Posts Tagged With: chick lit

The Last Letter From Your Lover by Jojo Moyes

Title:  The Last Letter From Your LoverImage
Author:  Jojo Moyes
ISBN: 978-0340961643
Publisher:  Hodder

First Published:  February 2011 (Paperback)
No .of pages:  512

Rating: 4/5

Synopsis (from Amazon):
When journalist Ellie looks through her newspaper’s archives for a story, she doesn’t think she’ll find anything of interest. Instead she discovers a letter from 1960, written by a man asking his lover to leave her husband – and Ellie is caught up in the intrigue of a past love affair. Despite, or perhaps because of her own romantic entanglements with a married man.
In 1960, Jennifer wakes up in hospital after a car accident. She can’t remember anything – her husband, her friends, who she used to be. And then, when she returns home, she uncovers a hidden letter, and begins to remember the lover she was willing to risk everything for.
Ellie and Jennifer’s stories of passion, adultery and loss are wound together in this richly emotive novel – interspersed with real ‘last letters’.

Review:
Last year I read what I thought was the debut novel of Jojo Moyes, Me Before You, and I was surprised to find out that not only was this not her first book, but she had written several other books too!  Don’t ask me how I had managed to come this far without noticing her books, however, I am very pleased that she is now on my radar and she is currently 2 out of 2 in the enjoyment stakes.

The Last Letter From Your Lover is set between current time and 1960 and is focussed on a love letter found in the archives of a local newspaper.  We travel back in time and see how and why the letter came about.  Then we jump forward to current day and see what effects this old correspondence is having on Ellie, who stumbled upon it. 

Whilst this is a love story, it’s not your typical love story.  Each chapter has its own real life ‘last letter’, many of which are strange and wonderful, break up and make up letters.  It’s not all sunshine and roses but it’s certainly a love story which kept me gripped right up to the last page.

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A Cottage by the Sea by Carole Matthews

a cottage by the sea by carole matthewsTitle: A Cottage by the Sea
Author: Carole Matthews
ISBN: 978-1847444615
Publisher: Sphere
First Published: 3 January 2013 (hardback / Kindle) / 28 March 2013 (paperback) / J1 March 2013 (audio)
No .of pages: 448

Rating: 4/5

Synopsis (from Amazon):Grace has been best friends with Ella and Flick forever. The late-night chats, shared heartaches and good times have created a bond that has stood the test of time.

When Ella invites them to stay for a week in her cottage in South Wales, Grace jumps at the chance to see her old friends. She also hopes that the change of scenery will help her reconnect with her distant husband.

Then Flick arrives; loveable, bubbly, incorrigible Flick, accompanied by the handsome and charming Noah.

This is going to be one week which will change all their lives forever…

Join Grace, Ella and Flick for a week of love, laughter, tears and friendship in A Cottage by the Sea

Review:
I do not usually read chick-lit or romance, but a few years back I came across The Chocolate Lovers’ Club and its sequel, The Chocolate Lovers’ Diet, and thoroughly enjoyed them. So when Carole Matthews’ publishing team asked for volunteers to read and review her latest novel, A Cottage by the Sea, I jumped at the chance.

If I ever read another chick-lit novel, it will be one by Carole Matthews!

I love her fresh, easy style of writing – it seems to flow so effortlessly from one page to the next, so that it barely feels like one is reading at all, more one is absorbing the story by osmosis or some similar biological process. The story seeps into the reader with ease and in a manner that feels wholly organic and natural.

As with most chick-lit, it’s entirely predictable – there wasn’t a single move I didn’t see coming a mile off, but I found I didn’t care – I wanted things to happen the way they did – it felt right and I enjoyed the ride so much that I didn’t really want it to end. It really made me hanker after a holiday in a little cottage in Pembrokeshire, despite the fact that I know my own hubby would hate being away from technology as much as some of the characters here did – I know I’m more of a Grace or Ella when it comes to being somewhere peaceful and undisturbed. And I really did like the characters – I felt like I’d known Grace, Ella and Flick for years, and like an old friend, sometimes I wanted to slap Flick and tell her to grow up. Similarly I wanted to shake Harry and Art, and I completely fell for the lovely Noah – but then, who wouldn’t?

