'Hannah Boyd has been crowned the youngest Independent Financial Adviser in the UK. She has kicked out her boyfriend whose idea of romance is leaving skid-marked boxers on the bedroom floor, or sharing a chillie-kebab in front of the football game on a Saturday night. She is successful, single and about to secure one of the wealthiest men in England as one of her clients. But then the one person she never wanted to see again reappears as her biggest rival.'
Life is looking pretty good for Hannah Boyd – she’s finally managed to get rid of Mark, her useless live-in boyfriend, and she’s been promoted: she’s now the youngest Independent Financial Advisor in the South-West. She’s off with her boss to attend her first conference and is preparing to meet a very important prospective client there.
Unfortunately when Hannah arrives she discovers that her main competition is none other than her first love, Jamie Young, the man who broke her heart years before.
Hannah needs to keep her head, and her heart, together if she’s going to get her client and prove that she is worth her promotion.
As a whole ‘The Sharp Points of a Triangle’ was well-written, but the language contained in it was too vulgar for my liking. For me, some of the descriptions were unnecessarily sexually explicit, which I found a bit off-putting – perhaps my constitution is a little delicate. The majority of the novel is set at the conference which Hannah attends, and whilst this takes place in a nice country hotel I didn’t find this to be a particularly romantic or inspiring location – it would have worked better for me had the setting contained more variety. I also had trouble with Hannah’s character, and as hard as I tried I just couldn’t bring myself to like her. I found the way she acts at the conference very juvenile and extremely unprofessional. The main problem for me was that Hannah comes across as being completely self-absorbed – as is perfectly shown by her relationship with her friend Sam, who is constantly supporting Hannah but is never asked a thing about herself or what’s going on in her life.
A character I did enjoy was that of Hannah’s ex-boyfriend Mark: he was incredibly persistent, bless him, and very funny – especially when he becomes friends with Hannah’s new swinging neighbours. I thought that Brimble did a great job of writing his character; I felt a bit sorry for him but knew that Hannah had made the right decision in dumping him.
Whilst this book wasn’t really my cup of tea, Rachel Brimble has published several other books, including some historical romances; I’d be very interested to see how she tackles this different style. For more information on Rachel Brimble and her work see her website – http://www.rachelbrimble.com/home.html
'Julia and Mark are stuck in a loveless relationship. Julia thinks a baby will help, but perhaps that isn’t the answer to her problems. Maeve is totally allergic to commitment – she breaks out in a rash whenever she passes a buggy. Then a one-night-stand results in an unwanted pregnancy. But just how unwanted is it? Samantha is besotted with her new-born baby. But how is husband Chris coping with his suddenly unavailable wife, and is Samantha’s obsession as healthy as it seems?'
‘Babyville’ is the fifth novel by authoress Jane Green, centring around the lives of three women, Julia, Maeve and Samantha.
Julia’s got a great career and lives with her long-term boyfriend Mark in his beautiful house, but despite this pretty perfect life, she’s still not content. Julia believes that her unhappiness stems from her inability to conceive and she’s rapidly becoming obsessed with becoming pregnant – but will a baby repair what’s wrong with Mark and Julia’s relationship?
Maeve has just moved to London from Brighton to start a new job. She’s not looking for a man and is determined to concentrate on her career – that is however until she finds herself unexpectedly pregnant.
Samantha totally adores her new baby, George; so much so, that her husband Chris is wondering what on Earth has happened to his loving wife. Samantha wants only the best for her baby, and that means doing everything herself as she feels that Chris has suddenly become completely useless. Will Samantha remember how great her husband is or will she start looking elsewhere?
’Babyville’ is divided into three sections, one for each of the main characters. This gives the reader a chance to get to know the characters individually and become very involved in their personal stories. Whilst I don’t think that the book’s plot is particularly awe-inspiring, it is well-written and very entertaining, despite the often underlying seriousness. The characters are intriguing – Mark, in particular, is lovely and I would defy most women to read this book and not develop at least a little bit of a crush on him. For me, Julia was the weakest character in the book and I really didn’t identify with her very much, though I did find satisfying how things pan out between her and Mark!
The novel isn’t so much about babies, but rather about what babies [whether you can have them or not] do to your life, and how people react to those new circumstances. And it’s certainly a book which would appeal to a wider audience than just new mothers. It’s not as funny as Jane Green’s earlier books, such as ‘Jemima J’ or ‘Mr Maybe’, and has at its core some quite serious issues which are dealt with realistically and sympathetically.
I would certainly say that ‘Babyville’ is a good and entertaining read. In my opinion it’s one of Jane Green’s better books, and I’ve read it a couple of time when I’ve wanted something easy and comforting to relax with. I would advise any chick lit fans to give it a try.
‘When Charlotte Briggs’ husband Ed is sent down for fraud, she cannot find it in her heart to forgive him for what he has done. Ostracised from their social circle, she flees to the wilds of Exmoor to nurse her broken heart. But despite the slower pace of life, she soon finds that she is not the only person whose life is in turmoil. There’s Sebastian, enfant terrible of the British art scene, desperately trying to find his muse amongst the empty bottles. Then Fitch, who married the high-spirited Hayley thinking he would find wedded bliss, but instead has found marital hell. And finally Penny, local GP and recent divorcee, who is determined not to hurtle into middle age embittered and lonely. Over the long winter months, the four of them share advice, copious bottles of wine, laughter … and maybe more.’
