I have mentioned in previous reviews that I recently went to my local library to stock up on some novels, all chick lit I might add, as an attempt to pass the time, as I await the birth of baby number 1. One of the novels that I picked up that was a little bit of a risk, given that I didn't remember ever having heard of the author before, was this book 'A Funny Thing About Love' by Rebecca Farnworth.
This novel follows the highs and lows of Carmen Miller, who at the beginning of the book is in an unfufilling job as a comedy agent, working for a terrible corporate female boss. The only bonuses are some of the other people that she works alongside such as the flirty Will, Trish the secretary and a Matthew, who unfortunately is retiring. It isn't just work however that Carmen has to contend with, as her ex husband Nick, announces to her that he is expecting a baby with his new girlfriend, who he hasn't been seeing for very long. What really hurts Carmen however is that fact that her marital breakdown is a result of her inability to have children, a fact that she keeps mostly to herself as a secret heartache. With this news, plus a negative appraisal from her boss, Carmen decides she has had enough and decides to leave her job, and write her own comedy TV show. Her relationship with Will is very up and down, although always very flirty, that is until she meets some of his friends and becomes rather defensive and rude, leaving Will wondering what on earth is wrong with her. When she finds out that she has to sell her flat as well, in order to give Nick some money to put towards the new baby, she is at her wits end, until her gay best friend, comedian Marcus, lets her stay rent free in his flat in Brighton where she can get away from everything and get down to some serious writing. However, things don't always work out that way, and in Brighton, there are distractions such as good friend Jess who seems to be becoming an alcoholic right in front of her eyes, as well as charming and beautiful Daniel, a dad of one, who has been left to bring up his daughter by his ex wife who has fled to America. The funny thing is however, that as much as she likes Daniel, and he claims to like her, she really doesn't think that he knows her that well, and when his ex wife turns up with the intention to stay, Carmen decides it maybe isn't the wisest relationship after all, but in regards to Will, who she keeps bumping into, she isn't quite sure what his intentions are either.
I really liked this novel. I found it very easy to read without having to think a lot, and to be honest that for me is all I am looking for when it comes to chick lit. There were enough subplots going on to keep the readers attention, both in London and in Brighton, as well as an array of characters, all of whom had their own personalities and all of which seemed like believeable people. The flirty relationship between Will and Carmen, reminded me on the relationship between Bridget Jones and her boss Daniel Cleaver, and you couldn't help liking Will and his persistance at trying to entice Carmen. I wouldn't say this book was funny, but then again, it doesn't claim to be. There is enough chick lit romance to keep everyone happy with both male leads, and you do feel for Carmen with the secret she carries around of her inability to have children, which probably means more to her than it does to others.
All in all, I intend to keep an eye out for more books by Rebecca Farnworth if this novel is anything to go by. I found myself happily reading on pages and pages and not getting distracted, so definitely one for chick lit lovers as well as those not really wanting to have to think about what they are reading!
A Funny Thing About Love is Rebecca Farnworth's first novel in her own name although she has previously written very successfully as a ghost writer. This book is very likeable and appealing with a funny and warm main character. It was a book that I enjoyed from start to finish and I will definitely keep an eye out for any further offerings from this author.
When the reader first meets Carmen Miller she is struggling to cope with the breakup of her marriage whilst not really enjoying her job as a comedy agent. Her boss always seems to find fault with her and she soon discovers that her ex husband's girlfriend is pregnant which comes as quite devastating news. The only thing that lightens up her days is the flirtatious banter that takes place between herself and her colleague Will. The problem is though that she is afraid of taking things further and eventually being hurt as she knows too well what that is like.
When things come to a head at work, she resigns and moves to Brighton in order to finally write the situation comedy that she has been thinking about for years. There she meets the devilishly handsome Daniel and his young daughter Millie and things look all set to be perfect. Sometimes though, Daniel's behaviour puzzles her and she can't help wondering whether he has really got over his ex wife leaving and whether he feels strongly enough about Carmen. Then of course, there's always Will...
