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Although I was a bit disappointed with her last book, I'm generally quite a big fan of Sophie Kinsella and find her to be a light hearted and fun read. This is her latest offering and I'm pleased to confirm that it is no exception to that rule.
The two main characters are Lottie and Fliss. When we first meet Lottie, she is extremely excited because she thinks her boyfriend is about to propose to her. To her shock and dismay, this doesn't happen. Around the same time as this disappointment, she reconnects with an old flame and being an impulsive kind of girl, she throws herself headlong into a rather ill-advised plan of action: getting engaged after a 15-year separation to a man she knew briefly on her gap year and the wedding is happening asap!
Fliss is astounded at her sister's insanity. She's in the process of going through a messy divorce so she's the last person who's going to back Lottie's crazy plan. She's determined to put a stop to proceedings before Lottie makes a huge mistake but how far will she go in this quest?
Like all Sophie Kinsella books, this is a frivolous and light-hearted read - even if the plot is somewhat unbelievable. I liked both Lottie and Fliss as characters, although I will admit to finding Lottie a little grating at times due to her inability to see the wood for the trees and the crazy decision she makes near the start of the book doesn't exactly help with that. Fliss is more "normal" and quite different to her sister, which balances things out a lot. If she wasn't there, I don't think I would have lasted the whole book as Lottie is quite typical of the author's female protagonists.
The narrative is a two-way street, from the perspectives of both Lottie and Fliss and flips about between the two of them. This gives us a great insight into both characters as it's almost like we're there with them and can read their thoughts.
This is definitely not a book for anyone who likes her plots to be realistic and believable. My biggest gripe with the plot is that the old flame comes out of nowhere really and the storyline rushes on at a very fast pace and this is what makes the whole thing seem illogical. Perhaps with a bit of build-up, this would have been less so but as it is, Lottie moves from one situation to the other at breakneck speed and despite being central to the plot from thereon in, Ben is actually quite an elusive character. With no narrative from his viewpoint, we never discover much about him bar what he tells Lottie (or she decides about him). While this does add to the overall plot I guess, it doesn't make for a very well rounded character and serves to make the whole scenario even weirder. Perhaps that was the intention though?!
At times, the plot is almost farcical, although some of these situations are great amusing. I did have a feeling in the back of my mind that they might have been funnier if we didn't know the context and exactly why they were happening. It's not overly predicable and does have a couple of twists and turns along the way.
All in all, it's a great chick lit book and will definitely appeal to any of Sophie Kinsella's fans. For me, it was a definite step up from her last book, which I wasn't that keen. I read this one in a matter of days and despite Lottie not being my absolute favourite character ever, I was absorbed enough to keep reading to see how it panned out.
It is fair to say that I am a bit of a 'fan' of Sophie Kinsella after reading all of her novels. She has quickly established herself as one of the leading modern day 'chick-lit' authors most widely recognised for her Confessions of a Shopaholic series. Her writing style is very laid back allowing readers to become lost in an idealistic world and enjoying escapism from the some of the pitfalls of their own reality. I waited with anticipation upon hearing that a new book was due out. I do understand that it must be difficult for any author to maintain a particular standard for every book, especially where that standard has been set so high with the publishing of a very successful series such as the Shopaholics. Based on it's merit the book was enjoyable however it was probably my least favourite of hers so far. I hope I can help explain;
The opener starts off with some cringe worthy comedy which instantly builds some sympathy for one of the main characters Lottie. She deals with every woman's worst nightmare when she totally mis-judges her partners proposal ultimately leading to the break down of their previously happy relationship. This clever scenario sets the scene for so many conflicting emotions that run through the entire story as Lottie looks to deal with this situation in her own quirky way. I would struggle to find any woman who could not relate to some elements of Lottie's behaviour which is at times funny and others it borders desperate delirium. The other female lead in the book is Lottie's sister Fliss who is dealing with her own relationship issues and brings in the additional dimension of being a mother not only to her son but also in an attempt to act as mother figure for Lottie, this aspect will strike a chord with many female/mother readers. The relationship and events that go on between these two characters throughout are entertaining although there are certainly times where I feel poetic license wears slightly thin and events become a little bit far fetched. This element of the book was the most disappointing for me. I actually don't think that Sophie Kinsella needs to take her writing to such extremes to keep the readers hooked! It felt at times like she was grasping at straws with some of the plot lines! Probably the worst part of the book being the involvement of the hotel concierge in Greece which is simply ridiculous.
The male characters in the book offer something for everyone from impulsive and slightly reckless with Ben, brooding, complex and endearingly stubborn with Lorcan or dependable and sensible Richard. The usual elements of will-they won't-they between different connotations of characters do keep the reader turning pages.
