This is a review of the 1997 book 'Second Prize' by Chris Manby. The title of the book refers to people who settle for second best when it comes to settling down and being in a relationship.
***A bit about the book (but not too much!) ***
The story centres on Lara Fenton who just can't seem to meet a nice man. Her best friend Julie has got it all, the man, the engagement, the wedding and the christening. She tries to help Lara in her quest for a decent man but sometimes her guidance is not helpful. Lara meets Hugh Armstrong-Hamilton, a posh but strange (and tight) financial whizz.
When it's time for Julie to get married, it leaves Lara in a bit of a sticky situation with her flat share and she needs to find someone to pay half the bills quickly before she loses her London pad.
Through the book, Lara comes across as a ditzy, clumsy and loyal person. She has some great qualities and is a character you really warm to. You can see how many times she lets Hugh back into her life that she's making a big mistake but hey ho, they do say love is blind.
***Best bit for me**
My favourite part of the book is when Lara goes to Wales for a weekend with Hugh and his posh chums. One of the girls is so jealous of Lara being with Hugh she puts her in another wing with dangerous floorboards to stop any "night visits" between the pair, sends her off horse riding on a difficult horse knowing that Lara has no experience of horse riding (only donkey trekking on the beach as a child!) and then chucks a pot of boiling coffee on her lap for looking too glamorous at their evening meal. It does make entertaining reading though!
**Nice easy going writing style*****
I wouldn't say this book would be for everyone, for starters, it's not nearly challenging enough and the storyline is a bit predictable from the start you can guess who Lara will end up with. It is, however written in a great style with some funny humours bits intertwined and that keeps you interested.
***What I didn't like about the book****
Lara really is a bit too generous and gullible as a character. She hands her cash card over without question to Hugh and doesn't really bother when he 'loses' it and all the money disappears from her account. I don't know anyone in real life who would be that stupid, do you?
To say it's 13 years old, it's actually aged quite well, and didn't feel really "90s" as a read! You do find yourself rooting for the main character Lara and hoping that it will all work out. This book would make a perfect lazy holiday read that you can dip in and out of, I didn't feel the need to read it in one sitting anyway!