I'm in the mood for reading mindless chick lit at the moment, so when I saw this book cheaply priced on my Kobo account, I snapped it up.
After being jilted by her fiance two weeks before their wedding day, Gilly Brown is looking for a Monday to Friday lodger to help her pay the bills and hopefully get her out and about meeting new people. She is 34, newly single, and living in London. Her friends are all getting married, having kids, and moving away for a more peaceful lifestyle. When the charming and successful TV producer Jack Baker turns up on her doorstep, she doesn't really bother with the usual interview questions and references, but instead jumps at the chance to move this gorgeous man into her spare room. Her dog-walking friend Guy is suspicious of Jack, and lets his concern for Gilly's welfare be known. Why is her new lodger so mysterious? What does he get up to at the weekends when he disappears, and is he right for Gilly?
From the very beginning of this book, I could tell I had let myself in for another Bridget Jones style mid-thirties newly single woman, panicking as her biological clock tells her she must meet Mr Right and settle down like all her friends are. Add to this a complete lack of direction regarding her career (to quote the main character: "I haven't found my something yet"), and you have the recipe for about 90% of chick lit out there at the moment.
I'm pleased to say that despite my initial reservations, I enjoyed the book more than I thought because it did have a bit of depth and some excellently developed characters in it. Gilly's family life is a complicated situation, with her mother living in Australia and her father finding it difficult to show emotion due to a family tragedy which we are told about by way of flashbacks scattered throughout the chapters. This is nice as it lets us into Gilly's childhood, and helps us to understand her neediness and lack of direction, giving a bit more depth to her character than a desperate mid-thirties woman searching for Mr Right.
There are a lot of characters in this book, but I didn't feel confused or overloaded at any one time. Apart from some key characters, it doesn't really matter if you lose track of Gilly's circle of dog-walking friends, for example, as most of them don't play a key part. It's fairly obvious from the outset who the important characters are: Gilly's twin brother Nick and his demanding wife Nancy, her dog-walking friend Guy, whose girlfriend has gone off to see the world by herself, and the handsome Jack Baker.
The pace of the book is reasonably ok until somewhere around the middle where I started to get a bit frustrated that Gilly is completely naïve and blinkered in her view of men and relationships. As the reader, we are faced with the usual predicament: will Gilly realise that Jack Baker is a sleazy superficial ladies man, and that her friend Guy who she can be herself around is actually perfect for her? It gets a bit tedious for a while, but the pace soon picks up again.
There are a few twists and turns along the way in this book, but nothing mind-blowing or that makes you stop and think "I never saw that coming". The mystery of where Jack goes each weekend that he can't tell Gilly, for example, is all revealed at the end, and like I say although it isn't mind-blowing, it did make some of his behaviour fall into place, and makes the reader look at him a bit differently.
I found the outcome of this book to be pleasing, although it was pretty much how I had envisaged it would pan out. It does have a feel-good factor, however, so as far as light reading goes, it's perfect as it doesn't tax your brain too much, but is just a nice easy read. The style of writing is quite engaging, as the author builds a picture of Gilly's life in London, describing her daily life and taking us through landmarks of London as if we were there ourselves. The character development is well thought out, and I found most of the characters easy to relate to, or at least understand the reasons behind their behaviour.
There is a nice little epilogue at the end which tells us what happens a year or so afterwards, which I thought was quite a nice touch, if not a bit predictable. Very often in books, you're left with a happy ending and no idea of what happens to the characters next, but this just helps to give the reader a complete picture, and boosts the feelgood factor that little bit more.
As with most chick lit novels, this book is more about character development than packing a punch with lots of surprises. If you're looking for a plot with lots of twists and turns, then this book probably isn't for you, as it's fairly obvious early on in the book what is going to happen. However, the premise of the book is a little different, with the Monday to Friday lodger, and some interesting insight into the main character's childhood by way of flashbacks. I thought this was a pleasant enough read, which is ideal if you're looking for a light hearted feel good story.
