The Lost Guide To Love is a chick-lit novel by Welsh author Sharon Grifiths. The book was released in the United Kingdom in 2009 and so is fairly recent. The book is currently available to buy from Amazon for a price of £1.99. I got my copy from The Works as part of a 3 books for £5 offer.
~ * The Plot * ~
Follow food writer Tilly Flint as she discovers her roots, her sense of adventure and the secret to happiness in this timeless, inventive tale for fans of Eva Rice and Elizabeth Noble.Do the answers to Tilly Flint's future lie in her past?In a nightclub full of the rich and famous, a glamorous model leaps from a window and escapes into the night. Food writer Tilly Flint - on a rare date with boyfriend Jake - is sole witness to her flight. Little does she know the chain of events set to unfold...The following week, Tilly and Jake have the last of many arguments, leaving Tilly alone in the wild Pennines landscape where she's on assignment. Terrified yet strangely exhilarated, she investigates the area - and finds more than a few surprises.Intrigued to learn that, as an only child, she has family in the area, Tilly starts to dig deeper, discovering her great grandmother's past and the eerie parallels with her own life. As she explores the treacherous moors, she stumbles across mysterious pieces of cherry-red ribbon. What do they signify? And who is the strangely familiar face in the local pub?Then a chance encounter with celebrity Clayton Silver leads Tilly into a high-octane world that spells danger. Can the ribbons from the past be a lifeline in the present?
When I first began reading the book, I was a little bit disappointed. When I read the blurb of the book when I was in the shop, I thought that the book was going to be a bit of a 'mystery' read as opposed to the usual chick-lit books I read (which I love, I just thought that this book would be a change). I thought that the whole 'girl jumps out of window' plot (like it says on the back of the book) would be like some kind of murder mystery, when in fact there was nothing 'exciting' about it apart from the fact that Tilly recognised it.
The story is kept exciting as there are lot of different plots going on. At first, I thought that it wouldn't work as there seems to be so many plots and I couldn't see how it would all work. However, as the book went on, I really got into it and actually enjoyed all the different little plots. You could have had a couple of books out of this book.
I did enjoy this book; however there was one part of it that I just thought that is so far-fetched - I'm talking about the supermodel storyline. I remember reading something Tilly's mum says in the book (something about how when she saw the supermodel in the book she could tell she was 'family'), it just sounded a bit silly.
I liked the characters. Tilly was my favourite. She was a good character and easy to connect with. I also liked Becca. I really like the footballer Clayton too; he was actually really nice. Despite the fact that there were quite a few characters in the book, I didn't once get confused which was good.
I liked the different contrasts in the book; especially the ones between the present and the 19th century and the celebrity life and the 'normal' life. It certainly got me thinking as a reader.
I knew what the ending would be, however I didn't expect it to be so thorough and romantic. It was really special. I found this book to be quite inspiring - the kind of book which leaves you feeling good and makes you feel as though you can achieve anything and everything. It is definitely a feel good book.
I liked the newspaper column at the end which informed you of what every character was up to but it was written in a newspaper column which I thought was a great effect.
If you like cooking, then you may be interested to learn that there are some recipes at the back at the book. If you are wondering how this links up with the story...well the main character Tilly is a magazine food critic.
I would definitely recommend this book! It just gets better and better as you read on.
Thanks for reading!
Xdonzx / xd-o-n-z-x
Review of 'The Lost Guide to Life and Love', a novel by Sharon Griffiths
This review is based on the paperback version of the novel, published by Avon (A division of Harper Collins), 340 pages, ISBN 978-1847560919, cover price £6.99, Genre-: Modern Fiction.
Available from www.amazon.co.uk for £6.29 (with free P&P) new or from 0.01p used (+ P&P).
The site also offer this book in the Kindle version for £3.99
Set in the present time, The Lost Guide To Life and Love follows the fortunes of Tilly Flint, a food writer.
Tilly is in a relationship with journalist Jake, things are not going too well for them and Tilly sometimes feels that she does all the giving in their relationship.
The couple arrange to visit a fancy new London nightclub, the sort of place where celebrities hang out. At the club, Tilly sees a glamorous young model climb out of the ladies toilet window and run off down the street. The model is known in the world of fashion as 'Foxy'. Tilly thinks no more of the incident, writing it off as eccentric behaviour, however some days later the news breaks that 'Foxy' has gone to ground' and Tilly tells Jake what she saw. He is furious as he feels he could have had the first news story about the model, had Tilly told him what she had witnessed sooner.
Shortly after this, Tilly and Jake head to the wild Pennine region for a work assignment. Jake is chasing a story about the manager of Shadwell football club who owns a country estate in the area, whilst Tilly is planning to meet some local food producers to research a series of articles for the magazine she is employed by.
When Tilly tells her mother, Frankie that they are going to High Hartsone Edge, she is amazed to find that their family originated from that very area. Tilly has grown up with tales of Great-Granny Allen and her mother has always explained that Granny Allen was a devout and highly principled lady, full of virtuous homilies.
