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Katy Carter is a secondary school teacher who dreams of being a bestselling author and secretly scribbles down her novel (a historic blockbuster) whilst in school meetings. Katy is also a huge fan of grabbing herself her own romantic hero and thinks she's found him in James, her fiance. However when a dinner party for James's work colleagues goes disastrously wrong - with help from a lobster named Pinchy, a red-setter named Sasha and a cactus - Katy finds herself unceremoniously dumped by James. After a health scare Katy is determined to get her life back on track and heads down to Cornwall to stay with best friend Maddy with the hopes of finding herself her new romantic hero, but could her romantic hero be closer to home than she thinks?
Katy Carter Wants A Hero is Ruth Saberton's debut novel although she is currently also writing a 5-part series for Little Black Dress (under the pseudonym of Jessica Fox) - two of the titles are already out, The One That Got Away and Eastern Promise and the third, Hard To Get, is due out in May with the other two titles to follow at some point. I actually have her first two Little Black Dress titles to read but haven't gotten around to them yet. Katy Carter Wants A Hero, though, caught my eye one day whilst I was browsing on Amazon and after reading the synopsis I was eager to read it. Ruth contacted me asking if I'd like a copy and I agreed. I was looking on my bookshelf for a fun, light read and this happened to catch my eye (the book really is eye-catching) and I decided to give it a read. Boy am I glad I picked this up!
Katy Carter Wants A Hero probably couldn't be classified as having a unique plot - after all, it's one I read multiple times a month but the fact is I didn't pick this up for it's uniqueness, I picked it up because it looked like a fun and light read. I had no expectations as to how I would like the book and went into it with a completely open mind. The book is told entirely from Katy's point of view and I was hooked incredibly quickly. I don't know whether that was because of how simple the writing style was, or how likeable Katy was, or just how fun it all was, but the book sucked me in and wouldn't let go. The opening of the book sees Katy writing parts of her novel (kind of what I expect a Mills & Boon book to be like) whilst in a school meeting and it was very quick off the mark, not to mention quite hilarious. I did have a slight wobble and start thinking oh God, she's a doormat - I'm going to hate the book 30 pages in as Katy's boyfriend James began treating her like dirt, and I was so worried she was just going to roll over and let him talk to her so patronisingly. However my fears soon dissipated as we witness the rather incredible - and hilarious - dinner party scene that causes Katy and James's break-up. The scene had me in stitches for 5 pages (and gave me one of my favourite animal characters ever in Pinchy the lobster) and the book just motored on from there and I never looked back.
What really makes Katy Carter work though is the characters. Katy constantly reminded me of Sass from The Dating Detox as well as Becky Bloomwood from the Shopaholic novels. Katy doesn't go on a dating detox or end up in loads of debt but she's like Sass and Becky because they seem to have so much warmth to them. A book like this needs an immensely likeable female lead character (even more so if she narrates the entire thing) and like Sass and Becky, Katy managed to carry the book practically by herself as well as managing to keep her personality intact through out. A lot of female characters melt into each other and become instantly forgettable but some stand out so much you'll not forget them. Katy is one of the latter ones. I laughed with her, I cringed with her and when she had her health scare I was worried with her and I thought she was fantastic. The other main character in the book (bar Pinchy the lobster) had to be Katy's best friend Ollie. From page one I loved him. Actually, from page one, I was worried I was going to learn he was gay (it's chick lit after all and one of the staples is a gay best friend) but no, he isn't gay! It makes a change to have a male best friend in a book who does all of the duties a female best friend usually does - helping out with cooking a dinner party (regardless of the fact it ends in disaster), being there when you break up with your boyfriend, taking you to the hospital when you're worried you've got a disease etc and Ollie filled that job really well. Maddy, Katy's other best friend, is also another of the main characters and I quite liked her. She's married to Richard, a vicar, but is doing something rather naughty on the side and she seemed like quite a fun character. Katy's aunt Jewell makes sporadic appearances throughout the book and she was an incredibly sweet character, too. Katy's boyfriend James was the villain of the piece and right from the off I couldn't stand him. He was vile towards Katy and I couldn't wait to see the back of him. The final two characters important to the story were Freddie, Ollie's flamboyantly gay cousin and Gabriel Winters, a hot, new actor Katy manages to befriend.
I saw the ending of Katy Carter a mile off. Actually I saw the ending from practically the first page. As I said before, though, that didn't concern me in the slightest. I was just looking forward to it all unravelling and then for the light in Katy's head to turn on. I'm sure you know/could guess how it ends even though you haven't read it. The twists and turns it took to get there were enough for me - the infamous dinner party, the health scare, the loss of contact, the fake relationship, it all swirled around to keep the plot moving so we came to a satisfying conclusion 400 pages later. The writing isn't anything special - as I mentioned earlier in my review it's written in a rather simplistic way but the fact is so is all of Sophie Kinsella's books and look how adored she is! Sometimes the simpler the book the better and for Katy Carter the simpleness worked. Ruth also seems to have Sophie's comedic touch as the book had me in stitches multiple times particularly with Pinchy the lobster - the way Katy's mind over-reacts when he's about to be boiled alive was hilarious.
Overall I couldn't recommend Katy Carter Wants A Hero enough. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and it's definitely a keeper. If you love Becky Bloomwood, I'm 100% sure you'll love Katy Carter as they're both immensely enjoyable characters. Katy Carter is definitely a book I'll be reading again (and again and again) and long may Pinchy the lobster live! (Can you tell I loved the pet lobster part of the story?) Do try and pick yourself up a copy of this fab debut, it truly is fantastic!