Kissing Mr Wrong is the first book I have read by Sarah Duncan and it has definitely given me an appetite to read more. It tells an absorbing tale with many different threads that bind together well and with a main character that I loved. Indeed, it has all of the ingredients for a riveting read - one that I didn't want to put down.
The main character is Lu Edwards who thinks she knows exactly what she wants in a relationship which is possibly why she is still searching for Mr Right. When she meets Marcus he seems to tick all the boxes on her list as he is successful, dynamic and gorgeous (if maybe a little bit boring). The only problem is that he is just about to leave the country in order to go and work in Minneapolis. Meanwhile, she also meets Nick who, if she is going to go on the criteria on her list, is definitely not Mr Right. In fact he has to be Mr Wrong particularly as he is separated and has children and the one thing that Lu knows for sure is that she does not want to be a mum! Therefore what is she doing spending so much time with him and his sons as it can only end in heartbreak? That is unless Lu comes to realise that Mr Wrong could just possibly be her Mr Right.
This absorbing tale really hits the mark as far as relationships are concerned especially when it comes to the role of step mothering. Sarah Duncan explores quite poignantly what it is like to enter into a relationship knowing that you have to share that special person with others. At times Lu feels completely excluded leading to jealous tensions whereas at other moments she feels quite loved. Other relationships are touched upon too such as Lu's difficult relationship with her mother and the fact that she hardly knew her father who left when she was only a small child. Most moving though, is Lu's tender and loving relationship with her ninety-one year old grandmother for whom she would do anything. It's lovely to read of such a strong powerful bond spanning the generations.
I loved the character of Lu. At first she might have appeared a bit shallow and concerned only with material things. However, before long, one realises just how complex a character she really is and that she is not that materialistic at all. I agonised alongside her as she tried to sort out her confusing feelings for both Marcus and Nick. You can't help wanting things to turn out well for her in her relationships, in her work and in her quest to uncover more about her long lost great grandfather.
This leads me to another strand of the story that is most thought provoking and poignant. Lu's grandmother Delia knows that she was adopted as a child and asks Lu to help her find out more about her real father who was a soldier in the Great War. Nick helps her in her quest and they spend some time in France visiting the war graves and finding out more about life in the trenches. This is handled most sensitively and the descriptions of the graves and their inscriptions is quite heart breaking. Like Lu, I was moved to tears as I was reading about all the young men who lost their lives in this war.
Overall, Kissing Mr Wrong is an excellent read. It is well paced with wonderful characters and absorbing story lines. What more could I want?
The paperback is currently available on Amazon for £4.99 (September 2010).
This review has previously appeared under my name at www.thebookbag.co.uk
Lu Edwards is sure she is never going to find Mr Right. She knows exactly what she's looking for, but it just seems somewhat impossible to find. When she meets handsome, rich and nice man Marcus in a bar, she thinks she may have struck lucky but it turns out he's off to America, so that's another hope for Lu gone. As well as trying to find her Mr Right, Lu is desperately trying to do something very important for her elderly grandmother - find out exactly what happened to her parents back in the war. Lu ends up meeting Nick, a man who specialises in military history, and he helps Lu find out more than she could have planned for... but with several things in his world that Lu doesn't want in hers, is she ever going to be able to find her Mr Right, or is is she destined to always kiss Mr Wrong?
This is the second Sarah Duncan novel I have read this year. I read A Single to Rome a few months ago, and very much enjoyed it so I was looking forward to reading this one too. The gorgeous summery looking cover hints at a lovely summer read inside, and the dash of red poppies is a wonderful tribute to the sub-plot about the war going on throughout the book. I was curious to see how Duncan would be able to weave a love story alongside a search for someone's family throughout the war, but it made me interested enough to give it a read, and I'm really glad I did as this book was a surprise for me by the end.
I thought the book was going to be just a story following Lu's journey to find her Mr Right as the title of the book may hint at, but it really is so much more than that. We begin by meeting Lu on a disastrous date, and I really liked her straight away. She was very likeable, although for unknown reasons is sure she's never going to meet the right guy. When I really got drawn into the book was when we went with Lu to see her grandmother Doris, and that for me is when the book really took off and the story went to another level and something totally different from most chick lit I read.
There is a bit of family history hunting in this book, and because of this, we are taken on a journey back into Doris's family who were in the war and she is trying to find her grandmother's biological parents. This means she meets Nick, a nice guy with 2 young children and a history buff. He helps Lu get onto the right track as far as her family is concerned, and I love the historical turns the book takes. We go with Lu and Nick to France to visit the war memorials, and as a girl who loved her history at school, this was fascinating. You can tell Duncan has done her research, and it was wonderful to read little anecdotes about the war and learn about a few things whilst reading this book.
Don't be afraid though if you aren't a history fan, the book isn't at all bogged down with this part but it is just enough to get your interest and make you want to find out more. The story progresses through the book, and it is very touching, and wonderful to see a young character in a chick lit book so caring of her elder family members. Lu's mother Pixie is a fabulous character, adding some comic relief to the book, and as I mentioned, Lu's grandmother was a lovely character too. Nick was very sweet, I was left unsure how it was going to end up with the pair and I liked the fact that things weren't straight forward for them throughout, especially because of the children and I think that reflects the difficulty in modern relationships.
Overall I really enjoyed this book very much. From the cover, I assumed it would be a book that would whisk me away somewhere hot for romantic holidays with the characters, but it was so much more than that and I loved it. I really enjoyed the historical element, it added something else to the book to stop it being another "girl hunts Mr Right" read and it'll certainly stay in my mind for a long time. Sarah Duncan's writing is very easy to read, before I knew it I had devoured half the book and quickly devoured the second half as well. I definitely recommend this, it's a lovely book to curl up with on a summer's evening imagining those beautiful red poppies in your mind.
ISBN: 978-0755345953. Published by Headline Review in May 2010. Pages: 352. RRP: £6.99.
Thank you to the publishers for sending me a copy to review for http://chicklitreviews.com
Thank you for reading.