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'The Cupid Effect' by Dorothy Koomson
"Dare you follow your heart?"
This was a book I picked up in Derby 'Bookcrossing' shelf and I selected it having read a couple of this author's books before and enjoyed them. I chose this one for the plane as I thought it would be a nice light read and when I am travelling and tired I need a book with a good story but one that is an easy read as my concentration does tend to flag a little when tired.
The book starts off well enough with a young woman giving up her well paid editorial job at a women's magazine to follow her dream of further study and becoming a lecturer at Leeds Met. Instantly I thought she must be mad why give up a glamorous job in London to teach! Her London job would be my daughter's idea of a dream job but that aside , I read on.
The heroine is Ceri D'altroy and she gives up her life job and flat in London and moves back to Leeds to share a flat with two other post grad students and become a psychology lecturer. The first thing that didn't ring true was that a post grad male student would have a luxury house beautifully furnished, students are poor and in debt aren't they? The second thing was if Ceri had a flat in London and was renting it out and also being paid as a lecturer why did she need to flat share with two post grad students? I suspect it was only to feed in more characters personally.
I also found it highly unlikely that she and her lecturer from her student days who was twenty plus years older than her would really be such close friends. Would two lecturers really go out on binge drinking nights especially as one was nearly fifty and had two children and a husband. I always had far too much work to prepare and mark when I was teaching but maybe that is just my pickiness.
I just found the whole idea of someone with such an academic job being such a flake and stupid romantic was an unlikely story. Is a psychology lecturer really going to watch all the rubbish soaps and 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' and have such as strange fixation with 'Angel' in this television series? Again maybe I am wrong but it just seems very unlikely to me.
Ceri is a successful career woman, but she seems incapable of maintaining any relationships and picks men who seem to all have some sort of peculiarity or emotional hang up. Her longest relationship was with a man she refers to as 'Whatshisface-Tosspot' and this obviously didn't end up well. Another she has nicknamed PP for 'Perfect Penis' which again I found a bit weird and rather chick lit and didn't ring true to me.
Ceri seems to attract people who find that she is a good listener and people seem to unburden their troubles onto her. She has a tendency to hand out advice which is taken up and doesn't always end up well for those involved.
Her charismatic personality seems to attract some rather strange people and also appears to make those with her amazingly attractive to the opposite sex. This loosely fits with her academic study where she is researching subliminal messages that people may or may not be giving out to others either intentionally or not. Her best friend finally decides she must be a modern day cupid and Ceri isn't at all happy about that. Hence the book's title I guess.
Ceri's advice does not always go too well and she decides that she is not going to talk to anyone or gave any advice and hides away from everyone from her housemates to her work colleagues and friends. When she comes out from her seclusion she decides to hand out different advice, people's lives change and in the end it is a sort of happily ever after ending.
I found things were just a little too easy to sort and the characters rather too cardboard and obvious. I didn't warm to anyone and would cheerfully given most of them a good slap for being so pathetic.
This book was an easy enough read and was not hard to get into but after about half way I began to wonder why I was bothering. If this had been the first of Koomson's books I had read I certainly wouldn't bother reading another but as I have read a couple of her other books I will give her another chance.
I found 'My Best Friends Girl' was much more believable story and had more real characters. This book however, sadly lacked any true to life characters and I really didn't care who ended up with whom in the end. In fact the end was so twee , unlikely and sugary soppy that I almost had my fingers down my throat.
'The Cupid Effect 'was in fact the first of Dorothy Koomson's novels and it is indeed not a patch on her later books in my view. I would not recommend this at all it was rather 'Mills and Boon' in my view. It was an easy read but I really did wonder why I was bothering to finish it but I don't like giving upon books so I ploughed on till the bitter or in this case, saccharine sweet end despite my feelings or boredom.
Other people have said they found this amusing but sadly I didn't. I was just irritated by stupidity and unlikely events and behaviour and incredibly cardboard characters. The plot meanders around needlessly and as far as I was concerned this was chick lit at its worst, pointless drivel.
The best that can be said is that it was an easy light read that didn't take up too much of my time and filled the plane flight at least.
