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Another fabulous heartwarming read from Katie Fforde. I adored the village setting and found myself wishing I too could do up a lovely little cottage (maybe one day). I wouldnt describe the book as exciting or thrilling but is the kind of book that is easy to read and perfectly enjoyable especially for a holiday read. Its a book filled with romance and lovable character (especially the dog that the main character ends up caring for!) Its a little predictable in places, and I think more could have happened but it was a good book nevertheless. Its quite a 'safe' book but in a nice familiar way. I could relate to the characters and enjoyed the homely vibe that pours out of every page. I laughed in places, and cried in others. Overall a well written story by a fantastic author. Go and buy this for your holiday read, its perfect for a chilled out setting.
I picked up this book from a book swap in a hostel while I was travelling and I have to say like all of Katie Ffordes book it makes the perfect holiday read. Ana is a newly qualified interior designer who decides to challenge herself by buying a tiny but adorable cottage in the Cotswolds and renovating it. However, this brings up lots of issues as the cottage is listed so there are lots of rules and regulations which the ever friendly Rob keeps bringing to her attention. Also, her neighbour, Chloe, convinces her to take in Caroline a former racing Greyhound. There are two love interests in this story with both Max and Rob vying for her attention.
I found this story to be really sweet; Ana is a very sassy character when coming up against Rob, which obviously shows her attraction to him. The book itself took a little while for me to get into but once I got going I was hooked! At 416 pages it isn't a short book but the writing is a reasonable size (much to the pleasure of my mother who complains at the size of writing in many books!) so it shouldn't take too long to read.
I purchased this book for 99p from my local charity shop - it's always a great place to find books!
'Practically Perfect' by Katie Forde follows the story of Anna, an interior designer who has pooled her inheritance together with her sister and purchased a quaint listed cottage which needs major renovation work to be carried out.
The cottage is adorable but listed which brings huge problems for Anna and makes her all the more determined to ensure that the project gets finished to a fantastic standard.
When Anna purchases the cottage she has no floorboards, no staircase and pretty much no furniture but she has determination and is going to ensure that the cottage looks gorgeous.
Anna meets her new neighbour who is a mother of three whose husband works away most of the time and for various reasons Anna & Chloe find each other relying on each other. Anna relies on Chloe for hot water and support on the lonely nights whilst she has no lighting or heating in the cottage and for baths mainly. Chloe finds herself relying on Anna as they become great friends and she has someone to confide in and rely on when times get a little tough.
Chloe somehow managers to get Anna lumbered with a dog which is how she comes to meet Rob Hunter who is not only the listed homes officer (ensuring that the cottage is restored to how it would have been before) but he is the Dogs Trust rehoming officer so not only does he have the power to take Anna's new dog, Caroline (a greyhound), away from her, he also has the power to deny her the correct paperwork to enable her to sell the cottage once it is finished.
Anna attends a college reunion and meets her one time professor who she once thought she was madly in love with, however, she realies just how arrogant he is and that the man she really wants is a lot closer to home than she would like to admit, even to herself!
This book is an absolutely fantastic read and a real page turner. I found myself hurrying through the chores in the evening so that I could sit down for a good couple of hours reading and I had completed this book in just two days.
This book was obviously very popular when first released as it was a top ten best seller.
I would recommend this book, it's a little slow to begin with and whilst I found it to be a little predictable, it was really nice when I predicted what would happen and was completely right about everything! I like a nice chicklit and will definitely be checking out other books by Katie Forde.
Just be warned that once you've started this book you might find it takes over your life, for a few days at least!
Ill cut straight to the chase
. this book bored me so much I actually didnt finish it. I tried, God knows, I tried.
I considered whether it would be fair of me to do a review on a book I hadnt finished but then I thought that anybody considering buying it really needed to know the worst about it.
After all, its only my opinion. Others have enjoyed it.
Firstly, I will say that I have read all of Katie Ffords previous books and, apart from Floras Lot (which I couldnt be bothered to finish, either) each has been a delight, in its own charming way.
Charming is the operative word when describing Katie Ffords books. She writes extremely well, in a cosy, curling up by the fire with a hot chocolate, kind of way.
Her central characters are always women, usually in their mid-30s, mostly middle-class and all looking for love. They are friendly, sociable and resourceful women who, naturally finding themselves in either a crisis or sticky situation, have the wit and wisdom to dig themselves out eventually and finding the man of their dreams into the bargain.
Perfect light reading.
Practically Perfect is the story of Chloe who buys herself a delightful cottage at a knock-down price somewhere just outside London. Luckily, she is an interior designer and aims to do most of the renovations required, sell the cottage and move on.
