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The Good Girl's Guide to Bad Men - Jessica Brody

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Genre: Fiction / Author: Jessica Brody / Paperback / 336 Pages / Book is published 2009-10-01 by Ebury Press

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      28.09.2009 19:47
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      Enjoyable but not as good as The Fidelity Files

      Jennifer Hunter returns in the sequel to Jessica Brody's first novel The Fidelity Files. Now running her own business, The Hawthorne Agency, Jennifer has a team of fidelity inspectors and has unoficially retired. She's in a happy relationship with Jamie and it's all going swimmingly until a twelve-year-old girl walks into the office and asks Jennifer to fidelity test her father. Will Jennifer say yes? And if so, how will that effect her relationship with Jamie?

      I loved Jessica Brody's debut novel The Fidelity Files and that's saying something because I rarely enjoy American chick-lit. I prefer my chick-lit to be British as I find American chick-lit makes the heroines much more self-centered and they are, generally, quite annoying. However there are a few exceptions: Emily Giffin (who I love) and now, it seems, Jessica Brody! The only thing that worried me about The Good Girl's Guide to Bad Men was whether or not it would live up to how fabulous The Fidelity Files was.

      First off I thought the opening chapter was perfect. It was akin to a movie opening - it set the scene perfectly, flicking between first- and third-person describing why Jennifer was in the court room and exactly what happened during the fidelity test Jennifer was an expert-witness on. Bar the opening chapter, the rest of the novel was written in first-person from Jennifer's perspective (like The Fidelity Files) which worked perfectly as Jennifer's was the only perspective we needed the book to be from.

      I thought The Good Girl's Guide to Bad Men carried on perfectly from The Fidelity Files albeit it was set a year later and I easily got into the novel. Jennifer was as great as ever, both in her (new) role as leader of 5 fidelity inspectors and also trying to juggle her home life. I liked that she tried to keep her work life and her personal life separate and applaud the fact she managed to do that most of the time. Jennifer hadn't changed much in herself since the first book, bar retiring from doing fidelity inspections herself, so I still found her very likeable although I can't say I could relate to her - she is a former fidelity inspector after all!

      The book is mainly about Jennifer but there are a few supporting characters to keep the book moving along. First off is Jennifer's boyfriend Jamie, who I felt was under-used. I so wish he had been in more of the book but because of everything that happened I could see why he wasn't. I liked that Jessica brought back John, Zoe and Sophie (Jennifer's friends) and I liked all three of them. I admit, though, I knew exactly what it was Zoe was hiding (very obvious). I don't remember Jennifer's father being mentioned in the first book but it was nice anyway to have him in this one. He's obviously an integral part of the story and is the predominant reason Jennifer is a fidelity inspector.

      That was all good but the question really was if The Good Girl's Guide to Bad Men could live up to it's predecessor The Fidelity Files and for me, it didn't. It was an excellent read, yes, but there was a lot I disagreed with. I can't believe how easy Jennifer lied to Jamie and I felt their relationship seemed doomed early on in the book. I knew, from the outset, Jennifer would undoubtedly go back to being a fidelity inspector and while I liked her in that role in the first book I preferred her being the leader of the pack in this one rather than doing it herself. I also thought it was blindingly obvious that Jamie and Jennifer's relationship was going far too fast. Jennifer, in both books, did not come across as the type to let that happen and yet she did. It confused me as, for me, that seemed out of character. I also thought the ending was a bit rushed - I was glad Jennifer finally decided her life wasn't what she wanted it to be but the changes she made all came incredibly quickly. Jessica said in an interview at the back of the book that after The Fidelity Files she didn't feel Jennifer's story was over and I think the same can be said for The Good Girl's Guide to Bad Men. Yes there was a happy ending but there seems to be more that can come from this - I can't even mention what it is without spoiling the ending so I'll leave it at that.

      Overall it was an enjoyable enough book and is an incredibly easy book to whizz through but, for me, I don't think it lived up to the greatness of The Fidelity Files. Jessica wrote such a great debut it was always going to be difficult for the sequel to live up to it. It is well worth a read, though, because I did enjoy it.

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