(Review may also appear on Ciao under the username Gingerkitty)
**Firstly please note the picture shown above is not the cover of the book, Dooyoo do have the correct picture on the 'offers from online shops' selection when you search 'monday to friday man' though**
I do love to read and without a doubt my favourite genre of book is chick lit. Even though a lot of them do tend to be a bit predictable and repetitive I still love to read them and enjoy the laid back style of the books and I am definitely a picker upper and putting downer so its key that I have a book I can pick up and know exactly where I am and whats going on. A few months ago I decided to place a big order on The Works website and always I took advantage of their vast 3 for £5 range which is where I came across this book.
Gilly with a G is 34. She is single and lives in London with her beloved dog Ruskin. She is beginning to lean towards a move to the country as she is unsure what London has to offer for her anymore. She was due to be married now to long term partner Ed but a couple of weeks before the big day he decided that it wasn't to be. Understandably this really hit Gilly and she has taken a long time to get over Ed and begin to move on with her life.
Gilly travels to the country to meet with an old family friend who works as an estate agent. She explains she wants to move and he is wary - he's not sure Gilly is ready to make such a big move. Gilly is quite certain she is but after some long consideration and advice she decides to stay in London for the time being. However, since her and Ed split up and she had an abrupt change in career her finances are suffering and though she is meeting her bills, the monthly mortgage is a growing cause for concern. A friend suggests she gets a lodger but Gilly is unsure, she is very comfortable slouching about all weekend in her pyjamas with Ruskin. Finally she decides to advertise for a 'Monday to Friday lodger'. Initially her advert doesn't attract any interest but after a wave of her good friends wand there are a number of enquiries. Now Gilly just has to see if she thinks she can live with any of them...
I became engrossed in this book very quickly. I think the caption on the cover of the book 'but what does he do at the weekend?' really helped to attract my attention because even before a lodger was mentioned I was keen to see exactly what the mystery was surrounding this man.
Gilly was immediately loveable, she is a very nice, down to earth girl next door and she is someone who most women would love to be friends with. She is kind, gentle and by portraying her in this manner the author ensures that we as the reader are immediately on her side. Gilly lost her baby sister when she was just 13 and this has obviously had a huge effect on Gilly and this is understandable. I think this helps to emphasise that Gilly is vulnerable and can be naïve which makes the reader feel quite protective of Gilly as we don't want her to get hurt any more.
The other main characters in the book include Mari - Gilly's friend and boss, Guy - a dog walking friend, Jack - the Monday to Friday man and Nick - Gilly's twin brother. All of these characters are also very likeable and there is a certain level of protection felt towards Nick too because he has obviously been through the same as Gilly with their sister.
The plot flowed well. I found that the book really picked up in the last two thirds or so and I literally couldn't put it down because I was so desperate to discover what happened. There were a few things that were predictable but these were presented alongside revelations that were unexpected. There is one question that is being asked throughout the book and the answer to this was a shock to me and it hadn't crossed my mind that this would be the exact answer though it had been established throughout the book that it could be something similar.
The final ending is quite predictable but there are a number of points along the way that made me think that actually no, that wasn't going to happen. The ending was done very well and everything was wrapped up brilliantly with two closing chapters dedicated to one year later and then two years later. I thought that these really left the story open so a sequel would flow on very well from this book.
The writing style is laid back and informal. The story is told in the voice of Gilly and I really think this aids the fact that Gilly is a very normal girl. I also think that it helps our protectiveness over Gilly no end.
I believe the book is the perfect length and although some chapters have a lot more excitement than others I found myself keen to read on throughout the novel and I really enjoyed following Gilly in her day to day life.
The book was written by Alice Peterson.
It was published in 2011.
It is available on Kindle and also in paperback (I read the paperback).
Current selling price on Amazon is £4.89 so do check out The Works first if you can.
It has 336 pages.
The cover illustration shows a man and woman walking their two dogs individually.