I would not bother reading this and would recommend it to only the most devoted chick lit readers as it really is chick lit and lacks any real believable plot or characters at all. Pass this one by and try one of her later books as these have far more to them. If this is the only book you have read by this author then don't be put off as her other books are far better. So try another before judging her.
Thanks for reading. This review may be posted on other sites under my same user name.
Review of The Cupid Effect, a novel by Dorothy Koomson
I am reviewing the paperback version of this novel, published by Sphere, 320 pages, ISBN 978-075153969, Genre:- Modern Fiction, cover price £6.99.
This book was first published in August 2003. My copy is a reprint, published in 2007. It can be found on Amazon from £4.60 new or for as little as 0.01p (+P&P) used.
Central character, Ceri D'Altroy, is a footloose and fancy free single lady in her thirties. Ceri has a good job in London, her own flat, friends, family and a slightly odd fixation with the lead actor in 'Angel' the television series vampire.
Ceri is outwardly a successful woman, but she is looking for love in her life. She has had relationships in the past but they have been disappointing and never really amounted to more than a few dates, apart from an ill-judged live in relationship with a man she refers to as Whatshisface-Tosspot'.
Ceri is a somewhat blunt person, who at times says exactly what is on her mind, a characteristic that sometimes causes offence or surprise. In spite of her outspokenness, Ceri is known as a good listener, her friends and colleagues tend to confide in her and seek her advice on their personal lives. At times this takes over Ceri's own life as she becomes embroiled in other people's problems, as she find she can actually feel their emotions.
Ceri feels her life in London is going nowhere fast, so she sets out to change her destiny. She applies for and gets a post as a psychology lecturer in Leeds. She had studied at the university in her youth and still has a good friend living in the city.
Jess, Ceri's friend, helps her find accommodation in a shared house and the die is cast. Ceri leaves her job and heads for a new life in Leeds.
The plot meanders through Ceri's nervous first lectures and her efforts to make friends. Her habit of helping others continues in Leeds and Ceri finds she is as popular as a listening board for others as she was in London, but she is becoming dragged down by the intrigues and problems of others once more.
Ceri decides that enough is enough and she is tired of being an agony aunt to all and sundry. Even her new boss pours out her heart to Ceri. Her life is also blighted by her total lack of success with men, as she only seems to attract those with troubles or the slightly strange person whom Ceri nicknames 'Staring Man' due to his habit of turning up in odd places and merely staring at her!
So, this beggars the question, where does Cupid come into all this? And does Ceri find love? Does her new life in Leeds work out?
If you'd like to know I'm afraid you'll have to read the novel, no spoilers here!
**My Thought and Conclusion**
I was given a carrier bag of paperbacks recently by a friend who knows my voracious reading appetite, as a speed reader, a novel a day can be quite the norm, especially with a fairly short novel such as the Cupid Effect. This book was among them.
The Cupid Effect was the first novel of The author Dorothy Koomson and I'm afraid it shows. I have read one of her books before and found it very good, but in my opinion, this is not a patch on her following work.
That said, I did enjoy the novel very much, I liked the central character, although at times felt exasperation and had the desire to shake her! This is probably because the character reminded me of my grown up daughter, who also gathers friends' problems to her bosom, becoming embroiled in their issues, only to feel hurt when they move on, once sorted out.
Ceri seemed to blunder into situations and I found her outspokenness amusing, not shocking. She was never rude, merely spoke her mind and didn't hold her tongue, she said what she thought, a characteristic I quite like in others.
The plot handles Ceri's increasing sensitivity to others people's emotions in a humorous, yet very compassionate fashion and as the plot progressed I found myself actually caring about her.
The plot does wander slightly, at times I couldn't really see the point of certain events, as they added little to the overall storyline. The dialogue is written crisply and the characters are believable, likeable and well drawn, as are the situations and events in the novel.
As mentioned, The Cupid Effect is not in my opinion, one of this authors better novels. I have to say that if I were basing my opinion on this book alone, I doubt I would bother to seek out her other novels. A pity, but this is sometimes the case with a first novel, Dorothy Koomson's subsequent books are infinitely better.
