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I know you really shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but I am terrible and always do. I can't help it, if its pretty or eye-catching then generally it'll be interesting to me and I'll want to read it and thats what happened with this book, its unusual and attractive green cover jumped out at me off the bookshelf and I decided to take a chance on an author I'd never heard of before. I am glad I did because I really enjoyed the book, and will be looking for more by Gemma Townley.
Jessica Wilde isn't too interested in relationships, so when her elderly and ill friend Grace keeps pestering her about finding a man, Jessica decides to make one up, to the point where she marries him! The only problem is she pretended to Grace that she married her boss Anthony Milton, and in Grace's will, she has left everything to Mrs Jessica Milton. Jess realises if she wants her inheritance, she has to marry Anthony for real - but she only has 5 weeks to do so. Can she make Anthony fall in love in just a few weeks? And is it really what she wants?
According to the author's foreword, she has somewhat based this story upon the play "The Importance of Being Earnest" by Oscar Wilde after reading it but I can't really comment on that much because I haven't read that story myself. To me, it just sounded like a fun if unrealistic and somewhat silly storyline, but I don't read books for them to be like real life because for me, reading is escapism and I do enjoy a silly read sometimes. I do get nervous reading new authors, especially if I've parted with my hard earned cash for them, but after reading just a few pages of this, I knew I would love it, and I actually found it hard to put down!
The book begins by introducing us to Jessica Wilde and her grandmother who is a nursing home. This is how Jess meets Grace, and it takes a good few pages to set the story for this book. However, I liked this because I felt like I was getting a really good background for the story and it allowed me to feel like I was straight in there from the off, which is always good for keeping a reader interested. I was unsure at first whether the introduction had gone on a bit long, but with hindsight it was very enjoyable and set the scene nicely. The rest of the book is Jessica trying to get her boss Anthony to fall for her, and what happens from then on, so it does cover a good amount of story albeit in a short time period in which the book is set.
Being written in the first person, the book had to have a likeable leading lady and Townley has definitely created that in Jessica Wilde. I sort of felt like Jessica had got what she deserved when her inheritance was left to her married name, after all no good comes of lying, but as the story unfolds I felt differently and really liked Jessica. She's a happily single woman in a good job in advertising, and its nice to see a strong woman in a lead role who isn't desperate for a man as these characters often are in "chick-lit". But Townley has made Jessica likeable which is important in a book aimed at women, and the way she developed throughout the story was well done and didn't seem too ridiculous.
The supporting characters were also good, although you can sort of see through most of them straight away and how things will turn out with them in the end. Anthony was a smary so and so, and although I didn't like him, he was very good for the story and made for some interesting reading. His colleague Max is clearly besotted with Jess but to my annoyance she just couldn't see it. He was a lovely man though and he balanced out Anthony very well. Helen is Jessica's best friend, and probably the nicest character out of all of them, and certainly the most normal as well! They all work well in the story, and its nice to see a range of characters in the book.
I was really impressed with this book, and indeed the authors writing style too. It had me engrossed from the first few pages and although the story seemed a tad ridiculous, it was a really fun read and something I quickly got into. The characters were likeable and fun, and made a silly storyline enjoyable which was important when you're looking at a story that is slightly unbelievable. Townley has used the first person narrative very well, and although this isn't my preferred method of story-telling, it works well in this book and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I would recommend it to people who like a light-hearted read to pass the time, because this did the job for me nicely. It was fun, and at 352 pages it's not too long either, it was just right. A highly enjoyable read, and I look forward to reading its sequel to be released in Jan 2010, "A Wilde Affair".
ISBN: 978-1409102151. Published by Orion in Jan 2009. Paperback contains 352 pages.
Author Information: http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/t/gemma-townley/
Thank you for reading.