‘Marriage and Other Games’ examines the fall-out when Charlotte Briggs’ husband Ed is found guilty of fraud. Ed ends up in prison and Charlotte runs away to a friend’s deserted and dilapidated house in an Exmoor village to escape the judgment and condemnation of her London friends and acquaintances.
It’s not long before Charlotte meets the locals, including tortured bad-boy artist Sebastian, Fitch, the dad of two having a rough time with his estranged wife, and recently divorced GP Penny, a woman holding a flame for Sebastian who immediately sees Charlotte as competition. Will time away make Charlotte regret her decision not to stand by her man, or will it give her the chance to appreciate Fitch’s charms and build a new life for herself without Ed?
I liked how the book’s storyline began by centring on Charlotte before branching out to include the dilemmas of the other, just as interesting, characters, and how the theme of forgiveness in marriage was kept running throughout.
I was shocked by Charlotte’s decision to leave her husband, especially as at first appearances, they seemed so right for each other and so happy together. The lead-up to Ed’s mistake was brilliantly done, with both he and Charlotte coming across as near perfect, successful and in love; when actually their childless state was pushing them ever further apart, and led to Ed’s misdemeanour. Not even Charlotte realised quite how much their infertility had affected her husband and their marriage.
Understandably, Charlotte went with her gut reaction when she discovered what her husband had done, and I loved how her feelings changed over time - once she’d had time for her anger to clear and had digested the various opinions she comes across of Ed’s behaviour.
Penny was definitely my least favourite of the main characters. She came across as a bit desperate and seemed determined not to appreciate what she had. Penny could also be selfish and made some poor errors of judgment, but she did show that she was capable of kindness at times. I was a little disappointed at her ending; I would have liked more completeness to it and for her to make a larger positive move towards the future.
Veronica Henry obviously has experience living in a small village, and makes great use of it here. The descriptions of village life and its inhabitants were charming, and I particularly liked how differently Charlotte’s London friends and the villagers reacted when they found out about Ed’s misdemeanours: whilst the Londoners tended to simply cut Charlotte out of their lives, the villagers were accepting and non-judgmental and become a great support network for her.
‘Marriage and Other Games’ wasn’t quite the light-hearted read I was expecting; it had a lot of depth and dealt with some complex issues, although there was a delightful touch of humour throughout. The story was realistic and was concerned with very honest relationships. Its protagonists were made easy to relate to by their innate fallibility and indeed their own realisation of it; this enabled this character-driven tale to take me on a delightful journey that I was very sorry to see end.
4 and a half stars
'From the white heat of Miami to the implants of LA, the glittering waters of the Caribbean to the deserts of Arabia, Olivia Joules pits herself against the forces of terror armed only with a hatpin, razor sharp wits and a very special underwired bra. How could a girl not be drawn to the alluring, powerful Pierre Ferramo, with his hooded eyes, impeccable taste, unimaginable wealth, exotic homes across the globe and a rather dubious French accent? But is it possible that Ferramo is actually a major terrorist, bent on the western world’s destruction. Or, is it all just a product of Olivia Joules’s overactive imagination. Join Olivia in her heart-stopping and hilarious quest to save the world in this witty, contemporary and utterly unputdownable thriller.'
‘Olivia Joules and the Over-Active Imagination’ is a stand-alone novel from ‘Bridget Jones’ author Helen Fielding.
I have read and enjoyed both Bridget Jones books and Helen Fielding’s previous novel, ‘Cause Celeb’. However, I was a little reticent about reading this as I thought that after her success with Bridget Jones, Fielding would continue in the same vein but would find it hard to recreate another character as individual and captivating as Bridget. I was pleasantly surprised; this turned out to be very enjoyable and original.
Now I’m not claiming that the character of Olivia Joules is by any means as lovable as Bridget Jones, but you can relate to her to a certain extent. The novel centres around her adventures as a journalist desperate to be taken seriously but, with a reputation of letting her imagination getting the better of her, she is stuck writing articles on face creams. When she spots Osama Bin Laden at a party in Los Angeles she knows that this is her big chance and she won’t rest until she proves herself right. What the reader needs to work out is whether she is in fact just being paranoid or whether there could in fact be some truth behind her claims.
What starts off as a run-of-the-mill article soon leads her into a huge quest encompassing Miami, LA, the Caribbean and Arabia, enlisting the help of the secret services, being invited to the Oscars, and trying out as any spy gadgets as she can get her hands on!
It’s quite interesting to read what is essentially a girlie spy novel. It contains some hilarious moments as well as some very exciting edge-of-your-seat type stuff with plenty of twists and turns. I think that Fielding’s characters are so successful because she writes them with such conviction that you understand them and their actions completely, even though they may do some stupid things and end up in ludicrous situations.
I don’t think that Helen Fielding has let herself down with this novel. It’s more a case that Bridget Jones was such a gem of a character that whatever came after would never quite live up to expectations. As long as you can block Bridget from your mind before you begin to read this you should really enjoy it!