Reading a light novel like this feels like a holiday for my brain and it was exactly what I needed while I recovered from flu. Highly enjoyable, fun, just a joy to read – Carole Matthews gets my vote any day of the week for holiday reading!

Reviewed by Kell Smurthwaite

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Jill Mansell – Take a Chance on Me

REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

Addition: Library hard back

Genre: Chick-lit

Rating: 4/5

Synopsis:

Cleo Quinn doesn’t have a great track record when it comes to men, but now Will’s come along she’s optimistic. Handsome, attentive and an absolute gentleman when it comes to her questionable cooking skills, he could be her Mr Right. Things are definitely looking up for Cleo… apart from one small problem with a rather large ego. Johnny LaVenture, sculptor extraordinaire and her childhood adversary, is back in Channing’s Hill and tormenting Cleo as if he’d never been away.

But life never goes to plan, does it? Johnny isn’t the only one stirring up trouble and, for Cleo’s family and friends, all kinds of sparks are starting to fly. If you think you can put the past behind you, think again…

I read this book back at the beginning of the year, and really enjoyed it. It is a book that had me glued to it all day. I couldn’t put it down and I finished it in a day. I have read a couple of other novels by Jill Mansell, and really enjoyed those too.

Mansell writes really good chick-lit. Her books are fun and hard to put down. They always perk me up and I always enjoy them. In this novel, Cleo is the protagonist. She used to work hard at school but a bout of bullying put an end to that. As an adult she makes a living driving limos. She is happy and content with her job and her boyfriend Will. Then the man who made her life miserable at school comes back to town for his father’s funeral her world is shaken. Her sister’s world is also being shaken. She has just discovered that her husband has an eighteen year old daughter. Did he cheat? Why didn’t he tell her?

Mansell weaves a web that revolves around two sisters, Cleo and Abby. Cleo is settled, enjoying life, her man and her friends. Then Johnny returns. His attention is on her, and her head is being turned toward him. She tries to cling on to her current relationship – to discover Will is actually married with children. She feels awful and won’t forgive him. What she doesn’t expect is to become friends with his wife. And what about Abby? Whilst putting away her husband’s socks she discovers a photo of his daughter. How and when did this happen? She discovers that the mother is the surrogate they wanted to use when they discovered Abby wouldn’t be able to carry a baby to full term. The woman had claimed she didn’t get pregnant, but she had in fact lied and kept the baby – a little girl called Georgia. There are twists and turns throughout the book and it is so enjoyable.

Mansell writes a whole host of readable, realistic characters. I liked Cleo. She was caring and concerned about her family. She is sensitive and she is not easily wooed. I felt so much for Abby. She was a damaged woman, as she couldn’t have children. Then to discover her husband had a child, and then for Georgia to come and live with them was tough. She was sad and angry and lost. Her character was realistic and heart breaking. I liked Cleo’s best friend Ash. I found it fascinating how he was a radio DJ who really was very shy and not that good looking. However, he cared and was fun with Cleo. I liked Johnny as well. Once he realised how he had made Cleo feel he was apologetic and watching him chase Cleo was great!

There is a lot in this book – affairs, barrenness, family, surrogacy and love. There is so much to get your teeth in. I felt every story line was handled really well. I was sucked into this world and really enjoyed being there. The ending is fairly predictable, but who doesn’t like a happy ending?!

I can easily give this book 4/5 because it was so good. From start to finish, I was hooked. Really worth reading if you like chick-lit.

 

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Knitting Diaries by Debbie Macomber, Susan Mallery and Christina Skye

REVIEWS CONTAIN SPOILERS!

Addition: Review e-book from netGalley

Genre: Female fiction, romance

Rating: 4 out of 5

This is a collection of short stories, written by prolific chick-lit authors Debbie Macomber, Susan Mallery and Christina Skye.