I really enjoyed this book and will definitely look out for more work from this author. I loved the character of Gilly and felt very close to her throughout the book. The plot was interesting and slightly different to your usual chick lit. It flowed well and some aspects left me guessing until the end. I thought the ending of the story was exactly right and I did find myself beaming as I read on towards the end. I would definitely recommend this book to any fans of chick lit.
Monday To Friday Man is a chick-lit novel by Alice Peterson. The book was released in the United Kingdom in 2011 and so it is fairly recent. I bought my copy from The Works as part of a 3 books for £5 offer.
~ * What's The Story Like? * ~
I liked the plot; it's very simple, but I like how there are various other storylines which add to the main story (such as Gilly's past.) I did find the story to be very predictable at times (I knew what was going to happen in the end as soon as I read about a certain character). Whilst the book was predictable, it certainly wasn't enough to put me off the book. In fact I found it made the book even more of an 'easy reader' as it didn't require much thinking.I would describe this book as being a nice light hearted-read. Whilst, I say light-hearted (as the majority of the book is), however there are some 'sad' parts to the book too which I found quite sad to read. This book is a great 'easy to read' book and so I would say that it is a great book to read whilst chilling out; perfect for a holiday or beach read or great for when you just want to curl up by the fire on a cold winter's night with a good book; this will do the job just fine!
I loved the idea of the dog walking club!! It sounded like a great place and great thing to do to start the day!
~ * What About The Characters? * ~
I felt that the book had just the right amount of characters; enough to keep the story interesting, yet not so many that I had to keep asking myself 'who was that again?'. The story is told in first person; so we are reading the story from the main character, Gilly's point of view. Gilly is normal, honest, down-to-earth, friendly and easy to relate to. Whilst I wanted to like Gilly, at times she did annoy me; she didn't like it when others would do something to her, and yet she would go and do exactly the same thing and yet couldn't understand why people didn't like it. I did feel sorry for her though; especially when she spoke about her little sister and her mother.
Guy was another character in the book; I pictured him as being a 'nice' and 'normal' bloke. A sweet and sensitive, honest kind of guy. I found him to be likeable, whilst he did seem a bit boring at times as there was nothing exciting about him. Whilst on the other hand, Jack seemed very exciting. Whilst he was supposed to be 'the bad guy' I actually found him to be a nice guy. I don't know if this was intended or if it was just the way I 'saw' him. To me he just seemed like an ordinary bloke who was afraid of commitment. I half expected him to play a bigger part in the story than he did. I was also disappointed with what his 'big secret' turned out to be as I thought that we had crossed that 'possibility' earlier on in the book; so I had thought that the secret would have been really juicy, when really it turned out to be really predictable.
~ * What About The Style of Writing? * ~
I had never heard of this author until now and so I wasn't too sure what to expect when I began writing this book. I really enjoyed this book and whilst it has a simple storyline, I liked the fact that it was about 'every day life' as it felt like an escape into someone else's life. I also found the story to be very believable. I am a huge chick-lit fan and am always reading these kind of books, and so I found it really refreshing to discover that the main character in this book is very normal; she doesn't have a glamorous job etc, and didn't 'jet-off-around-the-world-without-telling-anyone-because-she-got-dumped' which is what you get with the majority of chick-lit books these days!
I liked that the book was written in first person and so from Gilly's perspective. This helped us get to know Gilly, the main character much better and also helped me understand why Gilly behaved in the way she did.
I loved the fact that book skipped between the present and the past. Whilst the parts about Gilly's little sister Megan were very sad, I found that they added 'depth' to the story and made it emotional. I found that it also helped us to understand Gilly better too. It felt as though I was on a journey with Gilly.
I think that there are many lessons to be learned from this book. The first of which is not to let the past get in the way of the future. Gilly, as well as her twin brother Nick are too afraid to do certain things now that they are adults as they are afraid that certain things that happened to them as children will happen again. Another message in the book is to not judge people; for example Nancy; she comes across as being a bit of a b**h and yet I felt really sorry for her. So I think that the message here is to get to know people well before you judge them.