Tilly and Jake have booked a holiday cottage at High Hartsone Farm. The remote Pennine farm is owned by the Alderson family. When they arrive, after a tempestuous journey, Jake is less than pleased to find that although the cottage is very pleasant, there is no mobile phone signal, no internet access and his temper erupts at Tilly. Jake is told that he can get both internet and mobile signal at the Miner's Arms pub, but it means a drive of several miles along a bumpy track every time he wants to make a call. Fearful for his cars' suspension, Jake states that they cannot possibly do this and insists they leave immediately and find more suitable accommodation.
Tilly is tired and has had a dreadful journey, as Jake has alternated between sulking and temper tantrums since leaving London. She refuses to leave the cottage and eventually Jake drives off leaving her alone. At first Tilly is afraid, but she soon draws on a strength of character and resilience she forgot she had. After an uneventful first night, Tilly takes matters into her own hands, finds a vehicle to hire, makes the acquaintance of the landlord of the Miner's Arms pub and begins her work, alone.
The events that follow take a strange turn when Tilly mixes with people she never dreamed she would meet in London, let alone in the rural tranquillity of a Pennine region. Her relationship with Jake bites the dust and Tilly's life alters in a totally unexpected way.
If you'd like to know just how, then I'm afraid you'll have to read the book...no spoilers here!
**About the Author**
Sharon Griffiths was born and brought up in Wales. Writing is all Sharon has ever wanted to do. She attended first a Welsh Grammar school and the Bristol university where she read English.
She has worked for the BBC and later for ITV television. Along with other journalism and as well as writing novels, Sharon currently writes five weekly newspaper columns. Sharon is married to fellow journalist, Mike Amos.
Sharon wrote her first novel, 'The Accidental Time Traveller', after her two sons left home and it has been followed by the subject of this review, 'The Lost Guide to Life and Love'.
**My Thoughts and Conclusion**
The Lost Guide to Life and Love is what I would describe as a 'feel good' book. The author was not known to me prior to reading this novel so I read it with no preconceived ideas or notions about the novel. From the very first page, I was hooked!
Yes this is basically chick-lit, it has all the elements of chick-lit, within the pages of the novel the reader will find romance, family drama, friendships, mysterious people, high flying footballers. You name it, it's there. That said, this is not a frivolous novel, the author has clearly put in a great deal of research into life on a Pennine hill farm and her inside knowledge of journalism also adds a little realism in a fictional novel.
The author has woven a magical story of life and love. Her writing style is crisp and easy to follow, the dialogue between characters is very good and the actual characters are extremely well drawn. I found myself liking Tilly from the first chapter although I felt she should have taken a stronger stand with spoilt brat, Jake. The characters in this novel are on the whole, believable, likeable and I truly cared what happened to Tilly!
I particularly liked the twists and turns the plot took. Tilly emerges as strong, dependable woman with high principles after a slightly shaky start when she was with Jake.
I found the recipe section at the end of the book, an unusual, but very nice touch. After all, the central character is a food writer and she is also the daughter of the owner of a chain of Fair-trade coffee shops, so the inclusion of a few of Tilly's recipes adds even more realism to the character!
I have read this novel twice now, I read it in one sitting the first time, it was that entertaining!
I have recently ordered this author's first novel 'The Accidental Time Traveller' from Amazon as I have been so impressed with this book.
I would recommend this novel to others, it is a heart warming story, pure, enjoyable escapism in my opinion.
I am awarding The Lost Guide to Life and Love a 5* rating.
Thank you for reading.
©brittle1906 April 2011
N.B. My reviews may be found on other sites under the same user name.
When food writer Tilly Flint blags her way into a flash, celebrity filled nightclub and witnesses a top model disappear into the night, she has no idea how her life will change, and what events will spiral from that very night...
Along with her boyfriend Jake, she decides to head to a remote village in the Pennines shortly afterwards, but this is no romantic getaway, as her relationship is rapidly floundering and both Tilly and Jake are taking the trip with work in mind. After a massive argument Tilly decides enough is enough and vows to stay in their rented cottage alone, and herself and Jake part terms. He expects her to come running back to him, but she is enjoying her newfound freedom and the parting allows her to rediscover herself, make new friends and stumble upon some family history, revolving around 'Granny Allen' who lived in the locality.
Growing up with a workaholic, grief-stricken mother Tilly had always been aware of her great-grandmother who seemed to be a grounding force throughout the generations, with both Tilly and her mother often questionning "What Granny Allen would say" in certain situations.
But it's not just Granny Allen who jumps to the forefront of Tilly's mind during her period of discovery, as a handsome footballer called Clayton Silver enters her cosy world and leads her to question the dangerous, yet exciting circles he appears to be mixing in. Will Tilly find out the charming footballer is not quite what he seems, and will she be able to unlock the family secrets that are simmering beneath the surface?
