Mansfield Lark, Katie Oliver
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
I really expected to like this book, it sounded a lot like Katie Fforde’s writing, and I’ve several of those. Sadly though it just didn’t work for me 😦 Writing was fine, its just the way the story played out and the characters that felt wrong to me.
Its perfectly well written and I’m sure there are loads of 4 and 5 star reviews. As ever we all like different things though thankfully, and that’s what gives us such a wide range of choices in novels. For me I just found the number of characters confusing – I had to keep going back to see who was with who, how they connected and what part of the story they belonged in. Then I need to feel a kind of empathy with the main characters, so I’m happy or sad for them, and for some reason I just didn’t really care about these two at all. There were what ought to have been some funny moments and lots of characters that could have been interesting, but it all seemed just too clichéd to me….just me maybe, perhaps as its been some time since I’ve read one like this my tastes have changed? Who knows, books that appeal at certain times in our lives can be ones that don’t work at others. I used to be a real thriller addict, Dan Brown, James Patterson Dick Francis, and yet now these leave me cold so maybe that’s my problem with this book.
So sadly a bad choice on my part, the novel is fine, just not to my taste. I think its a style you either love or don’t, its very distinct and I’m sure appeals to those who love light, comedic romance.
Stars: two, sad as it’s hard work writing and I hate to put anyone down but this just didn’t cut it for me.
ARC supplied via Netgalley
Dating Cary Grant, Emelle Gamble
Review from jeannie zelos book reviews
I loved Emelle’s Secret Sister, and was keen to read this book Once again she delivered more than just the simplistic novel the description suggests. You’d think this book was a simple, easy to read romantic comedy, and it is but its also much much more, making the reader think about what’s truly important in a marriage and how best to achieve it.
I loved both Tracy and Mike, they’re like many people, so in love and yet also devoted to their careers and jobs and in this case the two just won’t merge. They married thinking time would sort it, Tracy tried commuting at weekends and that didn’t work, so she moved to living full time with Mike, and staying with friends etc when work commitments were too strong. That hasn’t worked either, with her being overtired and still seeing little of Mike as he’s been so tied up with Mayoral problems. Feeling she comes last in his priorities she signs a six month lease on a place in the city….hoping they can work things out. Mike isn’t happy, he cant see why she can’t live at home and commute, and maybe do less hours. He says he’ll cut back too but she doesn’t think he will follow through, she knows how he cant bear to leave a problem. She can’t see why he lets everything, people, town problems, even stray animals, take priority over her, or even why they can’t move to the city and he commute….I couldn’t see how on earth they could solve this, and yet it was clear despite the weeks spent away from each other, the missed dates, the angry phone calls that they were deeply in love. As her mum says at one point – Mike is still the person she married. It was his selflessness, determination to do the best for people, lack of selfishness that drew her to him….and then too it was probably her independence and strength that drew him to her…they’re like magnets which won’t connect when aligned wrongly. There’s attraction and yet a strong force keeping them apart.
Along the search for answers Tracy meets the delightful Philip; Cary Grant lookalike. She’s banged her head recently in a collision with a Katherine Hepburn lookalike too and wonders if that’s why she’s seeing him…but he eats and drinks so how on earth can she be imagining him….They were a great duo, and like Tracy I’ve a love for the old movie stars…Cary Grant, David Niven, Gregory Peck. They were such gentlemen. Him Indoors is a great old-film addict so though I don’t watch them very often I know bits of them well…they sneak into my concentration when I’m reading 🙂 Tracy tells Philip about her marriage, but is still attracted to him..add in some work problems for her, and the awful reality TV show that’s making a programme about Mike, he thinks its about Mayoral duties and they’ll show that side of his work. Poor boy, he really is a good man, an innocent, naïve, because of course what they want is dirt and Mike and Tracy’s problems are gold to them. They follow Tracy around recording all her despair and conversations with friends..I hate reality TV in the same way as Tracy does…its a nightmare for her and at first Mike thinks she’s exaggerating.
Its a fun read, full of humour and yet it has these moments when its really bitter-sweet, when her conversations with Philip make her miss Mike, when she talks to her friend Posey and everything seems so impossible. You just want there to be an answer, and yet feel there isn’t one. Right to the end I was still wondering how on earth they could make it work without one of them giving up everything, and of course that would bring resentment in time. It takes collective help and advice from the ghosts, from the friends and family, and from some unexpected sources before it all works out.
Its a fun read, and one I enjoyed. Its a lot more than just the light surface read it appears, and makes the reader think about what life priorities really are.
Stars: Four and a half.
ARC supplied via Netgalley