Suddenly single and unexpectedly poor, it’s definitely safe to say that Alexis Harland is not living the life of her dreams.
Although she’s determined that nothing, not one little thing, will stop her return from poverty. Well, almost nothing. Her pride might get in the way a little. And possibly her family. And maybe the fact that she hasn’t got a clue where to start.
Many years ago, Alexis was swept away from life on a caravan park and introduced to a world of riches and glamour. All thanks to a wealthy man who married her, reinvented her… and then dumped her for a younger model at the first sign of cellulite.
Now Alexis is stranded, struggling to keep her head above water and her history a secret from her highbrow friends.
As if that isn’t enough for a woman to deal with, one night she comes home to find a sexy man has landed, quite literally, on her doorstep. A man hell-bent on testing everything Alexis thinks she knows about true happiness.
Caught between the life she knows and her blossoming love, can Alexis afford to let go of her unwavering pride, kiss her social status goodbye and accept that stepping back to square one is sometimes a huge leap forward?
I’d planned to read this book over few evenings, but once I’d started I couldn’t put it down. It’s such a wonderfully funny and clever book. Alexis is a truly engaging heroine. She’s the narrator of this story so we see things from her point of view, which adds a layer of irony. She’s not aware there’s anything wrong with her view of the world – where looking unfashionable or being poor are totally unacceptable. She’s dismissive, opinionated and blinkered.
But not entirely. Her feckless, irresponsible sister might frustrate her, and they bicker with and make digs at each other all the time, but there is affection there too. Both stick up for their sibling when they need to. They’re chalk and cheese in most ways though. Candy sees their upbringing in the caravan park as one of love, of their parents always being there for them. Alexis sees it as deprived and Spartan. She’d have rather had the latest fashion item than a mother cheering her on at sports day. Appearances have always mattered far too much to her.
But that changes when Bob arrives in her life. He’s quiet, unassuming and deliciously handsome, and through him Alexis begins to see that you can live well on a much smaller budget. In fact, probably better. But can she really give up on her old life? Especially when the wealthy Vincent turns up. Just as she finds it incredibly hard to part with her unnecessary possessions, parts of her prior self are tough to remove. They’re externalised in the form of the three witches, her one-time best friends: Cordelia, Gio and Margot. They embody all that is false and pretentious. Can Alexis get out of their shadow?
There is oodles of humour in this book. For example, the Crave Cave, an utterly tasteless painting, which Alexis doesn’t mean to buy at an auction but does, keeps cropping up throughout the story. There’s comedy in the situations Alexis finds herself in and in her interactions with others, in her sharp and biting observations of ‘inferior’ people around her, in her initial obliviousness to who and what she is and where she herself ranks on the ghastly scale. But will she ever learn to laugh at herself?
Brilliant writing. I can’t wait to read the promised novel that stars Candy, who is an equally absorbing character as her big sister. I hope Alexis will figure large in that too.
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Diane Louise is a dairy farmer’s wife from the UK who doesn’t know a Holstein from a Hereford.
But what she does know is how to write a funny story. Three years ago she tried to write steamy romance and sucked at it. Honestly, her stiff upper lip made her heroes more wet blankets than wet dreams. With a steely determination to avoid milking the cows, she turned her hand to Romantic Comedy and a star was born. Well, in her mind at least.
Fancy getting to know the woman behind the words?
She hangs around Facebook daily, desperately avoiding housework, and loves nothing more than chatting to fellow lovers of Romantic Comedy over at Di’s Romantic Comedy Club. Or, if you don’t do Facebook, that’s cool, because she also sends a monthly email to her readers, making sure they never miss a new release and sharing behind the scene info about her books. You can join The Monthly Club here.
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