Debbie Macomber

Knitting is a way of life: The Twenty-First Wish by Debbie Macomber

Anne Marie Roche and her adopted daughter, ten-year-old Ellen, have each written a list of twenty wishes – on which they included learning to knit. But Ellen has quietly added a twenty-first wish: that her mom will fall in love with Tim, Ellen’s birth father, who’s recently entered their lives…

This short story follows on from the Blossom Street stories. Anne Marie had recently adopted Ellen, a girl who had been bought up by her Grandma until her death. Ellen’s Dad – Tim, who didn’t know until he was a father until Ellen was adopted has been spending a lot of time with both his daughter and Anne Marie. Both adults developed feelings for each other but Tim had a fiancée. When she found out about Ellen, she went back to drinking, and Tim – a recovering alcohol left her. However, Anne Marie felt messed around Tim and decided to have nothing more to do with him. However, Ellen has one wish she has told no one – that Anne Marie and Tim fall in love. Will her wish come true?

I love Debbie Macomber, and I enjoyed this story. Sadly, it was too short! Macomber writes a lovely story about friendship, family and love. My favourite character was Ellen. She was cute and so likeable. She is passionate and just a delight to read. I think Macomber writes really warm, friendly characters and it is so easy to fall in love with them.

The ending was not a surprise – but it was so nice! I was satisfied and happy by the conclusion. The only problem with this story was it was too short. I love the Blossom Street series – the characters, the knitting and the friendship. I really hope Macomber writes another in this series.

Susan Mallery

Knitting is a passion: Coming Unraveled by Susan Mallery

When Robyn Mulligan’s dreams of becoming a Broadway star give way to longing for her childhood home, she returns to Texas, running her grandmother’s knitting store. But the handsome, hot-tempered T.J. Passman isn’t making it easy on her. If he can learn to trust Robyn, and overcome his tragic past, they just might discover a passion like no other. Susan’s story in this anthology is linked to her book ALREADY HOME (April 2011).

To be honest, I didn’t enjoy this story too much. It follows Robyn, a girl who had always dreamt of becoming a Broadway star. She leaves Texas for New York, but her dreams don’t come to anything. She returns to Texas when her Gran needs to go in for an operation. When she walks into the knitting shop she is greeted by an angry stare from a guy she has never met – T.J. After a short, hostile chat with him, she discovers he thinks she is a fraud, lying to her Gran and living off her money. He is wrong, but will she change his mind?

The problem I had with this story was it seemed really sex-driven. Every time T.J. and Robyn look at each other, Mallery seems compelled to describe all emotions and longings. It just made me bored and uncomfortable.

This is another love story with knitting thrown in. Again, the ending was predictable – but who doesn’t like a happy ending?! I thought Robyn’s Gran and her friends were lovely characters. They were funny and so caring. They were really supportive of Robyn, even after her acting career didn’t work out.

This is a nice story, ruined by too much talk about sex, and the longing for it.

Christina Skye

Knitting is a comfort: Return to Summer Island by Christina Skye

After a devastating car accident, Caro McNeal is welcomed by a community of knitters on Oregon’s sleepy Summer Island. She also finds meaning and purpose in the letters she exchanges with a marine serving in Afghanistan. But when life takes another unexpected turn, will Caro pick up the threads of hope, opening her heart to wherever it takes her?

Meet Caro. She loves knitting. When she isn’t working, she knits. That is, until she is hit by a car and her right arm is mashed. She will face a long time in a cast, and then physiotherapy – with no guarantees that she will ever be able to knit again. She leaves Chicago to recover and goes back to the home she grew up in, with her Gran. A chance visit by Gage Greyson changes her mindset and her road to recovery. He is off to Afghanistan – leaving his pets in the care of the local vet. Caro and Gage stay in contact, will it lead to love?

This is a nice love story. It is love not just for another person, but for knitting and animals. It is a story of recovery, patience and art. I thought Caro was a lovely character. She was so gutted by her accident – and so frustrated that she couldn’t knit – or do much in fact. Her mindset is changed by one lovely picnic, and the need to look after Gage’s two animals.