That said, it is an enjoyable piece of escapism and a perfect novel to while away a few hours in the sun with.
I am awarding the book 3* and would recommend to others.
Thank you for reading.
©brittle1906 August 2011.
N.B. My reviews may appear on other sites under the same user name.
Dorothy Koomson's book The Cupid Effect is another very good read, however unlike the others it took me a bit longer to actually get into it. It is her first book though and I read it after I had read a few others of her books, which are all really brilliant and a must read!, but her first book is still worth a read with a great storyline. The book is about a woman called Ceri D'Altroy who packs up all her stuff and rents her flat out, after she watches a chat show, and moves from London to Leeds to go back to uni. She made this move in order to become a psychology lecturer and moves into a student house where she lives with two male students. Mel only knows one other person in Leeds Claudine who use to be her teacher when she was studying at Leeds.
I think I might have been spoilt by reading Dorothy Koomson's later books which to my mind have all been really exceptional thought provoking reads. I had not read her first novel The Cupid Effect though so when I saw it in a book swapping site it was an obvious read. However, although it is an entertaining read, like many first novels, it lacks the depth and richness of her later books.
The Cupid Efect tells the story of Ceri D'Altroy, a single thirty something woman who has given up her job and home in London to follow her dream as a psychology lecturer in Leeds. As she is starting anew she resolves not to allow herself to fall into the trap of 'agony aunt' to everyone she knows, which was the case in London. However, it's not long before work collegues and housemates start confiding in her and she is drawn into other peoples' problems yet again! This would not be so bad if Ceri's own personal life was sorted but there has been no one special for a long time and the prospects don't look good. One friend points out that she has 'the Cupid Effect' - helping everyone else to find love even if she can't herself.
The book follows through the various characters and their problems. I did like the character of Ceri although at times she was a bit exasperating and you wished that she would follow her own advice. She was very warm and open though and you could easily understand why others would choose to share their problems with her. Dorothy Koomson is very good at creating well rounded, believeable characters and this is true in this first novel as much as her later books. Generally I feel that her characters are the sort of people I wouldn't mind knowing! I'm sure many readers would identify with some of them and their reltionship problems too.
On the wole this is a light hearted and humourous story which is very easy to read. However it does have its more serious moments too and there was one occasion when I found myself close to tears. With her later books I have found myself sobbing uncontrollably at the sheer emotion, but with this book there is just a hint of her amazing ability to tug at the heartstrings!
My overall opinion is that this is a good book but not a great one. It was definitely worth reading but I wonder if, had I read it first, I would have read all her other books and become the avid Dorothy Koomson fan that I am today. Probably not! Therefore, if this is the only book you have read by this author do go on and read more - she is definitely and author who has grown and improved with each book!
The Cupid Effect - Dorothy Koomson
"Dare you follow your heart?"
Ceri D'altroy leaves London and her job to move back to Leeds to become a psychology lecturer. Where ever she goes she seems to attract people who think she is a good listener, when they find out she has a psychology degree she finds them unburdening their soul on her. She also ends up playing cupid and matchmaking people together. This doesn't end when she moves into a house with two lads in Leeds, telling one of them to tell the girl of his dreams that he likes her, and telling the other to tell the boy he keeps going back to, how he feels about him.
She finds that things don't always go well, and as the people around her find her advice doesn't always lead to a happy ending; she refuses to give anymore advice and hides away from her housemates and work colleagues/friends. She then sorts everything out, whether or not it is what everybody wants to hear about their love lives. Her best friend finally decides she must be a modern day cupid and Ceri isn't happy about that.
This book was quite easy to get into and I enjoyed reading it. However I don't think it was quite as good as some of the others written by the same author. I found my best friends girl to be more filled with emotion, and The Cupid Effect lacked that aspect. Although it was a good read, it was as gripping as the others she has written. There was a lot of emotion between the characters but you didn't really end up feeling it.
I also borrowed this one off my sister and if I hadn't read others by this author I probably wouldn't have bothered by the plot description on the back.