March 21, 2011The Love of Her Life by Harriet Evans
I had five hours waiting at the Phoenix airport yesterday, plus my flight back home, so I easily finished this book in one day. Asusual, it takes about 100 pages to get into the meat of the plot, but once I was in, wow! I was NOT expecting some of the twists and turns and there were times when I found myself tearing up a bit as the tragedies unfolded. I hesitate to even call this chick lit because while there was some fluffiness and "that guy," once you find out what happened to Kate, it's not so fluffy anymore. I liked the use of flashbacks to lay out what happened and bringing us back to the present, helping us figure out why Kate interacts the way she does with everyone.
That said, I feel like there were ways that the book could have been tightened up, especially in the beginning because I sat there thinking "just get TO IT already" in the first few chapters with all the "mystery" surrounding Kate's return to London. I also thought the ending was a little unsatisfying. Well, not how things end up, but we get a fantastic moment and then it just sorta peters out. The last chapter feels very tacked on and I didn't really understand its purpose.
I've requested her latest book from interlibrary loan because this was the perfect antidote to Ms. Townley's Jessica Wild.
I almost stopped reading this book in the first chapter because the main character was just being too ridiculous. She's having dinner with her husband, her mother and her mother's fiance and they are all talking about the ideal spouse or what makes the perfect wife. Her husband of a year says he thinks she's perfect with a kiss and suddenly, Jessica thinks he actually thinks she's perfect (seriously, all evidence to the contrary aside!) and so she needs to actually be perfect so he won't get mad when he finds out that she kissed that other guy in the last book. Seriously, as a grown woman, that's her thought process.
Luckily, it's a super quick read and I finished it in the hour plane ride from San Francisco to San Diego. There's a lot of "wacky hijinks" involving some of her other friends and colleagues, but none of it very memorable. I've got two more Gemma Townley books waiting for me at home, but I'm still debating on whether or not to read them. I really liked the last one I read, but this series has really soured me on her as an author.
I had a co-worker once that couldn't watch most movies or sitcoms because she couldn't deal with the "hilarious" miscommunications that lead to many plots. She definitely hated Three's Company. Reading these "Wild" books, I'm coming around to her line of thinking. I mean, I understand that no one is perfect and I definitely understand that the issues at play here are more serious than the first book. But yegods, it's hard to watch Ms. Wild spinning out of control during the first third of the book when she could have a simple conversation with her fiance and ask him a simple question. Right, I know, no drama and the book would have no plot, but it just makes me want to scream. If she can't get through one "suspicious" phone call without acting like a spoiled child, then she really isn't ready to get married.
And spoilers ahead because I really can't discuss my main quibble with this book without them. Sorry!
While Jessica is out getting drunk with Hugh, they have this conversation:
"No," I said seriously. "They won't. They're going to be busy now that Jarvis is..." I stopped suddenly.
Later down the page, the conversation stops with "My lips are sealed." So unless Jess got chatty about this supposed merger during the page turn between that night and the next morning, how the hell did Hugh know about it? Seems more likely to me that he started doing back channel research and found it that way. Don't understand why Jessica is so sure it was her, even after she found out that she didn't sleep with Hugh. That part just made no sense to me.
I also wasn't sure why everyone was all up on Jessica for not immediately loving her mother who thought it was better that Jessica think she DIED than actually raise her. Especially knowing how her mother (Jessica's grandmother) was and how Jessica would be raised. And perhaps, I've seen too much Law & Order, but I had a hard time believing everyone was just on board that this random stranger was Jessica's mother without a DNA test, especially when Jessica started writing hundred thousand pound checks. The biggest twist to me was that Esther really was Jessica's mother and not a grifter!
Anyway, plot nit-picking aside, it was a super quick read and I'm still ready to read the last in the trilogy tonight.
March 13, 2011The Importance of Being Married by Gemma Townley
I started this book in earnest yesterday, but read most of it in one sitting today. Though the initial premise is a little out there and could be solved by one honest conversation in the second chapter, it was a fun read.
I didn't see all the twists coming, which was a nice surprise. I do wish I felt like I actually knew more about the main character. I know all the things that Jessica Wild is NOT because the author went to great lengths to point that out at every turn. But who she is before this Project Marriage, I'm not sure. I guess we'll never know.
That said, I really did enjoy the friendship between Helen and Jessica as well as some of the folks that Helen brings to Jessica to assist in the Project. You could see who she ends up with from a mile away, but it was an interesting journey to get to that point.
Plan to start the next book in the trilogy at the spa tomorrow while I'm getting my monthly pedicure. Hope it's as fun and as quick a read as this one was.