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I have always enjoyed Rowan Coleman's books so I'm always pleased when I spot a new one of hers. I was especially pleased when I picked up The Accidental Family because I realised it is a sequel to one of her earlier books - The Accidental Mother. I had read this a while ago and really enjoyed it so it was interesting to see what happened to the characters afterwards. Having said that though, The Accidental Family can be read as a stand alone novel although it does have an added value if you read The Accidental Mother first.
In the first book Sophie Mills suddenly finds herself looking after her best friend's two daughters after a fatal car accident. At the end of the book, the girls' long lost father has reappeared and Sophie has fallen in love with him. They all move to Cornwall and this second book follows what happens as they start to become a family and Sophie and Louie plan their wedding.
It 's the sort of book that is quite funny in places but also very thought provoking as the strength of the couple's relationship is tested in many ways - not least when Louie suddenly discovers that he has a previously unknown about grown up son from a former relationship! It's the sort of story that, if you have been in the situation of forming a new family, that it's very easy to identify with.
Much of the story is taken up with Sophie's worry that perhaps things are moving a bit too fast. On the one hand she is really excited about the wedding but then she worries that she and Louie hardly know each others and it's only the circumstances that they have found themsewlves in that has made them so close. She is particularly worried when Louie's discovery about his son causes him to virtually shut her out from his thoughts and he spends far too much time with his old flame. There are many twists and turns in this story and right up to the very end Rowan Coleman keeps you guessing as to whether the family are going to make it together or not. It all goes at a good pace and there's plenty there to keep your interest!
I thought all the characters were great and extremely believeable. I really could identify with Sophie and the two little girls are depicted so well that they reminded me of my own two daughters - right down to wanting to be bridesmaids wearing fairy wings! There are also a whole host of minor characters who really add to the flavour of the story. My favourite was the old Mrs Tregowan - a widow who has been married four time and loves telling Sophie about all the risque events from her past. She also has a lot of wisdom too and is also not beyond the hope that there might yet be another love of her life just waiting around the corner.
Overall this book is a very good read and has all the right ingredients to make you want to read on. It's funny, thoughtful and moving and I have to admit there were one or two parts that had me very close to tears! That's definitely the mark of a good book.
The paperback is currently available from Amazon for £4.15.
Six months ago, city girl Sophie Mills gave up everything to move to Cornwall. All to be with the man she thinks she loves, and his two daughters who she knows she loves. But adjusting to life as a semi-permanent mother in the countryside isn't quite as easy as Sophie imagined it would be.
Designer shoes aren't nearly so readily available - not that she ever has any occasion to wear them - and her best pair of vintage Manolo's have already found their way into the girls' dressing-up box.Sometimes Sophie doesn't recognise herself; which most of the time makes her happy but every now and then scares her to death.
The hardest thing of all is making that final commitment to actually move in with Louis and the girls - she's been the longest paying guest of the Avalon B&B, St Ives in the history of the establishment. And as she tries to adapt to country life, her newly adopted family and discovering more about Louis' past, she begins to wonder if she's got what it takes to make it all work...
Following on from The Accidental Mother, we pick up Sophie, Louis, Bella and Izzy six months down the line when Louis proposes. I found The Accidental Family as good as The Accidental Mother but felt it was written differently. Whereas I felt The Accidental Mother was more about Bella and Izzy, The Accidental Family focuses more on the adults.
All of the main characters returned along with a couple of new ones - Carmen, Mrs Alexander and Grace Tregowan who were all hilarious particularly Grace. Some of the plot lines were a bit easy to guess - from how the chapter when Wendy first appears was written I kind of guessed why she had disappeared years ago.
The main plot with Wendy/Louis is a well-used plotline but it still works and I enjoyed how Sophie and Bella picked up straight away how nasty and manipulative Wendy seemed to be. I thought Louis was flaky and it seemed that everything that was said in The Accidental Mother was false but all wasn't as it seems and I understood how he was used to dealing with things by himself.
Sophie was as good as ever but it was a shame she didn't have more interaction with the children because I enjoy having Bella and Izzy being the main focus rather than the adult troubles. I enjoyed her re-visiting her old haunts in London and realising she didn't want that life any more. I also saw her pregnancy coming but it was a nice surprise.
I thought Cal was hilarious and I was glad he returned and found love (his stalking episode was really funny), along with Iris Sophie's mother who also found love. Even Artemis, the cat, returned and had kittens.
I really enjoyed The Accidental Family and do wonder if there may be a third instalment. How much more the family can deal with, who knows?, but I wouldn't say no to a third book - I could read about Sophie, Louis, Bella, Izzy and all, all day long.