The book is fast paced which I loved as there is nothing worse than hanging about. I like to move on and 'get on with the story' - so this was great for me! I also liked that the chapters were short and sweet (I hate long chapters) and so this meant that I could easily 'fit one more chapter in' before going to sleep etc). The short chapters also meant that I could always finish on the end of a chapter and so I would 'pick up' the book at a new chapter each time rather than being in the middle of a paragraph.
I found that the book was well written. The author makes great use of descriptive writing in this book, without having to go into great depths. I found it easy to imagine the settings and the characters and so this made me feel as though I was a part of the book.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and am really excited about reading other books by this author. This book is comical, light hearted, is a great easy reader and certainly does not disappoint. It's a great feel good book!!
All in all, I would recommend this book!
Thanks for reading!
Xdonzx / xd-o-n-z-x
Gilly is in her mid-thirties and stuck in a bit of a rut. Struggling to get over being dumped by her fiancé, she is all set to leave London to make a fresh start in the country. However, she is persuaded to stay put by a friend who advises her not to leave London until she has, "squeezed all the juice out of it." This same friend also tells her that life can be like a padlock, and sometimes you just need one small change in the combination to open the door.
As part of her attempts to make small changes to her life, Gilly advertises for a 'Monday to Friday' lodger, which brings divine-looking TV producer, Jack Baker, into her life. Jack is charming, fun and single but rather hard to draw information out of. Meanwhile, a tall, blue eyed man with a fondness for hats joins Gilly's dog-walking circle and they strike up an easy friendship. Guy is open, alternative but engaged to be married. Can either of these men provide the combination to unlock Gilly's humdrum life and convince her that London is indeed the place to be? All is revealed as this light novel unfolds.
I will be honest and admit that the only reason I bought this book was because it was incredibly cheap at the time. At a mere 20p, I was happy to add this to the holiday reading on my Kindle. (At the time of writing, its current price is £1.99, so still quite reasonable.) However, I am not usually a fan of chick lit, mainly because these books often seem to be about people in their mid-thirties who feel over the hill and despair of ever meeting Mr Right. As someone whose 30s are now becoming a distant memory, I don't always relate particularly well to this kind of character. Although in many respects Gilly does conform to the chick lit clichés, I was pleasantly surprised to find that this book had a bit more depth to it than I was expecting. This was mainly due to the fact that in addition to the present-day events, the book contains flashbacks to Gilly's childhood when we learn of a family tragedy.
Through this story from the past, which is movingly portrayed, we gain an insight into why Gilly is the way she is. Her need for structure in her life and yearning for stability becomes easier to understand and she doesn't just seem like another 30something who feels that life is passing her by.
The theme of how the past makes us who we are runs throughout this in a story in a powerful way. Is baggage necessarily a bad thing? Can you undo the past? These questions are raised with the suggestion that you should confront your past and learn from it, accepting that it has made you who you are. The fact that Gilly works in her friend's antique shop seems fitting. The antiques are beautiful and treasured because of their history, even if they have become damaged along the way.
The family tragedy has affected not only Gilly but also her twin brother Nick, who is another key character in the book. He and his high maintenance wife, Nancy, have a fraught relationship and in many ways Nick's career-driven focus can be linked back to those events. The author does a very good job of portraying well-rounded characters. Even Nick's wife, who at first seems to be the stereotypical wife obsessed with status and money, has an interesting past which helps us to understand her and which prevents her becoming a totally loathsome character.
What I liked about this book was that, although Gilly was a character in her 30s, there were characters of different ages in this book. I particularly liked her silver-haired neighbour, Gloria, the 'perky pensioner' who is so much more than a stereotypical mother substitute. Gloria has been single all her life by choice, yet her life is still very full. Then there is Mari, owner of the antique shop where Gilly works and fellow dog-circle member. Mari is in her late 40s and divorced with no children. "I never wanted them," she says. "I only wanted a dog."
