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A Perfect Proposal - Katie Fforde
The odd one out in an otherwise very academic family Sophie Appleby is unsure what to do with her life. Luckily, when her family packs her off to look after a rich uncle (not so secretly hoping he'll reward them handsomely) it starts her off along the right path and an adventure she never expected. After discovering at her uncles house that her family may be genuinely entitled to some money from drilling rights if they all pull together, she sets off for New York to track down the remaining members. Along the way she befriends Matilda, an elderly lady who asks Sophie to help her on her own search for a Cornish house she knew when she was younger. As accommodating as Matilda is, her Grandson Luke has his reservations but as they are made to spend more time together, might something else be developing?
Although i enjoyed the majority of the book, and the ending was as happy and as consistent at tying up loose ends as Katie Fforde's stories always are, I felt it read like it was a bit rushed and not as well done as it could've been. I felt a bit disappointed.
That said, I would still recommend this book to fans of Katie Fforde and of chick lit in general.
Sophie makes ends meet as a waitress but really wants to do something along more creative lines. Fed up with being the dogsbody in her family, she jumps at the chance to visit friend Milly in New York, where she meets Matilda. While the old lady is lovely and charming, her grandson Luke is more hostile and wants to suss out why Sophie is so keen to help Matilda on her quest to track down a part of her past. Can Sophie help the old lady or is the needle-in-a-haystack search destined to end in complete failure?
From the blurb on the back cover, you could be forgiven for assuming that the bulk of the plot takes place in New York but in reality, Sophie's visit to New York (and America in general) is quite short and much of the action takes place on her return, when Luke decides to make the trip over as part of Matilda's quest.
I liked Sophie's character on the whole and enjoyed her down to earth and practical nature. For large parts of the book I didn't really like Luke but I could understand his reasoning. Matilda is quite a rich old lady and it quickly becomes obvious that his hostility stems from his loyalty to his grandmother and that makes him more bearable. Despite her prominence in the plot, Matilda is an absent character for quite a lot of the book (excluding the US-set parts) but is a very warm-hearted and generous character, hence Luke's determination to ensure that Sophie isn't out for all she can get. Of the supporting characters, Uncle Eric (or Evil Uncle Eric as Sophie's family have secretly christened him because they haven't been able to get their hands on his money) is one of the more interesting, as is Moira, the B&B owner that Sophie and Luke encounter on Matilda's quest. Less pleasant is Ali, Luke's colleague, who doesn't seem to have any redeeming features as far as I could see and is to be honest, a bit of a bitch.
The writing style is pretty informal and veers strongly towards chick lit. It's easy to read and is written in the third person, which allows us to get an equal insight into all of the characters involved. One thing that did annoy me was the use of British 'colloquial' language by Sophie (especially when she was talking to Luke, who is American), some of which seemed quite outdated and just bizarre. From the scenes with her family, I didn't get the impression that they were supposed to be a particularly upper class family but some of these phrases made it seem as though they were and I've personally not heard anyone say half the phrases in everyday conversation. That's only a minor criticism but it did put my back up a bit.
All in all, I enjoyed this book and would recommend it if you're looking for a light and easy read.
I have recently found myself reading many of Katie Fforde books. She seems to have a easy style of writing which manages to keep your gripped. In Whsmiths at the moment you will find one of her more recent books Perfect Proposal and at the moment it is on offer for £3.99.
Sophie Apperly is the black sheep of her family, where her family are all very academic Sophie is better creatively. Her family take her for granted and soon pack her off to look after her rich uncle, which is where Sophie's journey in the story begins. While she is at Uncle Eric's she starts clearing out old letters only to find that he and some other family members have drilling rights which if they all pull together could be worth some money only thing is the member of the family who she believes has the remaining drilling rights is over in New York. It is while she is in New York on this quest that she befriends a rich elderly lady Matilda, the problem is her grandson Luke is not quite as and welcoming as Matilda. He is suspicious of Sophie he doesn't trust her when it comes to his grandma and his suspicions are only made worse when Sophie agrees to help find the old Cornish house that Matilda stayed in when she was younger back in England. Sophie is joined in England by Luke to help look for the house and to keep an eye on Sophie. Is Luke only interested in Sophie's actions when they involve his grandma or could there be more than meets the eye?