I really enjoyed A Funny Thing about Love. The story held my attention from start to finish and moved along at a good pace. The main storyline is based on Carmen's unfortunate love life but there are a number of interesting sub plots as well which allows the author to introduce an array of charming and entertaining characters. Carmen is a fabulous main character whom it is so easy to identify with. She is funny and entertaining but she is also thoughtful and clever. Maybe she makes a few bad decisions as far as her love life is concerned but who hasn't?
Although I would describe this book as a light read there are some thought provoking storylines too such as Carmen's fertility problems and her friend Jess's drinking. These issues are dealt with sensitively without allowing the feel of the book to become too sombre. Overall this is a well written book with much humour concerning a topic that most women will easily identify with. It is probably a little predictable in places but I didn't mind at all. In fact I liked to be proved right when guessing what was going to happen next.
The book can currently be found on Amazon for £4.28 (November 2010).
This review has previously appeared under my name at www.thebookbag.co.uk
Carmen Miller thought she was set up in her life - she has a good job at a comedy agency, she has a great flirty banter with Will from her office who she's pretty sure likes her too, and she has a great group of friends. However, when her ex-husband gives her a call to say his new girlfriend is pregnant, Carmen starts to feel like she's losing control of her life a little bit. When she's offered the chance to move to Brighton, Carmen grabs it with both hands hoping a fresh start is just what she needs. When there, she bumps into single dad Daniel and is immediately smitten... however, Carmen's hiding a big secret that she is sure will jeopardise the future of her relationship with Daniel, and any other men she might meet too. Just what is Carmen hiding that she thinks is so bad, and will Carmen's life in Brighton be the barrel of laughs she is longing for?
I first came across Rebecca Farnworth when I found out that she was the ghostwriter for Katie Price's female fiction which is quite successful, and I have actually a few of those books too so when she brought out Valentine last year, I was really looking forward to it and luckily I loved it and thought it was one of the great summer reads of 2009. Rebecca is back this summer with her new book, A Funny Thing About Love, so when I was given the chance to review it, I jumped at the chance because I had loved Valentine so much. Would Rebecca be as successful in her second outing?
I have to confess that sadly I didn't think this book matched up to Valentine in any way, shape or form. I didn't warm to the main character of Carmen in the way that I did to Valentine, and I think that's where my real problem with the book was. Yes, Carmen has her own serious problems that are well covered in the book by Farnworth, but I just found her a little too bland to carry the book as far as it needed to go, and I found myself losing interest in Carmen and her ways at various points throughout the book. I found her "will they, won't they" relationship with Will a tad annoying, and her dalliance with Daniel was even worse if that's possible.
The book begins in London but around 1/4 of the way through, it moves over to Brighton where it remains for the rest of the book. I actually found the scenes set in London were really funny and good, I liked the characters such as Will, Tessa and Carmen's other friends, yet I found when it moved to Brighton, it just seemed to get a bit bland and dull. Farnworth brings in Daniel, Viola and others to try and make it interesting but it just didn't work for me because I found them quite annoying and they seemed to not fit in with Carmen either. It was a shame because from around 1/3 in to the book, I found my attention waning and it seemed like the story was just going through the motions rather than aiming to get anywhere.
There was a good storyline within the main book and that was Carmen's secret to do with children. I don't want to say too much as I don't really want to give too much away for those who want to read this book, but I thought this particular story was well written, and Farnworth handled it really well, with sensitivity and feeling that really comes across to the reader as you progress through. We also see how it affects Carmen too, which is interesting because that then moves into her relationships with the other characters in the book, and I felt this part of the book was very well done, and it's a shame the rest of the book doesn't match up to this.
Sadly for me, this was one book that was a bit of a disappointment. Having loved Valentine, I was really hoping that this would be just as good, but sadly I found it a bit bland and far too predictable for the most part. I hate it when chick-lit books live up to the expectation that critics have for them and this is one book that does just that. There was nothing much memorable about it for me, the characters - especially Carmen - weren't particularly nice or interesting to read about, and I just carried on to the end so I could applaud myself for knowing exactly how it would end. A real shame.
ISBN: 978-0099527183. Published by Arrow in August 2010. RRP: £6.99.
Thank you to the publishers for sending me a copy to review for http://chicklitreviews.com
Thank you for reading.