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I don't read books very often, as I have quite a short attention span and prefer magazines, but I bought a box set of 'Chick Lit' books ages ago and have recently read the second one from the set, which was 'Asking for Trouble' by Elizabeth Young.
Sophy Metcalfe is 30 years old, single and happy with her life. Sophy's interfering but well-meaning mother however, is not so happy with Sophy's life. She wants Sophy to get married and settle down, and since Sophy's younger sister Belinda is now engaged, her mother is really piling the pressure on. In a moment of madness she tells her mother that she is in fact in a relationship with someone named Dominic Walsh. This is a blatant lie of course, but it achieves Sophy's aim of getting her mum off her back for a while. The problem is, Sophy can't bring herself to confess, so carries on with the lie, and several months later she is still constantly making excuses as to why Dominic can't meet her family. Things go from bad to worse when the date of her sister's wedding is announced and an invitation drops on the mat addressed to 'Sophy and Dominic'.
Sophy's flatmate Alix tries to convince her to tell her mother that she has split up with Dominic- the perfect excuse, surely? Problem is, Sophy feels she is in too deep now. Her mother has told her bitchy next-door neighbour Maggie Freeman, with whom she has shared a sort of half friendship half rivalry for the past 25 years that Dominic will be coming, and it will look bad on her mother if he doesn't show. As Sophy puts it 'I need to keep my Mothers end up.' In the end, rather than just confessing or saying they have split, Sophy ends up hiring an escort to take to the wedding and pass off as 'Dominic'.
When escort Josh turns up late and unshaven it doesn't seem like things are going to go well, but will Sophy be able to pass off Josh as 'Dominic' without her parents realising? And how many more lies will she have to tell?
~What I thought~
I first read a few chapters of this book and then left it - I think this was probably down to my aforementioned hopeless attention span. I'm glad I gave it a second chance though, as I really enjoyed it once I got into it.
At the start of the book I found it a little bit confusing at times, as there seemed to be a lot of female characters, with not much to distinguish between them. I kept having to flick back, as I'd be thinking 'Was Jess the colleague or the flatmate?' etc... I also thought that the story dragged a bit at the beginning where Sophy was dithering about whether or not to tell her mother the truth.
I thought the characters were quite believable, and I could understand Sophy's frustration with her mother which led to the lie in the first place, and I could also understand why she was didn't want to embarrass or disappoint her mother, and that by trying to keep everyone happy, things had spiralled out of control.
I have tried not to reveal too much of the plot, but her sister's wedding only really covers about the first third of the book, and the story takes some dramatic twists and turns after this, but I don't want to say too much, as I'd hate to spoil it for anyone! Some of the plot was a bit predicatble, however there were a few times the plot took me by surprise, something that is often lacking in so called 'chick lit' novels, as usually you can predict the ending by page four!
Obviously, coming from a set of books entitled 'The Chick-Lit Collection', this was never going to be a deep and meaningful read, but I found this had a really good mixture of drama, romance and humour. If you're looking for a light, girly read, I would definately recommend this book, and I will be looking out for other novels by Elizabeth Young in the future.
Sophy Metcalfe's glamorous, spoilt younger sister Belinda is getting married. Not surprisingly Sophy is invited to the ceremony, as is her elusive boyfriend Dominic, whom the whole family is dying to meet. There's only one problem. Dominic doesn't exist - he's a little white lie. She only invented him in order to get mother off her back. Belinda is a former model, with 'the kind of creamy-honey skin that never goes pink and pasty even in the depths of winter'. Now nearly thirty, Sophy herself isn't exactly an Ugly Sister, but with competition like that, sometimes she can't help feeling like one. One of her mother's very politically incorrect friends at the golf club - this is well-to-do Cheshire, by the way - is overheard to say that it's awfully hard on the elder sister when the younger gets married first, but it's not her fault as 'half the chaps are raging poofs'. Should poor Ms Metcalfe explain Dominic's absence at the wedding by summarily dumping him? No, that would seem rather unconvincing. Alix, her best mate, flatmate and unpaid counsellor, suggests that Sophy should have him mugged to death for his gold cards, but messy murder might cast rather a shadow over the wedding. Instead, she hires an escort from the local agency, known irreverently as Rent-a-Stud. Enter suave, drop-dead gorgeous Josh Carmichael, who looks and plays the part to perfection. But little white lies have a habit of becoming much larger ones, and some of the other guests know too much, or else start guessing. After the wedding is over it threatens to get out of hand, especially when Belinda goes and does a runner while on honeymoon. Mother is worried that she has been abducted, until husband Paul angrily points out that if she had, she'd have hardly packed every last possession down to the nail polish. Soon there is hell to pay, especially when Sophy's ex, Kit, comes into the fame when
he's least wanted (well, by most of them). The story almost but not quite threatens to become a little far-fetched in places without ever quite going over the edge; the author has done a good job of keeping everything more or less credible. Such a plot could easily develop into frothiness, of beautiful but basically stupid people of whom the reader would be sick and tired halfway through. But they are skilfully drawn and likeable on the whole, there are a few moments of pathos, and plenty of good humour. The moment when Father Metcalfe rumbles Dominic, a.k.a. Josh, and accuses him to his face of being some kind of undercover criminal, is comic timing at its very best. Even the sex (meant to be a five-course dinner, rather than the fast food it turns out to be) is funny rather than gratuitous or erotic. (Hope that hasn't lost the book too many readers). If the book has a fault, it's a little on the long side. It's the author's first novel, and I scent a touch of padding, where a little sharp pruning on the editorial side would have helped. All the same, it's a thoroughly entertaining read. As a man, I'm not going to get into any arguments about chick-lit (how I hate that term) and the like. But I still enjoyed it and it provided me with several laughs! Publisher: Arrow ISBN: 0 09 941506 2 Price: £5.99 p/b