To be honest, this is not a realistic story. It is about love at first sight and long-distance army relationship. Of course this book had a happy ending, I just didn’t think any of this would happen. Gage is involved in a military attack, yet someone Caro’s Gran knows was able to tell her confidential information and get her to the base where Gage was taken after the attack. It was lovely, just unrealistic.

This is a nice collection of stories, based around knitting. The stories and writings are different. It was a nice, quick read – very enjoyable.


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Goodnight, Beautiful by Dorothy Koomson

Addition: Paperback

Genre: Chick-lit, fiction

Rating: 4 out of 5

Synopsis:

Eight years ago, Nova Kumalisi agreed to have a baby for Mal and Stephanie Wacken. Halfway through the pregnancy, the couple changed their minds and walked away, leaving Nova pregnant, scared and alone.

Eight years ago, Stephanie was overjoyed at the thought of becoming a mother – until she found a text from Mal to Nova saying, “Goodnight, beautiful”. Terrified of losing her husband to his closest friend, Stephanie asked him to cut all ties to Nova and their unborn child.

Now, Nova is anxiously waiting for her son, Leo, to wake up from a coma, while childless Stephanie is desperately trying to save her failing marriage. Although they live separate lives, both women have secrets that will bind them together for ever…

Dorothy Koomson is one of my favourite authors, and this book did not let me down. Koomson never shies away from reali life, hard hitting issues, and in Goodnight, Beautiful she looks at pregnancy, jealousy and the fear of having a child in a coma.

Mal and Stephanie can’t have children, so Mal asks his best friend, Nova to be a surrogate mother. Nova and Mal have been friends for so long that Nova can’t say no. During the pregnancy Stephanie finds a text Mal had sent Nova, simply saying “Goodnight, beautiful”. Jealously soars through her and she makes Mal give up the child. She gives a string of excuses as to why they can’t take the baby…leaving Nova pregnant and without a best friend. Eight years on Nova has fallen in love with her boy, Leo and has married. Yet the unthinkable has happened – Leo was in an accident and been in a coma for weeks. Supported by her family, and Mal’s family – but not Mal, Nova has to struggle through this, while Stephanie and Mal are trying to resolve their marital issues, ones that spout out of Stephanie’s jealousy and Mal’s hurt and anger. Will Leo wake up? Will Mal ever see his son? Will Stephanie and Mal resolve their problems?

This book is so touching. I loved the characters and the storyline is gripping and realistic. Koomson is an amazing writer and her books always move me. This story isn’t just set in the present, we watch Leo grow up and the problems this pregnancy caused between Mal and Nova – and their friendship before Stephanie. We see a full picture of what happened and the story is told by different people.

In this book Koomson explores what jealously can do relationships, what effect surrogacy can have on the person carrying the baby and those around them, and how having a child in a coma can effect your whole world. This book seemed thoroughly researched and was very well written. I was gripped, I was almost in tears in many parts and as I reflect on the book I remember a beautiful book by a great author.

My favourite character was Leo. He was so cute! I was willing him to wake up all through the book. Nova was brave, strong, scared and a lovely character. Her relationship with Mal was gorgeous – friends forever. It was horrible reading the effect one jealous person could have on a friendship – although I found myself feeling sorry for Stephanie as she battled the jealousy. That said, she was manipulative and lied – so sad to see what insecurities can do to a person. I wanted Mal to man up and see Leo regardless of Stephanie. Nova was his friend and Leo his son – he needed to be bold. I think all the characters were well thought out and well written and made the story come alive.

I say this every time I write about Koomson: she writes female fiction – but it isn’t girly, easy-to-read chick-lit, it has meaning and substance. She writes about issues facing people these days and attacks them viciously. She writes really well and I am yet to read a book by her that I don’t like. I am so happy I read this book, and can easily give it 4 out of 5.