The story revolves around her attempts at these renovations; run-ins with the local council regarding building regulations and the adoption of a retired greyhound. It was a story which had all the right ingredients but which, somehow, fell flat somewhere near the halfway stage.
I remember buying it on my way to the hairdressers and looking forward to sitting for a couple of hours, settled with this jolly nice story. I do remember my initial impressions were favourable. It was a pleasant story-line which just sort of went on in a wishy-washy manner once Id hit the middle.
There was far too much description of what people were doing in the kitchen, or the dining room. I remember thinking, more than once: For Gods sake! I dont give a stuff! Get on with the damn story!
The writing wasnt tight. It rambled and went over the same things more than once. Grr! Get on with it! was a spitting exclamation my better-half raised his eyebrows at, more than once.
It was no good. Id spied and ordered a thrilling, fast-paced well-written yarn of another favourite author of mine and I put aside Practically Perfect to read something with a bit of oomph.
Weeks went by and further books were picked up and finished by me but PP lay there forlorn and unread.
One more time? Okay .. here we go. Five minutes later: nope, no good, I could feel great waves of apathy coming over me. At my age, life is far too short to waste time on piffle so I popped the book on Amazon where it was duly snaffled up by a Katie Fford fan who, I really hope, enjoyed it.
So, for what its worth, if you like a story so gentle it wouldnt scare your maiden aunt; then you may just enjoy this one.
If you read for escapism in the form of tight, well-controlled writing, something with a bit of bite with lively and memorable characters you won't find it between the pages of Practically Perfect.
© Louise Saunders 2007
Katie Fforde is one of my favourite contemporary authors particularly when I am looking for a slightly lighter read. I have just finished reading 'Practically Perfect' and although, for some reason, I found it a bit difficult to get in to, by the end I was thoroughly enjoying the story!
The book tells the story of Anna, a newly qualified interior designer, who is trying to prove herself by doing up a small cottage in the Cotswolds. This is not without its difficulties though, as the cottage is listed and therefore subject to all sorts of rules and regulations!
Along the way, Anna is befriended by Chloe, her friendly neighbour, and her brood of noisy boys. She is also persuaded to take on ownership of Caroline, a former racing greyhound in need of a good home! There is love interest in the form of Max, for whom she has held a candle for years, but also Rob, who is definitely much more comfortable and easy to be around.
When reading this book, it feels like a nice gentle meander to start with although towards the end everything does tend to reach crisis point which definitely keeps you guessing - I mean you wouldn't want it all to be too gentle as there really wouldn't be much of a story! It is also quite an interesting read if you are a fan of programmes such as 'Property Ladder' or 'Grand Designs', as we share with Anna all the trials and tribulations of renovating a listed building from the flooring to the staircase, all of which have to meet exact specifications!
The story actually have a number of threads running through - the interior design of the cottage; the looking after of Caroline the greyhound; life in a small country village; and what is probably of primary interest to most female readers - the love story! All of these threads are woven and integrated well in order to provide an absorbing read.
I think Katie Fforde is very good at creating well rounded, interesting characters. Most are very likeable and once you start liking them you start to care about what happens to them! Anna makes a very interesting central character - tenacious, industrious, caring, confused, and above all a walking disaster as far as her own love life is concerned, never daring to trust her own feelings. For the reader she can be very frustrating as you will her to make the right choices for her! Rob and Max are the two characters who affect Anna's heart in different ways - both again are well developed and contrast well with each other. Some other characters are quite comical such as Max's mother who is certainly a snob! She is both pompous and opinionated and does not even admit to buying cakes from the local WI cake stall!
I think 'Practically Perfect' is a nicely paced novel - a very gentle read although there are definitely a couple of quite tense events as well. It is not the sort of book that is going to test your intellect in any way, but if you are looking for a bit of escapism after a hard day at work or looking after the children, I would definitely recommend this book.
With just less than 400 pages it is published by Arrow, and the paperback version has an RRP of £6.99.
Will Anna's grand designs prove just a pipe dream? Anna, a newly qualified interior designer, has decided it's time to put her money and her expertise where her mouth is. She's risked everything on buying a tiny but adorable cottage so she can renovate it, sell it on, and prove to her family that she can earn her own living. Outside, the chocolate-box cottage is perfect, but inside all is chaos: with a ladder for a staircase, no downstairs flooring, candles the only form of lighting and a sleeping bag and camping mat for a bed, Anna's soon wondering whether she's bitten off more than she can chew. Her neighbour Chloe comes to the rescue, providing tea, wine and sympathy - and a recently rescued greyhound, Caroline. But just as Anna's starting to believe she's found the perfect idyll, the good-looking yet impossible Rob Hunter arrives on the scene, putting up more obstacles than the Grand National. Can Anna get over all of life's hurdles?