THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS!
Addition:
Kindle e-book

Genre: Chick-lit

Rating: 4 out 5

Synopsis:

Sophie Apperly’s family has never taken her seriously. Fiercely academic, they see her more practical skills as frivolous whilst constantly taking advantage of her. So when her best friend Milly invites her over to New York, she jumps at the chance. It’ll do her ungrateful family good to do without her for a while. What s more, she’s on a quest America holds the key to solving her family’s financial woes, even if they don’t deserve her help.

From the moment Sophie hits the bright lights of Manhattan she’s determined to enjoy every minute of her big adventure. So when an evening at an art gallery throws her into the path of Matilda, a spirited old lady who invites her to Connecticut for Thanksgiving, Sophie willingly accepts, much to the dismay of Matilda’s grandson Luke. Undeniably attractive but infuriatingly arrogant, he is very protective of his grandmother and seems to doubt Sophie’s motives for befriending her. No match for the formidable Matilda, he eventually admits defeat, but first he has a proposal to make. He’ll help Sophie in her quest to save her family from financial ruin if she repays the favour. But just what does she have to do in return…?

I really enjoy Katie FForde books, and this one did not let me down. The story follows Sophie, a young woman who is bossed around and taken advantage of by her family. Although clever, she is the only member of her family that has not gone into further education so her family think less of her. She is expected to cook, clean and run around after them. Her family are gold-diggers, desperate to get their hands on more money. They have a rich uncle – an older man called Eric, affectionately known as “Evil Uncle Eric” to the family. They ship Sophie off to look after him in the hope to make it into his will, but when she gets there she discovers he isn’t evil at all. Before she goes makes the decision to go to New York afterwards, and while she is at Eric’s she discovers that the family might be intitled to money from drilling-rights, but that will mean she has to do some investigating in New York. When she gets to New York, she meets Matilda, an elderly lady originally from Cornwall. She befriends Matilda, who invites her to spend Thanksgiving with her and her family. The problem is her suspicious grandson Luke, who doesn’t trust Sophie as far as he can throw her. Yet Matilda has a little mission for Sophie when she gets back to England – to find a house she used to love as a child. Luke has to come across the Atlantic for some work so he helps Sophie look. sparks start to fly until Amy, Luke’s assistant turns up and whips him away with lies about Sophie’s love life. Sophie finds the house and spends several weeks emailing Matilda and trying to forget Luke, until she is summoned to Cornwall – along with him – to look at the house again. Matilda makes a surprise visit to Cornwall to ensure that her crafty plan of getting them together works!

This is a lovely book – well written and gripping. I couldn’t put this book down, and read most of it in a day! Katie Fforde is a brilliant author – she writes characters that you enjoy reading about, or get very angry at and she writes plots that keep you gripped. This is a typical chick-lit novel – the main characters start to fall for each other, something drives them apart, and then they make up and end up together. I didn’t mind that at all – once you have read enough chick-lit books I find it stops being about the fact they will end up together, it is more about how they get to that point. I like the lead up to the conclusion and this one was full of adventure and fun characters! Sometimes chick-lit can be bland, but this one had adventure – like flash floods and getting stranded in storms – events which increased the pace of the read to keep the reader on their toes and hooked to the story.

What I especially liked about this book is that I found myself getting emotionally involved. I liked Sophie – I felt for her as she pandered to her family’s demands and felt such sympathy when they were rude and condescending towards to her. I loved Uncle Eric! What a brilliant character! He was old and not politically correct – saying some outrageous things! He also had a soft side and loved Sophie, which was lovely to read. I loved Matilda as well – a strong-willed older lady, but so affectionate. I particularly loved that she was an old lady who used email! Luke had to grow on me, but by the end I liked him too. What I particularly liked about this book is that I found myself disliking some of the characters too! I really didn’t like Amy – I so wanted to shout at her!! I enjoy a book where I find myself involved and not always liking the characters – it feels more realistic.

I really enjoyed this book. I was gripped from the beginning and read this almost in one sitting. I was satisfied with the ending and liked the twists and turns that led up to it. I was surprised that the majority of the story was based in England, I was expecting it to mostly be in New York – but I didn’t mind that. This is a well written chick-lit novel – a really good read.

Share on Facebook

Synopsis:

A captivating new saga set in Liverpool and Ireland, from the bestselling author of DAYS OF HOPE and FAR FROM HOME Angela O’Rourke is six when her parents hand her over to an aunt and uncle in a distant village. It’s a common practice for large, hard-up families in 1950s Ireland, but for Angela it means that her mother and father don’t love her any more. Still, she’s well cared for till she’s sixteen, when her uncle starts to take too much of an interest in her. Moving to Liverpool in the early 1960s, she becomes a success in the world of fashion design. The pain of a disastrous love affair sends her home to Ireland just after the death of her aunt: and there, among old papers, Angela makes an astonishing discovery. As she learns the truth about the past, a brighter new future beckons.