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Single in the City by Michele Gorman

Title: Single in the City
Author: Michele Gorman
ISBN: 978-0141048260
Publisher: Penguin
First Published: June 2010
No. of Pages: 352

Rating: 3/5

Synopsis (Amazon):
It’s official. Hannah has left her friends and family in the US behind and is following her dream. To live in London. Unfortunately she’s completely unprepared for what’s in store. She’s going to find: 1. Her dream guy. A prince or Hugh Grant would be nice. Or does she have to settle for her half-naked Australian housemate or an “English gentleman” with terrible hygiene habits? 2. Her dream job. Something fantastic in fashion. So how has she ended up being the mini-me for an evil party planner who doesn’t even trust her to arrange the paperclips? 3. Her dream friends. But everyone in London seems to have known each other for years and Hannah’s having trouble getting to know nice people. Who’s she going to have fun with? Dream life? Should Hannah just dream on? Maybe it would have been simpler and cheaper to just get a new haircut. Was she mad to move 3,000 miles away from everyone she knows? Will she ever find love and her perfect life in England?

Review:
I don’t usually read much chick-lit, but occasionally I’ll pick one up and more often than not, I’ll enjoy it at least a little. On this particular occasion, I enjoyed it rather a lot!

Hannah is a quirky and lovable character who doesn’t have a load of money to spare, doesn’t have a high-flying career, and doesn’t have a clue – which makes her all the more accessible and easier to relate to for us mere mortals who don’t live on the pages of your usual, run-of-the-mill light novels aimed at women. She’s a fish-out-of-water who makes mistakes – lots of mistakes – and that makes her human.

It’s a fun look at something we all wish we could do – relocate somewhere exciting and start afresh – and it doesn’t shy away from the problems that can occur, both funny and not so nice, but focusses on Hannah evolving without even realising she’s doing so.

There are a lot of laughs along the way as cultural differences between American Hannah and her new English friends (and some Aussies too, strewth!), and it seems that our common language often seems more like a foreign one, with everyone speaking at cross purposes.

This is Michele Gorman’s debut novel and it shows a very promising start. It’s even left tantalisingly open enough for a sequel… will there be one?

Reviewed by Kell Smurthwaite

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She Tells All by Judah Lee Davis

Title: She Tells All

Author: Judah Lee Davis

ISBN: 978-1453687123

Publisher: Createspace (self published)

First Published: 2010

Paperback: 228 pages

Rating: 3/5

Synopsis:
Sometimes to get to heaven, you gotta go through hell…

From her unhealthy obsession with stilettos to her weakness for Latin lovers, Madison Miller is a far cry from the church girl her Momma always wanted her to be.

She desperately tried to be good, but every time, she ends up between the sheets or in the back of somebody’s car. Finally, tragedy strikes and Madison is forced to learn some hard lessons about life, love, God, and why you should never spend the night with strangers.

Review:
Self-published novels often get looked down upon by the “why couldn’t they get published by a real publisher” brigade, but every now and then, you get a little gem that sparkles and stands out from the rubble, refusing to be tarred with that brush. This is one of them.

I was pleasantly surprised at how easy this novel was to read. Although it chronicles Madison’s sexploits, explicit detail doesn’t usually play much of a part in the proceedings, which is a welcome relief, given the amount of shenanigans she gets up to! It’s a nice change to have a promiscuous “heroine” who doesn’t feel the need to “drop the f-bomb” (as she calls it) every five seconds and although many of her activities are explicit, the author leaves much to the imagination, giving only the bare essentials in the sex scenes.

Madison is a very likeable character. She is obviously a little troubled and has terrible taste in men, but once again, the Davis bucks the trend and refuses to give Madison all the good looking charmers – she’s a regular chick and the guys she sleeps with are regular Joes too – some better (or worse) than others. And she’s such a caring person, constantly trying to help people and do the right thing, that you desperately want things to work out for her.

This is a very quick read, but an enjoyable one. And yes, I actually shed a few tears near the end which was handled in a tactful and sweet manner. Madison’s journey through slutdom to finding herself and keeping her faith is worth picking up if you like inspirations tales with believably normal characters.

