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As many of you will know, I do love a good read, whether it be a chick-lit book, a magazine or an autobiography, I've always got my nose in some kind of 'reading'. I had a week off work the other work, and so I did a fair bit of reading (lots of book reviews on the way!!). Today, I will be reviewing one of my recent reads by an author called Milly Johnson.
A Spring Affair is a chick-lit book which was released in the United Kingdom in 2009. The book is four hundred and forty eight pages long. You can buy your copy of this book from Amazon for a price of £3.76 which I think is great value for money.
This book: At the dentist, Lou picks up an old magazing. Flicking through it, she spots a 'cleaning ad', which inspires her to have a spring clean. What will she discover? Who will she fall for? Read A Spring Affair to find out!
I really enjoyed this plot!! I liked everything about it, the plot, the characters and the way it was written.
I loved this book so much that I found it really hard to put down! It is a real page-turner, and I kept on having to turn the page! This book is a great girlie read which means that it would make a great beach/by the pool read.
I liked the character Lou as she came across as really sweet and down to earth. I felt sorry for her to begin with, and so I was very happy with the ending. I am the kind of person who finds cleaning/tidying up therapeautic and so I could relate to the main character in the book really well.
I found that when I finished reading this book, I felt good and positive, as though I could achieve anything which is a good think!
If you are a chick-lit fan then I would definately recommend this book to you!!
Thanks for reading!
February 11th 2011
xd-o-n-z-x (also posted under xdonzx on ciao)
When Lou Winter picks up a dog-eared magazine in the dentist's waiting room and spots an article about clearing clutter, she little realises how it will change her life. What begins as an earnest spring clean soon spirals out of control. Before long Lou is hiring skips in which to dump the copious amounts of junk she never knew she had. Lou's loved ones grow disgruntled. Why is clearing out cupboards suddenly more important than making his breakfast, her husband Phil wonders? The truth is, the more rubbish Lou lets go of, the more light and air can get to those painful, closed-up places at the centre of her heart: the love waiting for a baby she would never have, the empty space her best friend Deb once occupied, and the gaping wound left by her husband's affair. Even lovely Tom Broom, the man who delivers Lou's skips, starts to grow concerned about his sweetest customer. But Lou is a woman on a mission, and not even she knows where it will end ... (Product Description - Pocket Books)
When I was pregnant last summer I got a bit obsessed with de-cluttering. I'm not entirely sure why as I have never been particularly organised. I loved the feeling that came with it. When I stumbled across this book and read the bit about 'clearing clutter' in the product description I knew I wanted to read it. I am so glad I did!
The main character Lou Winter is the ultimate downtrodden, under the thumb middle aged wife who's one goal in life is to make her husband's life as perfect as possible; the husband being, Mr Phil Winter archetypal car salesman and philanderer. The doormat mentality also stretched to her relationship with her mother and her friend Michelle. At first impressions I didn't think I'd like the heroine this time, as I can't help but find the whole situation a bit martyr like (Note: I did change my mind!).
I liked the concept of linking the clearing of clutter to the clearing of the mind. Material possessions often equate to emotional baggage and this is weaved cleverly into the book. As Lou clears the clutter she starts to deal with all the issues that led her down the path she has travelled and step by step she starts to find the person she once was again. In parts I found this poignant and touching and surprisingly real.
An interesting sub-plot is set within Lou's workplace, an accountancy firm. There is: Lou's funky, fun loving friend Karen; hard working, close to retirement Stan; fresh faced Zoe; and tyrant Nicola aka 'Jaws' the line manager who aims to terrorise everybody. The author clearly has an interest in how bullying within the workplace develops and of the damage it wrecks. I found this part fascinating as it covers the psychology of the bully within the fiction.
In the early part of the book, we meet Michelle, Lou's friend whose life is 'car crash tv,' generally with Lou picking up the pieces. This relationship is one of the one sided ones I think most of us have experienced were one person takes and takes and is willing to give nothing is return. In addition, the book explores Lou's difficult relationship with a domineering mother who prefers Lou's sister Victorianna.
Lou's old best friend Deb comes back into her life whilst she is clearing her clutter and her baggage. I really liked Deb and the relationship she has with Lou. Finally there is the obligatory dash of romance courtesy of Mr Tom Broom, the rugged skip man, who is everything the husband isn't!
*Would I recommend*
Yes! This is one of the best books of its kind I have ever read and I have read a few! Milly Johnson is a fairly new author and this is her third book. I liked this enough to purchase her first two books, 'the Yorkshire Pudding Club' and 'the Birds and the Bees'. This one is definitely worth a go.
I saw this book when I was buying another book on Amazon as it came up as an associated item at £4.48 (with free super saver delivery if you spend over £5). I had a balance on my Green Metropolis account so I bought it there for £3.75 delivered.
Title: A Spring Affair
Author: Milly Johnson
Book Type: Fiction / Chick Lit
Publisher: Pocket Books
Publication date: 6th April 2009
This is a paperback book of 496 pages and the RRP is £4.99. Although you can buy it cheaper in some supermarkets and on the internet.
The ISBN is 9781847392824 and it is publishd by Pocket Books.
I bought this book due to having a glucose tolerance test which takes two hours and thought it would give me something to read, in between giving blood. I was hooked from the very first chapter.
This book is so cleverly written that everybody can relate to the characters involved.
