Tallulah, or Talli as she prefers to be called, is still a bit stuck career-wise, so when her mother manages to railroad her into planning her brother Persimmon's upcoming nuptials in just 8 weeks, Talli reluctantly accepts and sets about organising the wedding of the year. Not to mention the fact that Persimmon's fiance is Loving Essex's director Edwina, and is fanatical about her appearance and has a determination to be a perfect size for her wedding dress. She hires Essex personal trainer Zach, whose sister's star on her show to knock her into shape. Soon, Zac and Talli realise they have to work together, not against each other, to pull off Edwina's wedding, but is it going to be just the wedding they will end up working together on?
I've been lucky enough this year to read some amazing books, so I was hoping I'd make a good choice for my final read of the year. Millie Conway's debut novel certainly would appeal to those who love the reality shows like Made in Chelsea and The Only Way is Essex, but I watch neither of those shows and managed to really enjoy the book! As an 'Essex girl' myself, I always hate when people overuse the stereotype and make them the embodiment of what those girls in TOWIE are like, but Conway actually does a good job in this book of balancing out the stereotypes, and by the end I had a big smile on my face!
This is quite a tongue-in-cheek read, and you have to know not to take it too seriously when you're reading, because it really is quite fun and a laugh overall. The differences between the main characters, Talli from Chelsea and Zac from Essex are obvious from the word go, but Conway loves to really emphasise the point, especially through the thoughts of these characters when they're thinking about each other. The narrative is always told in the third person, but switches between following Talli, then Zac, so the reader gets a nice rounded picture of the story, and can see the crossed wires, which makes it all the more interesting and frustrating at the same time! I really liked Talli, she had her heart in the right place, although I did wish she's grow a back bone! Zac was just a bit of a typical Essex-guy, obsessed with his appearance, but has a softer side towards his sisters and Auntie Dot, who happened to be one of my favourite characters! The God-awful Kiki rounds off a fantastic cast of characters, and she's definitely one you'll love to hate!
The storyline is good enough to carry the book through, although I stopped caring about Edwina and her wedding quite soon after it was mentioned, I simply cared more about what was going on with Talli and Zac! I loved how the book travelled between Essex and Chelsea too, again highlighting the differences in these people, and how appearances can be deceptive, especially with some of the Essex girls, who have some of the most hilarious names I've read in a long time... Porsche and Shiraz to mention a couple! The wedding ideas were ridiculous, completely OTT but as you'd expect someone like Edwina would want, and the designer brands are name-dropped quite a bit throughout the book too, but it wasn't too out of place so I didn't mind it too much. There's a few sex scenes in there too, but they were well written, and complemented the story.
The story has a good pace, and I found it was a fun read that I enjoyed picking up every time I went to read it. There was a lot of humour in there that made me smile, but there were moments of sweetness in there too, Talli and her father's relationship was one of them, as was Zac and Dot. I was really rooting for Talli and Zac to finally get together, but it wasn't smooth sailing, and I was really curious to find out what the secret Zac is desperately hiding from everyone around him throughout the book was! I really enjoyed reading From Essex to Chelsea with Love and thought it was a fun read that you can lose yourself in for a few hours, and it'll certainly put a smile on your face, if only to say thank you to God that you don't have a life like these people! A fun and easy read.
ISBN: 978-1472200365. Published by Headline Review on 22nd November 2012. Pages: 416. RRP: £6.99. Also available as an eBook.
Thank you to the publishers for sending me a copy to review, and to you for reading.