Reviewed by Kell Smurthwaite

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50 Harbour Street by Debbie Macomber

Book Sort: Library Book

Rating: 4/5

Synopsis:

Dear Reader,

Considering that I’m married to Cedar Cove’s private investigator, you might think I enjoy mysteries. But I don’t — especially when they involve us! Roy and I have been receiving anonymous postcards and messages asking if we “regret the past.” We don’t know what they mean . . .

On a more positive note, we’re both delighted that our daughter, Linette, has moved to Cedar Cove to work at the new medical clinic. A while ago I attended the humane society’s “Dog and Bachelor Auction,” where I bought her a date with Cal Washburn, who works at Cliff Harding’s horse farm. Unfortunately Linette is less enthusiastic about this date than I am.

Speaking of Cliff, the romance between him and Grace Sherman is back on. But that’s only one of the many interesting stories here in Cedar Cove. So why don’t you drop by for a coffee at my husband’s office on Main Street or our House on Harbor and I’ll tell you everything that’s new!

Corrie

This is typical Debbie Macomber. This is number five in the Cedar Cover series and is in every way as good as the others. You could read this as a stand alone book as it does recap the general story lines from other books, but it does carry on nicely as part of this series.

The main focus of this book is the private investigator, and his wife – Roy and Corrie. They have been receiving mysterious gifts and postcards. They have concerned Corrie and Roy is struggling to find out who they are from. In other stories, Charlotte marries Ben, but is upset by her children wanting to check him out first, Olivia is concerned for Jack’s health – and when he ends up in hospital she sees she is right about his lifestyle and everything is a bit on-and-off with Cliff and Grace.

This book includes all the usual favourite characters and we continue to follow them through their lives in Cedar Cove. I don’t think I have a favourite, no one sticks out in my mind, but they are all nice and it is quite a gentle, friendly community they live in. It is idealistic but so what? It is nice reading.

Once Roy and Corrie’s daughter moved to the area and started making friends I quickly worked out who it was sending the anonymous notes and how the love story would pan out. I didn’t mind the predictability however. This is simple chick-lit that would make a good beach read. It is a lovely series to escape to and I always enjoy Macomber. This is a good book for those who like a light, quick, chick-lit read.

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The Girl Next Door by Elizabeth Noble

Book Type: Large Print Hardback from Library

Rating: 4/5

Synopsis:

What makes a house a home? For Eve Gallagher, home is miles away in England since she and her husband relocated to an apartment building on New York’s Upper East Side. And life isn’t remotely coming up roses. What makes a neighbour a friend? Violet has lived in the building for decades but she’s always kept herself apart.

I was worried about how good this book was going to be when I opened up the first page and saw a list of characters. There were a few pages and my initial thought was simply “oh no”. To be honest, the first time I tried this book I only managed around 50 pages. The second time was much better however. This is mature chick-lit that looks at the idea of relocating, making friends and starting a family.

The central character is Eve, who moves to New York with her husband as he has earned a promotion. She finds herself living in a gorgeous flat, but even though there are people all around, she is isolated and alone. That is until a fellow neighbour hosts a meeting about the roof terrace – they have permission to make it a nice garden area. Eve goes along and meets some fellow neighbours, most notably Violet. She is an old lady who also emigrated from England, but until meeting Eve has kept herself apart from others. The book mainly follows these two characters with interludes from others in the apartment to break up the story. To be honest, although I can remember the other story lines – the over-bearing mother of a spoilt toddler, a love affair between two unlikely people and a new friendship – the characters themselves haven’t stayed with them, I couldn’t name them for instance. In reflection though, that doesn’t bother me as I remember Eve and Violet, and how Eve struggles with life in America, and then gets pregnant and has to deal with a premature birth. Violet is there all the way through and we learn her story and about her heartbreak, and that to me is the main story and worth remembering.

Noble takes on tough issues in this novel. She looks at relocating, premature birth and death. There are moments when this is a sad tale, and other times when it is uplifting. This shift in mood keeps the book entertaining. This is not the best Noble novel I have read – that would be Things I Want My Daughters to Know, but I enjoyed this.

