UK Publisher: self-published (from what I can establish)
Genre: Romance, chick lit
I downloaded this book because the author was giving it away for free, and I thought it looked like fun. Amazon says it is published by SSO Publishing, but I can find no record of that as a publisher, so I am assuming that is the name for self published works on Amazon. In light of this, I was impressed that the author has written a full series, and the covers and author website are high quality.
The book follows shoe designer Clara Andrews as she tries to find romance, torn between the handsome bartender George or her dashing boss Oliver. Much as I enjoy a nice fluffy romance, I am not a fan of the love triangle as a plot device, particularly when the end choice is obvious from the start. I also found that there was a lot of telling rather than showing of the chemistry between the characters.
Clara spends a lot of time talking about how Oliver manages to get under her skin, but there isn’t much evidence of this. In fact, when she first thinks this they have barely exchanged ten sentences, and everything he has said has been fairly straightforward and polite. As such, I was never hugely invested in the relationship.
I wasn’t entirely keen on the first person present tense narrative style, which meant we seemed to get a lot of information that slowed the story down – including a surprising number of toilet trips. Bits of it felt like it was pointedly trying to be British, whilst others rang a little false for me (I’ve managed to wrangle a few first class train trips, for example, and never once been specifically greeted by name and escorted to my seat – not even on Virgin). The resolution of the love triangle bothered me as well – it turns out Oliver and George both know each other. George tells Oliver that he and Clara slept together, and Oliver breaks it off because he thinks Clara is playing around. Except – even if Clara had slept with George, Oliver had no right to be angry, because at that stage Oliver and Clara weren’t dating – they were flirty work colleagues. George gets angry that Clara has decided to see Oliver, after a grand total of two dates.
Frankly, at that stage I was waiting for Clara to tell both of them to jog on – George for lying, and Oliver for being overbearing and possessive, judgemental of her life when it had nothing to do with him. When Oliver revealed what George had told him, after a weekend’s sulky radio silence, I was expecting righteous anger from Clara, not feeble begging for forgiveness. I was furious with the pair of them, so I found the resolution frustrating and underwhelming.
That said, it was a lightweight and fluffy read, and it didn’t pretend to be anything more than it was. Whilst it wasn’t entirely for me, it would be a perfect holiday read if you like easy romances. The first book is still free on Amazon.co.uk, and the others are between 99p and £2.99, which is nicely priced if you want a set of relaxing quick reads
- I found the characters a bit flat, the plot a little predictable, and wasn’t keen on the narrative style, but it was generally an easy read, good for turning your brain off.
- Honestly, thinking about the resolution still makes me a little angry, why Clara didn’t tell Oliver to go boil his head the minute he started getting shirty over her life before they were even together I don’t even know, which clearly shows I was invested in the characters.
- This is definitely ideal if you like light, fluffy chick-lit, if you want something with a slightly stronger female lead, one who might be more inclined to point out hypocrisy in relationships, then maybe it will not be for you.
Rating: 3/5 – It didn’t do it for me, but I was generally impressed with this for a self-published book and if you like chick lit and want an easy holiday read.