Posts Tagged: Chick lit


6
Apr 14

The Dead Wife’s Handbook by Hannah Beckerman

Book: The Dead Wife’s Handbook
Author: Hannah Beckerman
Publisher: Penguin
Available: Out now
If you enjoy this book you might like: The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
Summary: Rachel, Max and their daughter Ellie had the perfect life – until the night Rachel’s heart stopped beating. Now, Max and Ellie are doing their best to adapt to life without Rachel. She can’t let them go either, and caught in a place between worlds, she watches helplessly as they grieve. When Max is persuaded by family and friends to start dating again, she starts to see that dying was just the beginning of her problems. As Rachel grieves for the life she’s lost and the one she’ll never lead, she learns that sometimes the thing that breaks your heart might be the very thing you hope for.

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Hi everyone,

Hope you’re having lovely, book-filled weekends. I’ve just finished Hannah Beckerman’s ‘The Dead Wife’s Handbook’, and although it’s not a depressing book, it’s definitely a sad story – I think I might have to read something funny next to cheer myself up!

The premise of Hannah’s book is really interesting – it definitely makes you think about your own mortality, and what you would do if you died, and were able to catch glimpses of your loved ones as they tried to pick up the pieces and move on with their lives. Although I don’t cry very easily at books, sometimes I found myself feeling a bit choked up, as Rachel’s inability to comfort her loved ones made me wonder what I would do if I was in her position. Plus, the idea of being unable to communicate with anyone despite desperately wanting to made me feel quite frustrated on Rachel’s behalf.

That being said, sometimes I found it difficult to relate to Rachel, but I think this is mostly because I am neither a mother nor a wife. I felt that she wasn’t always being fair to Max, assuming that every time he moved forward it meant he was forgetting her, when throughout the book it’s abundantly clear that he is making sure she never fades out of his and Ellie’s lives.

One character who I absolutely loved was Max. Max is awesome. He handles everything from family tensions to Ellie’s tough questions about her mother with diplomacy and understanding. The few times he snaps or struggles, I felt that Rachel and their family and friends were quite tough on him, sometimes seeming to be a bit unforgiving. But what’s clear is his love for his wife and daughter, and I liked that this was always at the forefront of the book. This had the potential to turn into a ‘father meets new woman and ditches daughter’ type of plot, but not at all. Instead, it’s a story about a father’s love for his daughter, and his attempts to put her first while still trying to pick himself up and find some happiness for himself.

Overall, this is a beautiful book about motherhood and family love. It’s not a book to read if you’re feeling a bit down, but I would definitely recommend it as a lazy Sunday read!

See you all next week!

Julie x


10
Mar 14

How To Get A (Love) Life by Rosie Blake

Book: How To Get A (Love) Life
Author: Rosie Blake
Publisher: Novelicious Books
Available: Out now, e-book format
If you enjoy this book you might like: The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing, by Melissa Banks

Summary: Nicola Brown is the kind of girl who double-locks the front door, leaves the plastic covering on new furniture, sticks to a super-strict diet and definitely, absolutely Does Not Date. Exasperated by her reluctance to have fun, her colleague Caroline decides that enough is enough, and challenges Nicola to find true love by Valentine’s Day. As Nicola steps out of her comfort zone and faces some disastrous dates, she slowly finds herself having fun…

 

How To Get A (Love) Life by Rosie Blake Cover (323x500)

Think of the worst date you’ve ever been on. Was it worse than being forced to go kayaking in the middle of November? Because that’s exactly what Rosie Blake’s protagonist Nicola finds herself doing when she agrees to be more adventurous in her dating life (even if that was way over the line). The dates in How To Get A (Love) Life can be excruciatingly awkward, but they’re hilarious. From a guy who won’t share a bag of popcorn, to a teacher who quite clearly has some unresolved issues with his career, Rosie captures worst-case-scenarios and turns them into hilarious anecdotes (Although I definitely hope I never have to go through one in real life).

That’s not to say that this book will put you off dating – there are some brilliant male characters. Nicola’s brother Mark is a smart, laid-back guy who is determined to win over the love of his life, and happily gets involved in setting Nicola up on dates (some of the most disastrous ones in my opinion). Then there’s Nicola’s dashing boss James, a potential love interest who is dating Thalia, his “nasty supermodel girlfriend with great clothes”.

It’s not too difficult to figure out where the plot is heading, but Rosie writes in a way that you find yourself actually looking forward to seeing what Nicola will go through in her search for true love. Even with her strict routine, you can relate to her as we’ve all had moments where we’ve been forced to step out of our comfort zone, so it’s easy to identify with her as she musters up the courage and energy to complete her mission. I did think she accepts the challenge fairly openly for someone who is supposed to be so close-minded to new things, but Rosie delves a little deeper into Nicola’s past so you get a better understand of where she’s coming from.

Because the plot is easy to follow and the book is broken up into Nicola’s various dates, it’s a great read for when you’re commuting.

 

 


18
Feb 14

The Vintage Girl by Hester Browne

Book: The Vintage Girl
Author: Hester Browne
Publisher: Quercus Publishing
Available: Out now
If you enjoy this you might like: The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic – Sophie Kinsella

Summary: Evie Nicholson is obsessed with all things vintage, so when her sister volunteers her to visit Kettlesheer Castle in Scotland to archive family heirlooms, she thinks she’s hit the jackpot. However, in each heirloom lies a story, and as Evie uncovers long-buried family secrets, she becomes increasingly determined to find the truth. Add the handsome, gloomy heir Robert McAndrew and a traditional candlelit ball in the mix, and Evie’s heart is sent reeling. 

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It usually takes a lot for a book to make me laugh, but Hester Browne’s The Vintage Girl is very funny – it has all the elements of a great romantic comedy.

The main character, Evie Nicholson, is very easy to identify with, especially for those of us who have a slight tendency to hoard. As she gets carried away with fantasies of living in the past, it’s almost impossible not to be swept along with her, as Hester Browne gives us the fairytale-esque setting of a Scottish estate, complete with a candlelit ball. The book definitely caters to vintage-lovers, with descriptions of huge rooms filled with antiques, vintage clothes, and even some undiscovered gems…

Evie’s love interests, the dashing Fraser and gloomy Robert, provide a great love triangle: Fraser is essentially a Prince Charming, but I found Robert to be more interesting as his character was a bit more flawed, for example his complete indifference to the family’s heritage.

There are some really funny characters, particularly the estate owner Duncan, who tries to create his own brewery. Evie’s sister Alice was one of my favourites because she constantly both causes and solves problems for her sister, including letting Evie cover up when she drops out of an important dance at the ball, giving no explanation.

While the plot line was sometimes a little bit predictable, it doesn’t stop the book from being really fun to read – I would definitely recommend it for a lazy Sunday.

 

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