It is refreshing to read about characters who do not conform to the norms and for these characters to come across as great role models rather than sad or delusional. As an older woman, I was able to relate to Mari and Gloria. I'm glad the author did not go over the top and make them too eccentric, because I think when you try too hard to make older female characters colourful, fun and 'young at heart' it can seem a tad patronising. I found Mari and Gloria very 'real' and I felt the book was more balanced by including them, along with Gilly's other friends of her own age.
It's fair to say that the plot is fairly predictable. I had pretty much guessed what the outcome would be from a very early stage. However, I sometimes think that in books like this it isn't so much the 'who will she end up with?' question that is important. It is more about how things will get to that stage, what journey the characters will take along the way.
What is slightly irritating, however, is the way that Gilly is surprisingly slow on the uptake, unable to see what the reader (and other characters) can spot. I accept that this kind of blind denial is not completely incredible though. I also found Gilly's desperation to impress her new lodger just a little bit over the top. In one episode she is rushing round the house, throwing away or hiding any hints of a lonely life. I couldn't help but think, "So what if you've got an Enrique Englesias CD?' It is this kind of obsession with trivia (which you often get in 30something chick lit heroines) that starts to annoy me. As the book unfolds, you just know they are going to discover that with the right person you can have your Mamma Mia DVDs (or even your Tampax) on display in your own home and they won't think any less of you!
There is a nice sprinkling of humour in this book, though nothing of the laugh out loud variety. I liked the episodes set in the park where the dog-walking circle meet each day under the great oak tree. I found it amusing how the author took the time to make the dogs emerge as real characters too, as well as their owners. I particularly loved Walter, the retired window cleaner, and his amorous Airedale, Spike. Gilly's encounters with unsuitable potential lodgers make for amusing reading too, particularly the applicant with the delightful name of Roy Haddock, an anecdote that will most likely put you off having a lodger yourself, if you've ever considered it.
The book really does have a strong London flavour, with some lovely, visual descriptions of Gilly walking up Primrose Hill as the sun starts to set, driving over London Bridge at night and skating at an outdoor ice rink near Christmas time, seeing the Natural History Museum lit up by fairly lights twinkling in the trees. The second hand book shops, delis, coffee shops, the antiques shop in the Pimlico Road and the dog walkers in Ravenscourt Park evoke a lively atmosphere which lovers of the capital will certainly enjoy.
Would I recommend it? Yes, if you want a bargain Kindle book which won't tax your brain too much. It's definitely a 'feel good' read, ideal for lazing on the beach with or when you're just too tired to really handle anything heavier. It's the kind of book that would make a nice film with Jennifer Aniston in, if that makes sense. You care sufficiently about the main character to want to find out what happens to her, but (apart from the scenes focussing on the family tragedy) it isn't going to pack a huge emotional punch.
When Gilly tells you, "I haven't found my something yet," it doesn't sound as twee as it might if you hadn't also heard the story of her childhood and the events that shook the foundations of her family when she was still young. In so many ways Gilly seems to lead a rather idyllic life in London - she can even take her dog to work, for heaven's sake - and without the story from the past, it might seem that this book was just too sugar-coated to represent real life. However, I quite enjoyed reading it and it kept my interest throughout. However, it's fair to say that if you want intricate plot twists or amazing insights into the human condition, this book isn't going to be your thing.
I brought Monday to Friday Man by Alice Peterson last year the day it came out as a treat to myself but due to the books which have been submitted to me for review I haven't had the chance to read it and it has been sitting on my To Be Read pile waiting for me to finally pick it up! I have read all of the books which are being released for January and so now seemed a good time to pick my long awaited treat and start reading.
He changed his mind.
She was heartbroken.
Gilly Brown now finds herself alone in London with only her little dog Ruskin for company. It's time to move on.
On a friend's advice, she looks for a lodger, a Monday to Friday one, and eventually finds just the right man - Jack Baker, a handsome reality television producer. The extra cash is great, but she'd be lying if she said she didn't enjoy his company too.
