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Harry knows that a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle, but she also knows there's a difference between what we need and what we want - and she wants a bloke. More specifically, she wants a date for the latest in a string of friend-and-family weddings, a wedding where, thanks to a 'tricky' seating plan, she will be sitting on the same table as her most recent ex...and his new girlfriend. With no prospects in sight, Harry comes to the conclusion that internet dating might be the way to go. At best, she'll find a guy who ticks all her boxes and will joyfully accompany her to the wedding before they live happily ever after, and at worst, well, she might get a story out of it, never a bad thing for a magazine journo.
There are lots of elements to this story that are not especially new. 'Hilarious' tales of internet dating have been done before. The story of a girl being the last singleton still standing was told many times before Bridget Jones and on numerous occasions since then. Even the idea of our heroine working at a magazine has been used repeatedly, probably because that's where so many authors themselves start out, so is familiar territory. And yet, nothing about this story struck me as a re-hashing of anything I've read before. It was not predictable, nor was it outrageously unrealistic. It took some real world situations but put a delightful new spin on them. Catapulted into Harry's inner circle from the start, you accompany her on the highs and lows of her search for a soul mate, or at least a wedding date.
I found 'A Date In Your Diary' a funny and cheering read which lifted my spirits during a seven hour flight delay and subsequent long haul flight. It was hard not to be swept along with the story, as the book is a superb, easy read, and Harry's narration friendly and matter-of-fact. It's a book anyone will relate to, whether they're currently happily (or unhappily) single or a smug married, and that's the real secret of its success. I also liked the setting - mainly Bath, with some jaunts further afield - and the way work, family, friends and the search for said wedding date knitted seamlessly together into a neat, fast-paced story. Throw in some authentic characters you can't help but empathise with, add in some intriguing plot twists and just the right amount of drama, and you have a highly recommended novel that I for one will be re-reading in the future.
This review first appeared on www.thebookbag.co.uk