I liked Eve and felt sorry for her. I could relate her as she struggled in New York – I wouldn’t have been brave enough to go out and make friends either. Ed, her husband, was nice enough but he didn’t understand her that well, and I was a bit gutted that he wasn’t too keen on her the pregnancy at first. I had to grow to like him, whereas I liked Eve instantly. I liked Violet as well. She was kind and caring, but she was stern and motherly, just what Eve wanted. The other characters were pleasant but don’t stick out in my mind that much. It was nice that Noble included the other storylines but I think the people she wrote needed to be more inspiring.

This is mature chick-lit and I really enjoyed it. I would happily recommend this novel to others who like Elizabeth Noble and like a good, emotional, realistic, interesting read.

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Old School Ties by Kate Harrison

Synopsis:

Friends – and enemies – reunited! They say your school days are the best days of your life and Tracey Mortimer would agree. Sixteen years ago she ruled! She was the most popular girl in school, had her own gang and was dating the cutest guy in her year. Now she’s 32, stuck in a dull marriage that’s only tolerable because her philandering builder husband is rarely at home. And though Tracey loves her two kids, a daily diet of alphabetti spaghetti and the Tweenies, isn’t exactly thrilling…Then Tracey spots an ad from a TV company wanting to make a reality-style show on a perfect school reunion. She jumps at the chance to relive the ‘good old days’. Only some of Tracey’s classmates don’t remember their schooldays as fondly…Suzanne Sharp is more interested in revenge than a reunion. Tracey made her teenage years a misery and what better way to lay the past to rest than to get payback on national television. Especially as there are a few old school secrets that Tracey probably wouldn’t want broadcast on national TV, not least of which is Tracey’s affair with her old form tutor…

This is the second Kate Harrison novel I have completed, and I really enjoyed it. I read it in a day as I was eager to know what was going to happen. The protagonist, Tracey, is looking for more enjoyment in her life. Stuck at home with two small children and a husband who is often away, and often playing away from home. When a chance to get on TV and host a class reunion comes up Tracey jumps at the chance. Her memory of school is different from others – she remembers being popular and cool, whilst others, like Suzanne Sharp remember her as a bully, and Gary remembers having his heart broken by her when he discovers that she has an affair with her form tutor.

This is an interesting book in that I didn’t favour any of the characters, but I liked the story and kept reading for that reason. It was a book I couldn’t put down – what a great storyline! It makes me wonder how people I went to school with remember our time there. Mind you – I was just a normal girl with a close group of friends, I wasn’t bullied in secondary school and I wasn’t the most popular. Tracey however, seemed to be both popular and the bully. I was interested to see how her memories differed from others. Gary didn’t want to see her and Suzanne wanted revenge. Watching the story unfold was great! It was like watching reality TV! I felt a bit sorry for Tracey when things started to crumble, but I wasn’t too gutted for her because she wasn’t the best character.

I found it fascinating reading how different people think they are received, and how they actually are. Tracey bugged me if I’m going to be honest. When she realised how she treated people she seemed to find excuses. She blamed her friend Melanie – if she hadn’t hung around with her Tracey would have been nice. I didn’t know what to make of Suzanne. She was lovely with the children but I wanted to tell her to “get over it”. She was holding onto a grudge that I thought she should let go of. I didn’t like Dave, Tracey’s husband. He cheated on his wife and didn’t really like his children. I got angry reading his character – he was just a horrible man. Although I didn’t have a favourite character, I did have feelings towards to the characters and engaged with them, which makes for a good read.

The ending was not a whole surprising but I liked how Harrison played out the reunion. It seemed realistic enough – with people remembering events and people in different ways. It was a fascinating read and an interesting look at society. There were some parts of the story that could have been focused on more, such as Tracey and her form tutor, and I think Harrison took the easy route there. Overall, however, this was a good read. This is fun chick-lit and I enjoyed it. I would give it 4/5 and will be reading more of her books in the future.

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