Friends and family see Jack as the perfect tonic for Gilly, except for Guy, the newest recruit in her dog-walking group. What does he see and why does he feel it so strongly?
What exactly does Jack get up to at the weekends?
My first thoughts after finishing this book is I cannot believe it has taken me this long to finally read this beautiful book. From the moment we meet our main character Gilly (with a G!) I instantly warmed to her. Her character is very down to earth and like most people she has been through her fair share of heartache, her character comes across as very vulnerable but yet she seems to have a lovely sense of humour. I also loved the character of Guy who felt a little eccentric but yet a pure gentleman.
I am not a big fan of books which have lots of characters in as I find myself starting to lose track of who is who, but this was not the case in this book there were a lot of characters but each of the characters are developed well enough to be able to differentiate between each character. For me the beauty of this book is the fact that Peterson has managed to wind a story of Gilly's background into her current story which allows us the chance to get to know a little more about Gilly's past.
The storyline has everything you would need in a great read, humour, romance, loveable characters, suspense and the good old tear jerker scenario.
The pace of this book and also the realistic storyline made this book a real page turner and I for one will be looking forward to her new book which is due for release this year.
Review also on amazon and www.reabookreview.blogspot.com
'Monday to Friday Man' is Alice Peterson's latest novel and is thoroughly enjoyable. Although in many ways it is a light and easy read, it does also make you think as she tackles a couple of difficult issues. It is an immensely readable book that you should be able to read in just a few days - in fact it's perfect lazy summer reading!
The main character in 'Monday to Friday Man' is thirty four year old Gilly who has recently been jilted by Ed just days before the wedding. With her thirty-fifth birthday approaching, Gilly feels that her life is in a rut and it is time for a change. That is why she is soon found advertising for a Monday to Friday man, or in other words, a lodger who only stays during the week. He must like dogs though as Gilly already lives with the faithful Ruskin and she is found every morning walking with the dog walking group in the local park. After meeting a few unpromising prospective lodgers she settles on Jack Baker for whom she feels an instant attraction. Unsurprisingly, before long the landlady and the tenant become more than just good friends. It's a shame that he is only there from Monday to Friday though but when Gilly suggests that he stays at the weekends as well, Jack becomes elusive and secretive. She can't help wondering what he is hiding from her and exactly what he does do at the weekends.
Gilly's dog walking friends are all very concerned about her emotional welfare and want to make sure that Jack does not let her down the way Ed did. Most concerned is Guy who possibly wants to be more than just good friends with Gilly too! All in all, it made a very entertaining and easy read that kept me happy from the very first page.
I loved all of the characters in this book, particularly the dog walking set who really are quite a diverse and colourful bunch. I really felt the sense of friendship and caring as I was reading, all centred on Gilly who definitely is a loveable character. She is also someone that it is possible to emphasise with, particularly if you are in your thirties but have yet to meet Mr Right! It reminded me of a time when all my friends were settling down and having babies whilst I was lurching between disastrous relationships! I really recognised how Gilly was feeling much of the time and her sense that time is running out for her is portrayed very well.
'Monday to Friday Man' is not a frivolous read by any means though. This is because Gilly has had some challenging issues to deal with - the tragedy of losing a severely handicapped younger sister and the subsequent abandonment of her and her twin brother by their mother. There are some quite poignant moments as this part of the story is revealed through a series of flashbacks that intersperse the lighter moments.
Overall, 'Monday to Friday Man' is a very enjoyable read about relationships and friendship. It is also a little bit about following your heart and not worrying about the things that you cannot change such as Gilly's impending thirty fifth birthday! It is a book that will make you laugh and make you cry as well.
I am very grateful to Alice Peterson for sending me a copy of 'Monday to Friday Man',
'Monday to Friday Man' is currently available in paperback on amazon for £3.79 (November 2011).
This review has previously appeared under my name at www.curiousbookfans.co.uk