The dual narrative throughout was appealing as it allowed you to switch between perspectives and certainly encourages some conflicting thoughts.
To say this is a bad book would be unfair as I have definately read far worse but if you are accustomed to the high calibre of story that is pretty standard for Kinsella, like me you might find yourself disappointed.
Now I absolutely love Sophie Kinsella books. I am not a huge fan of chick lit but find that Sophie Kinsella usually writes her books in such a way that there is more to them than the usual girlie reads and so I really like her style of writing. When I heard she had a new book out I downloaded it to Kindle a few days later and began reading it right away. Although I did enjoy this book I don't think it is Kinsella's best and it was verging on being a little bit too chick lit for my liking.
The story tells of two sisters Lottie and Fliss. Fliss is currently undergoing a divorce and it is all she can think and talk about. Her work as a travel reviewer is beginning to suffer as she takes time off regularly to deal with the divorce and her son is beginning to make up stories at school too. Fliss finds herself constantly ringing her lawyer to discuss what has happened and is constantly updating a spreadsheet about all the bad things he ex husband has said/done. Meanwhile, her sister Lottie is hoping that her long term boyfriend will propose to her but when the mention of weddings come up Richard, her boyfriend, appears shocked and afraid. Lottie soon dumps Richard and feels terribly hurt; how could she be so wrong? How could she have been dreaming about proposals and he not even consider it?
When an ex boyfriend, Ben, turns up in Lottie's life she is instantly swept off her feet. It doesn't matter that they were only together during their gap year abroad and that they haven't spoken since, it doesn't matter that they don't even know what jobs the other does, all that matters is that they realise they have been in love ever since and so decide to get married right away. Lottie puts off the idea of a romantic wedding day to just marry Ben quickly and they look forward to saving themselves until their wedding night to relive their youth and make love.
Fliss is appalled by her sister's rash decision, she has never even met the man she has married! Fliss worries that her sister is going to go down the same road as her and end up getting a divorce and having her entire life ruined by marriage and so decides to try to stop her sister and new husband from having sex. If they don't have sex then they haven't consummated the marriage and it can be annulled. But just how do you manage this? Especially when they are in a different country in the most romantic hotel celebrating their marriage?
I thought the characters of this book were quite well written. They are not as well rounded as in other books and I wasn't sure at times whether they were meant to be coming across as being a bit scatty or if it was Kinsella's writing that made them this way. Because the story was jumped into really quite quickly with very little background and there was plenty of action without lots of descriptions I found it quite hard to get my head around who they both were first. As for Ben, the new husband, I didn't get to know him at all, I couldn't work out why he had suddenly come on the scene, what he was about, whether he was sincere and I think that actually worked really well, I think being confused was the whole point as it meant I spent the whole time questioning him and this made me want to keep reading on so I could find out what happened.
Now I did enjoy this book but I don't think it was as good as Kinsella's other publications. I found that it was a bit too based just around falling in love and sex and that was really similar to lots of other chick lit books which is why I don't normally read them. Usually Kinsella's books have a lot more about them and yes this book did have depth but not as much as normal.
I couldn't help but groan at some of the cliches that went on in this book and wishing that various things were just left out for example Fliss sleeping with Lorcan- Ben's best man - it was just too predictable and was something this book could have done without really.
There is good humour in this book with some amusing situations which Noah, Fliss' son manages to get them in with his story telling as well as some funny situations which the hotel staff cause to try to help Fliss stop her sister from having sex. Although sometimes these extremes were a bit much I did think it showed just how desperate and eager Fliss was to stop Lottie from making a mistake and this air of desperation was important within the story.
There was a moral to the story in the end and it did make the sisters question what they wanted from life and who they were which was quite refreshing and an interesting point to the book.
The style of writing is very good it is told by both Fliss and Lottie which enables us as the reader to see what is happening in both of their lives and made the story flow well. Telling the story like this made me want to keep reading as once I'd read Lottie's part I wanted to read the next chapter to hear what Fliss' take on it all was. There wasn't any going back and forth to the past it was all set in the present and I found it easy to keep up with everything that was going on. I never once became confused or couldn't understand something, it is a very easy read.
When I read I like to feel lost in a story so I can relax my own mind and be away from reality. I did enjoy reading this and did find that I wanted to keep turning pages but I wasn't as drawn in as I have been previously by this author. I do think it is a decent book and there were times I wanted to keep reading but I wouldn't say it's a proper page turner or that it was anything really special.
I like that all the way through the book you don't know what the ending is. I did try to work out what was happening but I genuinely didn't know which way things were going to go and how it would all turn out and I like that about a book, that is what makes me want to keep reading and this book did that well.
In conclusion I recommend this book if you're looking for something which is easy to read which doesn't take much brain power. It's not the best book out there but it is quite amusing and a laidback read.