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This is a review of the 2010 book 'Love Nest' by Julia Llewellyn which I have just enjoyed reading. The book is centred on three sets of people and their house moves, when they become involved in a chain, stopping and starting and negotiating offers between them. Each person is unsatisfied with their current property and wishes to move up the ladder but as we know, house moves never seem to be that straighforward.
Lucinda is an estate agent with a secret. Her rich daddy whom she is trying to impress by working hard and proving herself for a stake in the family business. Nick is a rock star originally from Burnley but now living in London and trying to look and live like the image he desires but really the cosy nights in and take aways are all he desires with his homely but loving giflfriend Kylie. Gemma and Alex live in a luxury loft appartment but they long for a baby and their property with its walk in wardrobes and elevated beds is just not suited to child friendly living. Gemma needs a big favour from her sister Bridget but will she get it? Karen's the mother in a family of four who want to move to the country and live like lord and lady of the manor and Grace is hanging on to her beloved property Chadlicote Manor by the sin of her teeth. Her brother is pushing her to sell up following their mother's death and he's happy for it to go cheap but Grace is struggling to let it go.
There were a lot of characters in this book and I did get a bit mixed up for the first few chapters until you work out who's who and what house they live in and where they want to move to. I found some of the characters, like Lucinda different to like as they seemed hell bent on ruining what they have in life. I enjoyed Nick's battle between what he enjoyed and what he felt he should be enjoying as his fame mounts. It seemed like the book was trying to teach us to appreciate what we have in the 'you don't know what you've got till it's gone' lyrics. It is true that you don't know what's waiting round the corner and what seems important now may not next week. I thought the title of this book 'love nest' was not particularly matched to the content of the book. I read this book in lots of ood installments due to having a new baby and a two year old and I had to make the most of a sacred 30 minutes in the bath to devour as much of the book as possible. Perhaps this accounted for the early confusion over characters.
I did enjoy reading this book and found it quite lighthearted and easy going with a satisfactory conclusion to all the characters' stories at the end. The writing style was good quality and easy to follow with a consistency in character behaviour and good links between the different characters.
Grace's childhood home, Chadlicote Manor, is being sold to settle family debts. Will losing her home break her heart or is it the chance for a new life? Karen's husband has the Manor in his sights as a chance to start over in rural paradise. But Karen prefers city living and, when a new flame turns up the heat, starting again might just mean the end of the road.
Gemma is longing for a baby and, unlike her own loft apartment, Karen's house is an ideal family home. But the dream house can only have its dream baby if Gemma can convince her flakey sister to help out. Up-and-coming rockstar Nick has designs on Gemma's flat. He's also taken a shine to classy estate agent, Lucinda, but she's not all she seems - and neither is he, since he's hiding a girlfriend he's looking to ditch when the sale goes through. The Love Nest - where all their troubles come home to roost!
I first read Julia Llewellyn when I picked up a copy of her last book The Model Wife at the library a few years ago. Since then, Julia has't written anything so I was excited to see on Amazon news of a 2010 book called The Love Nest I was lucky enough to get an ARC from Penguin to review, and it was with anticipation that I started the book. I really enjoyed Julia's writing style in her previous book and the way she makes characters seem so real, and The Love Nest seemed to be based on a group of people rather than just a couple so I was really excited to see how the author would pull it off!
Straight after starting the book, I was hooked. Llewellyn began the book in a way that I didn't expect, with the introduction of probably the least prolific character in the book Grace, but it gives us a glimpse into Grace's life and her reluctance to part with her home Chadlicote Manor. Perhaps this is the start of the chain of events that carry on through the book to do with the moving of everyone's Love Nests, and in which case this was an excellent beginning! However, we don't see nearly enough of Grace for the rest of the book and I would have loved to see more of her life, and perhaps a little less of the others!
It was the characters of estate agent Lucinda and rock star Nick that took the main storyline thread for me. Nick is determined to split up with his girlfriend because she doesn't suit his image, and therefore I really didn't like him! He seemed to typify a certain section of society today that counts appearance higher than anything else, and while its a true reflection, it made for somewhat cringeyworthy scenes sometimes when he was mentally slagging off his poor girlfriend Kylie. Lucinda the other character I couldn't stand. She was very up herself, and although her story unfolds as the book progresses, it certainly didn't warm me to her and I wish she wasn't as present as she was in the book. My favourite character was Karen because she felt the most realistic out of all of them, and I felt so sympathetic towards her being stuck in a situation she couldn't see a way out of.
Even though there were quite a few main characters, and consequently lots of different storylines, places and people in the book, I felt it totally easy to keep track of what was going on, who was meant to be in certain scenes and the transition between each was seamless. I was really impressed by how easily Llewellyn juggled all of the characters, and how each of them were woven into each other's lives and how certain actions affected other people even though you wouldn't expect it at all. I liked working out how they were all connected and I felt it was really clever of Llewellyn to do this!
Relationships are at the fore front of the book, and there is something there that hopefully most readers will recognise. Perhaps housewives like me will more relate to Karen - putting ourselves last and plodding along with what everyone else wants! However, they are all believable people even if I didn't like all of them, and you can immerse yourself easily into their lives because of Llewellyn's fab writing style and easy narrative. She's chosen to use third person narrative in the book which makes it far easier to juggle the many storylines, and it works perfectly.
I really enjoyed reading this book, and it was a nice chunky book to get into as well. There was a lot going on, yet I didn't have to concentrate too hard on the characters to follow them and their individual stories because they are written so well and the transtitions make it easy for the reader to keep up. It's a well written narrative which keeps this altogether perfectly, and some interesting twists and turns along the way stop the book being predictable, and keep you wanting to read and find out more! The ending came around much quicker than I expected, and I enjoyed every single page. If you haven't read any of Julia Llewellyn's work before, I suggest you start here because this is a fantastic read, and recommended by me!
Thank you to the publishers Penguin for sending us a copy to review for http://chicklitreviews.com
ISBN: 978-0141033655. Published by February 2010. The paperback has 464 pages, and an RRP of £6.99.
Thank you for reading.