I have yet to read a book by Katie Fforde which I haven't enjoyed. What I found made this book different from the previous books which Katie Fforde has wrote is that half of the book is based in New York where as all of the books I have read of hers have all been based in the country all the way through. It was still a gripping book but you truly felt at home when she brings her characters back to the country it is in my opinion where her writing is the best. It was an easy read that had you gripped from the first chapter. There were just enough characters in this book without it getting confusing as to who is who. I loved the fact that there was a suspense factor to the story as right up until the last chapter you didn't know which way the story was going to go. Judging by the title I did think it was going to be a full on romatic book but I didn't find this the case. There was a romantic element to the book but there was so much more to the story than that. I found the book paced on evenly without having any low points to the book and I didn't feel at any point as if the boo was being rushed.
I loved our main character Sophie was she was a very down to earth girl who many people will relate to. From the beginning of this book you instantly warm to her character. It dad take me a while to get Luke's character he seemed very stand offish the first few chapters that we meet him but after a while you release it is only because he cares so strongly about his Grandma and doesn't want her getting hurt.
I would recommend this book for anyone looking for an easy, warm homely read. Anyone who is a Katie Fforde fan then read this book as it will not disappoint!
A Perfect Proposal is a fictional romance book by Author Katie Fforde. The book was released in the United Kingdom in March 2010 and so is fairly recent. The book is four hundred pages long. You can buy your copy from Amazon for just £3.41 which I think is good value for money.
Plot: Sophie's family take her for granted. So when her best friend Milly offers her a trip of a lifetime to New York, she can't resist. So, off she goes to New York. Whilst there, she meets an old lady called Matilda who happens to invite her to Connecticut for Thanksgiving. Suprising to Matilda's 'hot' grandson Luke, Sophie accepts the old lady's offer. But Luke is curious as to why Sophie wants to become friends with his elderly grandmother. He soon realises that she is genuine, and so wants to help her save her family from financial ruin. But what will he want in return? Read A Perfect Proposal to find out!
I had never heard of the author Katie Fforde until now, and so I had no idea what this book would be like. My favourite authors include Lindsey Kelk (I Heart New York, I Heart Hollywood, I Heart Paris) and Paige Toon (Johnny Be Good, Pictures of Lily, Lucy In The Sky), and so I was hoping that this book would be on the same wavelength as the ones I have mentioned above.
This book is a really good read! It is a light and fluffy read, which is very hard to put down. It is a real page turner, and liked the fact that despite it was written by an older lady (rather than the twenty-something authors you get these days), I was impressed by how up-to-date it was, especially with the mentions of twitter and so on.
I liked the main character Sophie, as I thought that she was down to earth, and so I think that a lot of readers will be able to relate to her. I felt as though I really got to know the character, and felt really sorry for her.
One thing which I liked about this book was the way that it was written. The language used was very easy to understand, which I thought was good, because it means that it is a great book to read whilst chilling out on the beach or by the pool as it does not require much thinking. I liked the short sentences as I can't bare books with long complicated sentences, so this book was good in that respect.
Apparently this book isn't as good as the rest as this author's other books, although I really enjoyed this book, and as I have not read Katie Fforde's other books, I cannot compare them. However, after this great read, I will definately reading more of this author's books.
If you like chick-lit books, then I think that you will love this book!
Thanks for reading!
March 13th 2011
xdonzx (also posted under xd-o-n-z-x on dooyoo)
I have read most of Katie Fforde's books and each and every one has proved to be enjoyable and entertaining. A Perfect Proposal comes up to the same high standard and, having just finished reading it, it has left me wanting more! Her style is very relaxed and easy going and she always creates believable characters that you can't help caring about.
A Perfect Proposal tells the story of Sophie Apperly and is set partly in the West Country and partly in New York. Because she feels unappreciated by her family, Sophie heads to New York to stay with her friend Millie, but soon bumps into Matilda, a very rich but lovely old lady. However, her grandson Luke is not quite so friendly and is openly suspicious of Sophie's motives especially when she agrees to search for an old Cornish house that Matilda once stayed in when she was a child in England. Sophie traipses down to Cornwall to try and find the house and quite unexpectedly is joined by Luke. Is his presence only because he wants to keep an eye on her or could it be something else? Also, once they find the house, will they ever agree on what's to be done about it?
A Perfect Proposal is a very easy and relaxing read that I found quite hard to put down. The story moves along at a good pace and, although a lot happens, it never feels confusing or farfetched. Katie Fforde also keeps the reader guessing right up to the very last pages about how things might turn out and she is very good at ensuring that there are no loose ends. Also, you might think that you are going to be reading about romantic gestures and wedding preparations but the proposal in question is actually something quite different.