Elouise Winter known as Lou is the main character in the story. She was once a very out-going, confident and ambitious woman who after marrying Phil gradually lost her self - esteem and independence. Her husband Phil had had an affair and he has managed somehow to turn it to his advantage so that Lou became a typical working housewife who cleaned the house and cooked his meals etc; She is taken advantage off by virtually everyone in her life, her husband Phil, her mother Renee, her sister Victoianna and her very self - centred friend Michelle.
One day while at the dentists she picks up a tatty magazine and starts to read an article about spring cleaning your cupboards and getting rid of all unwanted and unused possessions thereby de-cluttering your life and taking control. She is so into this article that she takes the magazine home and starts to apply the advise given in it to her own life.
She starts to hire skips from Tom Broom and sets about sorting and emptying cupboards in her house room by room. As she does so her personality changes and she starts to take more control of her life and her buried ambitions are revealed.
I'm not going to reveal the ending, but say that I think Milly Johnson brings the characters to life in her detailed descriptions. She focuses on Lou's different relationships between her husband, family, friends and work colleagues, to such an extent that I can relate to people I know in my life that have similar traits and personalities. I particular like the way she describes the office bully and how she deals with her eventually.
It is a gripping story that is well written in plain English and very easy and enjoyable to read. I haven't read any of Milly Johnson's books before but I'm definitely going to in the future as I enjoy her style of writing.
It's not very often that I stumble across a new author and then desperately want to read everything they have ever done. When my nan gave me a well-read copy of the "The Yorkshire Pudding Club" last year, I devoured it and immediately got the author Milly Johnson's next novel from the library. Sadly, that was all she had released but I soon spotted her new release on Amazon and wrote the date in my diary! I finally got my copy in WH Smith the other day, and have finished it already, I could not put it down! Hopefully this review will convey how much I loved Johnson's 3rd brilliant novel.
Elouise 'Lou' Winter is married to second hand car dealer Phil, but their marriage is far from happy. Lou knows Phil has been unfaithful, but he uses it to his own advantage, keeping Lou under his thumb. But when Lou spots an article in a magazine about clearing out clutter, she has no idea just how far how cleaning obsession is going to reach. Not to mention the small crush she has on the man who brings her skips Tom Broom, Lou is heading for a big lifestyle change, but is she ready to take on everything that comes with it? Will Lou find her happy-ever-after or is Phil Winter just too much in control for her to break free?
It did sound slightly different to the other books that Milly Johnson had written, but to be honest that made me look forward to it even more - something different but from an author I trusted to write something brilliant once more. Johnson really chooses to focus on the relationships between people in her books, and the changes these go through as people change in life, and perhaps that is what makes her books so readable and appealing to her audience. Johnson writes in such a way that you are drawn into the story from almost the first page and as I said, I really struggled to put this down because I was desperate to find out what was going to happen to poor old Lou next.
Speaking of characters, Johnson always manages to write characters that I love reading about. For a little while into the book, I do admit that I wasn't too fond of Lou. She seemed a bit weak and too submissive for my liking and I wasn't sure how it was going to go because of this. I wanted her to stand up to her horrid husband yet she let him bully her and I really didn't like that. However, things develop as the book continues and I really began to like Lou a lot more, and felt for her dilemmas. She is a strong person at work yet at home is different and the way she almost discovers herself is touching and extremely well tackled. Her husband Phil is a complete creep, I hated him with a passion but I guess that was the point of him! I hate that men like him somehow manage to be irresistible to certain women, but he did make a good "baddie" and was sat well with Lou.
The other characters were also very well written, as I have come to expect from Milly Johnson. Lou's friend Michelle was diabolical, and I am sure everyone knows someone as self-centred as her, much as we loathe to admit it! Lou's work colleagues, especially Karen, were great characters and I would have loved to have seen more of her because I felt her and Lou had a great friendship that was such a good contrast to the other less genuine ones in the book. Finally, Tom Broome was the last male character in the book, and I was praying for a certain ending between two characters in this book! Tom was lovely and I really liked him, mainly because he was the opposite of horrid Phil!
What I also really enjoyed about the book was the descriptive writing throughout, and how it brought to life Lou and her world. Johnson chooses to write in the third person, what I call "proper story telling" and this lends itself to a really descriptive and enjoyable novel. You can imagine in your mind little Lou sitting there shifting the junk from her cupboards, surrounded by loads of black bags and then throwing them into her huge skip, and for me things like just brough the whole thing alive for me. I could imagine her standing talking to Tom, vile Phil coming home for his curry and Lou at work with Karen, just fabulously written, I do love visualising a story as I read and this was a great one for just that. Johnson's writing style is easy to read, no complicated language, just good old fashioned story telling and that is what makes me love her books even more.
As with all chick lit, the ending of the story is a tad predictable, you can almost tell how things are going to end up but that doesn't take anything away from the fantastic story that is wonderfully weaved by the author. Great characters, a lovely, touching and quite realistic story and a great writing style all combine to create more fictional magic that will delight not only fans of Johnson's earlier books but will certainly bring even more fans to her books. I just cannot complement this book enough, it was an utterly charming tale of finding yourself despite bad circumstances, and of what can happen when you decide to declutter your life. Johnson writes from the heart and with such feeling that you are going along with Lou with every emotion she's going through. Really superb, definitely recommended and a must-read from me!
ISBN: 978-1847392824. Published by Pocket Books in April 2009. The paperback contains 496 pages.
Author website: http://www.millyjohnson.co.uk/
Thank you for reading!