This book is the first I have read by author Sharon Griffiths, and to be perfectly honest I wasn't holding out too much hope for it. This is primarily because I swooped it off the library shelf in a hurry while contending with a tantruming toddler. I had not heard of the author, had not read the back and made my snap decision based on the cover which made me hope it would be a nice, easy to read click-lit novel. And thankfully that's exactly what I got.
Tilly, as a main character, is very likeable and despite her being a little impressed with the exciting showbiz world, she also comes across as a warm, engaging and intelligent woman, with her own mind and career and an interest in the world around her. She is loyal to her friends and family and just seems to be an all round nice girl. Jake is a lesser character, and while he is not right for Tilly, he is not painted as a villain, and I like this as itshows a mature approach to relationships, which sometimes end with noone really to blame.
Clayton Silver has a decent role in the book, and comes across as a little flash and arrogant but with a good heart underneath the swagger. Or does he though? Then there is Matty, who becomes a firm friend of Tilly, along with other people she meets in the village like Dexter and Becca. Tilly's own mum Frankie had a difficult time following the death of her husband and son, and she is portrayed with real depth, strength and independence and like Tilly, is extremely likeable but also very admirable. so it's nice when we have snippets about her throughout this book.
One thing I have to mention is that throughout the book, at the end of some of the chapters, there is a short piece written about Granny Allen. This is done from her viewpoint and her story runs alongside that of Tilly. At first I found this extremely irritating and annoying as I hated my focus being distracted from the main story, and I found it cheesy and unnecessary, but after a while I got used to it and have to admit it adds something to the background and sets the scene for things to come. We discover that Granny Allen had similar struggles to Tilly and get to uncover a little bit about the strong woman she was and how her own experiences relate to Tilly's but in a different century. It's just a real shame that the reader gets to uncover these, wheras Tilly herself remains largely unaware of them.
All in all I really enjoyed this book and found it really easy to read with a winning combination of good characters, and good writing alongside themes of ambition, romance, loyalty and friendships. It is slightly far-fetched in places but does not seem that way when you are reading it as the characters come alive, drawing you in to their lives effortlessly. It is a great book to escape into as it has elements of glamour, celebrity and excess but they do not overpower the down to earth nature of everything else happening at the same time.
From the moment I picked up The Lost Guide to Life and Love I was drawn to the immensely likeable main character, Tilly Flint, and to this wonderful story depicting a few momentous months in her life. This is only the second book written by Sharon Griffiths, but with her easy and very readable style, I really hope that there will be many more.
Tilly Flint is a food journalist living in London and hankering for a more glamorous life than the one she has. She has a taste of this when her boyfriend Jake takes her to an upmarket nightclub frequented by top footballers and models. Little does she know at the time but some of the people she only glimpses that night are about to become very important to her. Just after, she agrees to go on a working holiday with Jake and they book an isolated cottage in the Pennines. However, an almighty row leads to Jake storming out and Tilly being left on her own. Surprisingly though, it is relief rather than fear that she experiences, particularly when she realises that where she is staying has very strong links with her family's history and that everyone knows of her Great Granny Allen who's sayings Tilly's mother is so fond of quoting.
Tilly chooses to stay and it does not take long before she feels like one of the locals. IT's a quiet comfortable life but all that changes when a couple of Premiership footballers call at the local pub seeking directions to their notorious chairman's country estate. Soon, Tilly is being wined and dined in amazing locations and getting a taste of the life that was once only a dream. However, is it too much for a down to earth girl like Tilly and can she really trust the likes of the handsome and successful Clayton Silver? At the same time could finding out about her past help her to make some decisions about her future?
I found myself caught up in this story from the outset, particularly as it is told from Tilly's point of view. I love a first person narrative when the reader truly feels as if they get to know the character which is what happens here. You really do feel as though you see inside Tilly's head which can be quite exasperating at times especially when she jumps to wrong conclusions. She is also surrounded by lots of other great characters who all contribute to making this book such a good read.
I enjoyed reading about everything that happened to Tilly. There was a good mixture of everyday events and those a little more exciting, and these all merged together well. We can all dream of being whisked off to lunch in a helicopter by a gorgeous footballer and the next best thing is to read about it happening to someone else! There might have been a danger of it all sounding a bit farfetched but it did not feel like that as I was reading. Also, the pace is slowed down at times by an entirely separate story occurring. This is the story of Granny Allen who perhaps experiences similar excitement and dilemmas as Tilly, only about a century earlier. At first I found this other story a bit annoying as I was very much caught up in Tilly's world, but as I continued to read I enjoyed it more and liked the way there were parallels between the two stories.
Overall this is a very enjoyable book telling a great story with lots going on. It is well paced and at times is quite dramatic, although there are some humorous moments as well. Oh, and if I forgot to mention it, there might just be a hint of romance too!
The book is currently available on Amazon for £5.34.
This review has previously appeared under my name at www.thebookbag.co.uk