This is the first Lyn Andrews novel that I have read and I enjoyed it. The book begins in Ireland, where Angela’s parents are too poor to keep her. Devote Catholics, they have a lot of children, and another is on the way. Angela’s dad is struggling to find work, so they make the decision to send Angela off to live with her Aunt Mary. Her aunt gives her a good life, but Angela misses her family and resents them for sending her away. Life is OK until her Uncle starts drinking. Life becomes unsafe for her. Then her best friend Emer leaves for America – this is the motivation Angela needs to start thinking about leaving. She works hard and is accepted to do nursing at Liverpool. She moves away – to the anger of her uncle, but soon learns that the academic side of nursing is too much for her. By chance she meets Rox and her family. Whilst with them she has the courage to leave nursing and start her own business in fashion design. For a long time she is happy without a man, but then she falls in love. However, her boyfriend is not a nice guy and result is a broken heart. Shortly after this she has to return to Ireland because her aunt is seriously ill. After her aunt dies she discovers papers that had been hidden from her all her life. This startlingly discovery changes her life and her outlook on family.

This is a very simple read – the language is not difficult and the story is not complicated. I read the majority of this book in one day. It was interesting, fun and engaging. The characters were believable and most of them I liked! The story is set in the 1960s and I felt that life in this time was depicted well. The poverty and the contrast between people and countries was astonishing but also realistic. This did mean there were heartbreaking moments in this book, like at the beginning when a six year old Angela learns she is being sent to live somewhere else.

I liked Angela, although I’m not convinced she would of had such a successful business simply because she was a woman, and in the 1960s it was a male dominated world. However, I liked her determination and her caring heart. She worked hard and was selfless. She understands poverty and when the chance to help out others arises she takes it, helping to pull others out of hardship. My other favourite character was Rox. I loved her shopping obsession! She was cool, chic and stylish, yet had a big heart. When Angela needed her she was there, and helped her through some tough situations.

This was a nice read and I enjoyed it. I’m happy to recommend this book to others and I will be looking out for other Lyn Andrews books. The ending was a bit of a disappoint – the cliff hanger, where we wonder what will happen to Angela, I wanted the book to keep going so I could find out how Angela’s life would change. That is probably my only complaint with the book.

This is simple chick-lit and I would recommend it to those who like a good girly book. 4/5 from me.

Share on Facebook

Synopsis:

The Bell Jar tells the story of a gifted young woman’s mental breakdown beginning during a summer internship as a junior editor at a magazine in New York City in the early 1950s. The real Plath committed suicide in 1963 and left behind this scathingly sad, honest and perfectly-written book, which remains one of the best-told tales of a woman’s descent into insanity.

I chose to read this book because it is on the Rory Gilmore Reading List. I wasn’t sure what to expect as this is a hard subject to sensitively write about. However, I think Sylvia Plath did a super job. Of course, that might be because she did really commit suicide.

The book is about Esther, a girl who moves to New York to work as a junior editor at a magazine. She experiences all sorts in New York, from the realisation that not all men are nice, to extreme food poisoning, by someone set on killing the magazine staff. Her downward spiral starts here, but gets worse when she moves home and can’t get a job. She is stuck at home, sharing a bedroom with her always-pleasant mother. It is here that Esther has her breakdown, and tries to kill herself. The result is her ending up in hospital, where she experiences shock-therapy and has to cope with the death of people she knows.

This book is enjoyable – if that is the right word. It is unsettling, and will haunt me for a long time I think. There are some images which will be hard to erase, but that does not spoil the book. It is not an easy topic to read but it is well written and I found myself wanting to keep reading more, to find out what happened.

Esther was a character I found myself liking, and I didn’t like watching her slip down the road of depression and suicide. I really wanted her to be OK. There were aspects of her situation I found myself relating to, and a few years ago I would not have been able to read this book. I wasn’t bothered by the other characters – it was all about Esther and what happened to her for me.

This is a very sensitive issue and I would approach this book with caution if mental health issues are close to you. That said, in my current mindset I enjoyed this book.

Share on Facebook

Synopsis:

The Catcher in Rye is the ultimate novel for disaffected youth, but it’s relevant to all ages. The story is told by Holden Caulfield, a seventeen- year-old dropout who has just been kicked out of his fourth school. Throughout, Holden dissects the ‘phony’ aspects of society, and the ‘phonies’ themselves: the headmaster whose affability depends on the wealth of the parents, his roommate who scores with girls using sickly-sweet affection. Lazy in style, full of slang and swear words, it’s a novel whose interest and appeal comes from its observations rather than its plot intrigues (in conventional terms, there is hardly any plot at all). Salinger’s style creates an effect of conversation, it is as though Holden is speaking to you personally, as though you too have seen through the pretences of the American Dream and are growing up unable to see the point of living in, or contributing to, the society around you. Written with the clarity of a boy leaving childhood, it deals with society, love, loss, and expectations without ever falling into the clutch of a cliche.

What an interesting book. Very engaging but short – only 200 pages. The book is narrated by Holden Caulfield, who has just been kicked out of school – the fourth one in a row. He talks about experiences he has at school, with the people he shared the dormitory with; his experience in New York, including trying to get served in bars, going to the theatre and getting in cabs; his experience with his family, especially his wise younger sister Phoebe; and his discovery of sex and homosexuality. The book is ambigous in places, adding depth to the story.

Holden is an interesting character. He unpicks life, he is so negative. Everything is “phoney” or wants to make him “puke”. This is an interesting look at the American Dream – he seems to believe it doesn’t exist, that it is a simple idea that makes people act in a false manner.

My favourite character was Phoebe, the sister. She was important to Holden – spoken about regularly as he missed her. When he speaks to her she seems very wise and caring, as well likable and lovely.

I enjoyed this book. It was easy to read, with many issues to think over. Although Holden does not like anything, he still makes an interesting read. This book is well worth reading.

8/10

Share on Facebook