they would do, so I suppose I can’t really complain.

Overall this is a very easy book to get into and the words and story flow at a very steady pace. With laugh-out-loud moments interspersed with the occasional teary eyed one you can’t help but grow to love the characters and by the last page I was almost sorry to have to say goodbye to them.

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