First reviewed at http://chicklitreviews.wordpress.com
I was really excited when I saw Rowan Coleman's 'The Accidental Family ' while in Tesco. I am a big fan of Rowan Coleman's style of family orientated Chick Lit, and loved the predecessor to this, 'The Accidental Mother'. However I found that although I enjoyed this book it was not as good as the first one
Without giving too much away if you haven't read 'The Accidental Mother', City Girl Sophie Mills is left to bring up her best friend's two little girls Bella and Izzy when she passes away and their father cannot be found. Sophie knows nothing about children and currently has no desire to have any, and finds her life being turned upside down with hilarious results. Eventually the girls' father Louis returns to claim his daughters.....
Fast forward 6 months and Sophie has swapped her London life for Mrs Alexander's guest house in Cornwall where Louis has settled with Bella and Izzy. For various reasons she doesn't feel ready to move in with them. Sophie knows she loves the girls, and she thinks she loves Louis, but when she finds herself accepting his proposal she realises how little she knows about him. Thus begins a rollercoaster ride of emotion as Sophie confronts skeletons in Louis' closet, the return of lush American Jake, her love interest before Louis, and a whole host of other hurdles to overcome.
The story unfolds in the third person, so we see the tale from an outsiders point of view. As with standard third person chick lit this means you can normally see what is coming a mile off. However this does not really take much away from the book, but I found there were points I was secretly hoping to be surprised with a surprise twist.
My main disappoint with this book is the lack of warmth and depth to Louis character - which is a real turn off for a male lead in a chick lit novel! This is the same as in the first novel, when I really wanted her to stay with Jake rather than fall for Louis. As Louis' past was a central part of the plot I felt he needed a few more dimensions, or else the storyline to explain why his character was so flat, but that never happened. This lack of characters made you question why someone as strong and feisty as Sophie would want to be with him.
However Rowan Coleman has added some great new characters, my favourite being Grace. Grace is an elderly lady who lives at Mrs Alexander's, who swears like a trooper and is addicted to television chat shows. She talks Sophie through her many loves and marriages, with some of her tales being very moving.
All in all this is a very good chick lit novel, which is really easy to read as either a sequel or as a standalone novel. I found I could put it down, but I did look forward to the moments when I could pick it up again. I would recommend it to any avid chick lit reader
'The Accidental Family' is the sequel to Rowan Coleman's book 'The Accidental Mother'. I read 'The Accidental Mother' a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it, so I was happy to find the follow-up in Borders as if I've enjoyed a book, I love finding out what happens next in the lives of the characters.
'The Accidental Mother' is the story of a London career girl called Sophie who has to take custody of her best friend's two little girls after their mother is killed in a car accident and nobody knows where their father is. Looking after two little children is a completely alien concept to Sophie and the book tells the story of her struggle to adapt to the situation she finds herself in. There are many trials and tribulations along the way, but ultimately Sophie falls in love with the two girls and becomes almost like a mother to them. However, in a final twist, their father Louis returns from overseas to claim his daughters and Sophie ends up falling in love with him.
'The Accidental Family' is set six months after the end of the first book. Sophie has given up her glamorous life in London to move to Cornwall to be near Louis and his daughters. She is living in a B&B in St Ives as she is not ready to make the final commitment to move in with them, but acting as a mother to the girls at the same time doing the school runs and caring for the children. She is a completely different person to the career girl at the start of the first book - she is adjusting to a different way of life, making new friends and eating endless cream teas. However, she is struggling to work out whether this is really the life that she wants - she knows that she loves the girls and thinks that she is in love with Louis, but does she really have what it takes to make it all work. After a while, she realises what it is that she wants - only for new twists and challenges to emerge.
The characters in this book are very well developed. I found Sophie a very likeable character with lots of depth to her personality. Sometimes she seems like she is completely in control and sometimes the emotional upheavals in her life get the better of her. I feel that this makes her a very realistic character who I could really relate to. I don't think the character of Louis is as strongly developed, but that only serves to emphasise Sophie's doubts about whether she really knows that much about him apart from him being good in bed. My favourite characters in the story are the two girls, Bella and Izzy. Through these children, the author captures perfectly what it is like to be little girls - mostly they are funny, happy children living in a bubble of pink glitter and fairy wings, but they are also fragile, insecure and deeply affected by the sad events of their past.
Like the first novel, this book is an emotional rollercoaster as the events unfold. It could have been a fluffy story of wedding planning and happy ever afters, but it is much more complex than that. Every time you think that the characters are getting their lives sorted out and things are starting to settle down for them, there is another twist which keeps you turning the pages to find out what happens next.
I really enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend it. I think that Rowan Coleman is one of the better chick-lit authors as her characters are well developed and there is more depth to her writing. You don't have to have read 'The Accidental Mother' to enjoy this book, but I do think having read it added to my enjoyment of this novel. I found it was a book that I just wanted to keep reading as I had to know what happened next and really got myself caught up in the story. It is perfect summer time reading for everyone who likes chick-lit - whether that means lying on a beach or just relaxing in the garden!