The two main characters are hugely likeable and one can't help caring about what happens to them. I also like the way that there is such a vast contrast between Sophie, who is very homely and practical, and Luke with his large fortune and millionaire lifestyle. This leads to many misunderstandings between the two which makes for great reading. There are also many other minor characters who really made it for me too. Sophie's Great Uncle Eric has a reputation for being miserable and mean but really has a heart of gold which Sophie soon discovers. There's also Matilda, Luke's grandmother, who is very wise and is not averse to a small amount of matchmaking if she thinks that it will make her grandson happy. I kept hoping that these two wily old characters might meet up but perhaps that might happen in a sequel!
Overall I thoroughly recommend A Perfect Proposal. It is light, entertaining and will make you smile as you read it. It will also leave you wanting to read more of Katie Fforde's novels if you have not already done so.
A Perfect Proposal is currently available in hardcover on Amazon for £7.50 (August 2010). The paperback is due out in 2011 although there is a large paperback available for £11.21.
This review has previously appeared under my name at www.thebookbag.co.uk
I love reading Katie Fforde's books. They're fun, fast paced, and good escapism. She's written lots of very formulaic romantic books which are great fun to read and about nice people. Surely you can't go wrong. A Perfect Proposal is the story of Sophie Apperly, a waitress who wants to be a tailor, but with many obstacles in her way, not least of which is her tiresome family, her dear Uncle Eric with his haphazard finances and the mission set her by a new friend. It apparently takes a while to get going compared to other Katie Fforde books, and has a surprising start, telling us all about her large and "fiercely academic" family and introducing Sophie as a slightly pathetic daughter.
Unfortunately, as I read on, I found that it didn't just take a while to get going, it never did. I found the book entirely lacking in momentum, which is very unusual for a Katie Fforde. In fact, I would go so far as to say the book was utterly boring, and will explain why.
By the time Sophie has gone to New York to live with her friend Milly, what you're hoping is that here will be introduced the usual "arrogant but devastatingly handsome" male character with a monosyllabic name such as Ben or Tom and Sophie's quest, e.g. renovate a stately home, rescue the family business, or set up home on a barge. These are the usual missions of our awfully kind and terribly well-spoken characters. However, neither of those things are really established.
In New York Sophie meets the wondrous Matilda, an excessively rich but fun pensioner, whom she becomes fast friends with, and her bolshy grandson Luke. Alas, although there is no doubt that Luke fulfills the criteria of being good-looking, rich and arrogant, he is an entirely flat character. He just isn't interesting: he barely says anything, for goodness' sake, and there doesn't seem to be any chemistry between him and Sophie. This isn't something that we would expect Katie Fforde to neglect, really, so I don't know why that seems to be missing. Perhaps the big differences between them is supposed to make the book more interesting, and perhaps it does, but I wasn't interested, I'm afraid.
Furthermore, what is Sophie's quest? It may be one of various things: to get away from her family so that they can understand how much they rely on her, to make her family's fortune by discovering the drilling rights they may be entitled to in America, to find a house in Cornwall that Matilda grew up in or to set up a tailoring business so she doesn't have to carry on being a waitress all her life. And where is this quest set? In New York, in Cornwall, in her home?
So which is it? I can honestly say I have no idea which Katie Fforde intended to be the main plot. They all feel like sub-plots to something big. The whole way through, you're expecting Luke to say "I need you to run a literary festival for me", or Matilda to say "this house looks nice but in fact it's falling apart at the seams, perhaps you could renovate it for me", or Uncle Eric to say "set up a tailoring business in my home, and I'll buy you a narrow boat". But none of these things happen, unfortunately, and all that you're left with is a series of sub-plots which are subordinate to absolutely nothing. They all feel as unimportant as each other, and none interests the reader enough to make it a book that you'll come back to excited.
I'm speculating here, but I can only imagine that Katie Fforde's publishers asked for another book, but she didn't have any ideas. So someone just suggested that she set it in New York like every other chick-lit author does, and when she tried, she found that it wasn't really working for her. She's better at writing books set in the country, usually accompanied by a rugged bloke and a cosy Rayburn. So she tried to make the book set in both, but I think that just made it worse. She obviously tried to make something of Luke being an American in a strange country when he visits Cornwall, but we get a bit tired of the "oh he doesn't know what tomato ketchup is, bless him".
Thus, the reader doesn't really have any firm idea of setting or plot or character, perhaps because the writer doesn't either. You may get an idea of this from its rather unspecific title and cover. This may seem harsh, and the book isn't as terrible as I might be making it sound, but I'm trying to account for why A Perfect Proposal is a disjointed and slow read compared to Katie Fforde's other books.
There are good things about it, such as the character Uncle Eric who is very funny and adorable, and the character Matilda who is spirited enough to keep the story going. Fforde did manage to throw a Rayburn in there as well, bless her, and the books is markedly better when Sophie's back in England. I think that Katie Fforde was brave to break with her mold, and parts of it were interesting, therefore. However, I was disappointed by the book in general, and hope that she thinks of something more interesting to write about next time. I'm sorry, I really am, I just didn't like it.
You can buy this book for £7 in tesco, or £5.99 on amazon.co.uk. Its RRP is £14.99 so don't be going to Waterstones!
Sophie Apperly is the unintentional black sheep of her family, she isn't an academic like them, and all they seem to do is boss her around, leaving her with little choice but to do as they please. However, after they send her off to look after her Uncle Eric, Sophie realises her family are nothing but greedy money-grabbers so when her best friend Milly invites her to New York, Sophie jumps at the chance. Sophie loves being in New York and her holiday gets even better when she unintentionally befriends a spirited old British lady called Matilda. The only person not happy with Sophie's relationship with Matilda is Luke, Matilda's grandson because he believes Sophie to be nothing more than a chancer trying to get one over on his grandmother. After Sophie is invited to Thanksgiving, though, Luke is forced to concede Sophie will be there and tries to befriend her, but not without first asking Sophie for a favour of his own...
I am a huge, huge fan of Katie Fforde's books and there's only three of her books I have yet to read out of 16, which means I've read an impressive 13 of Katie's books. Even better, I've enjoyed every single one I've read; some have been better than others yes, but overall they've all been solid 4 or 5 out of 5 reads. I knew that Katie's newest book A Perfect Proposal was a bit different to her previous reads because it would be the first of Katie's books to be set on both sides of the Atlantic and I was really looking forward to it as I love books set in America, particularly from British writers's perspectives so I was pleased to eventually receive a copy to read!
I mentioned in my Love Letters review that Katie appears to have a tried and tested formula that she uses for all of her books; the heroine of the book manages to get herself into a pickle of some sort, usually in the form of having to save something, meets the man she's destined to fall in love with at some point, they don't get along at the start but it all ends up rosy before something inevitably breaks them apart. After all, if it ain't broke, don't fix it and 13 books in I have yet to be bothered about the way in which Katie writes her books, in fact I like the fact they all follow the same format, it's rather comfortable and at least I know what I'm getting from Katie. It might be predictable and some people might not like it but it works for me and as long as Katie keeps writing books, I will keep reading them.
A Perfect Proposal does not break Katie's writing mould and I thoroughly enjoyed the read. Surprisingly, the blurb of the book makes it seem as if the entire plot revolves around Sophie's visit to New York which isn't totally right. The visit to New York does change Sophie's life drastically but Sophie is actually only in New York for a short period of the book, around 50 pages or so. As I said, Sophie's visit to New York does change her life because she meets the lovely Matilda who sends Sophie on a quest to find a house in Cornwall. Added to the fact is Sophie is on her own quest to find out about some drilling rights that may have been bequeathed to her family years ago. Thrown into the mix Matilda's maddening grandson Luke and Sophie's in a bit of a pickle. It was great though and I enjoyed having it all unravelling and coming together.
I have to admit that it took me a while to warm to Sophie; for the first part of the book all she seems to do is act like a doormat. She meekly does whatever it is her family requests, then she sets about being some kind of servant when it comes to looking after her Uncle. She then proceeds to do this regularly throughout the book; bending over backwards to make sure the men in her life is well fed and looked after. It grates a bit but I did eventually warm to Sophie because even if she was a bit of a doormat, she was lovely especially compared to her horrid family. I liked Luke, he was a rather typical Fforde hero, himself and Sophie had lots of ups and downs and what not but we all knew how it was going to end. My absolute favourite character though was Matilda, the lady Sophie befriends and Luke's grandmother. She had so much spirit and so much vibrancy and I wish she had appeared on every page of the book. There were a few more characters, namely Sophie's family, but the less said about them the better, excluding Sophie's Uncle Eric who was a great character.
Katie Fforde's writing style is rather old fashioned compared to most chick lit authors. That's not a slight in any way as I rather love her writing style. Some words and sentences are a bit different to ones you usually read and aren't totally to my taste but on the whole I love the way Katie writes. I suppose my only problem with the book was that, for the first half of the book, I didn't feel it between Sophie and Luke. It really takes off though in the second half and I raced to the finish, desperate to know how it would all end. Katie really excels in the endings of her books, I've loved all of them so far and A Perfect Proposal was no different whatsoever. A Perfect Proposal is a must-read for all of Katie's fans, it's probably not my favourite of Katie's books (that honour goes to Highland Fling and Paradise Fields) but it was still good enough and I look forward to Katie's next offering.