'There are six months left of Emma Reiss's twenties...and she has some unfinished business. Emma and her friends are about to turn thirty, and for Emma it's a defining moment. Defined, that is, by her having achieved none of the things she'd imagined she would. Her career is all wrong, her love life is a desert and that penthouse apartment she pictured herself in simply never materialised. Moreover, she's never jumped out of a plane, hasn't met the man she's going to marry, has never slept under the stars, or snogged anyone famous - just some of the aspirations on a list she and her friends compiled fifteen years ago. As an endless round of birthday parties sees Emma hurtle towards her own thirtieth, she sets about addressing these issues. But, as she discovers with hilarious consequences, some of them are trickier to tick off than she'd thought…'
With only six months until her thirtieth birthday, Emma Reiss discovers a list she and her friends wrote when she was fifteen, a list consisting of all the things they want to achieve in the next few years. Emma is shocked to discover she hasn’t fulfilled any of them. Determined to make the most of her life, she sets herself the task of completing everything on the list before her birthday, but it’s definitely not an easy task.
In general, I liked Emma, and sympathised with her and her problems. However, I thought she was pretty mean to her ex-boyfriend, and that put me off her a little bit. I thought Emma’s job was interesting and different, and her colleague, Giles, was one of my favourite characters in the story. In fact, there were a number of very likeable secondary characters in the book; I would have loved for Emma’s dad and his on-line dating exploits to have featured more!
Jane Costello has a knack for creating some truly memorable comic scenes, I don’t think I’ll ever forget Emma’s visit to the STD clinic or her night spent camping! She also clearly has a real love for her hometown of Liverpool, where the story is set, and this really shines through in her writing.
I was definitely hooked by Emma’s tale, and I was particularly pleased with the novel’s ending – it was satisfying, but didn’t come too quickly, or out of nowhere. All loose ends were neatly tied up, and I felt everyone had the conclusion they
Jane Costello’s books are light, very entertaining reading, and I enjoy them immensely. ‘The Wish List’ is probably one of my favourite of Costello’s works – witty and sharp, this author really knows what she’s doing!
‘Samantha Brooks' boyfriend has made a mistake. One his friends, family,and Sam herself know he will live to regret. Jamie has announced he is leaving, out of the blue. He is loving, intelligent and, while he isn't perfect, he's perfect for her - in every way except one: he's a free spirit. And after six years in one place, doing a job he despises, he is compelled to do something that will tear apart his relationship with Sam: book a one-way flight to South America. But Sam isn't giving up without a fight. With Jamie still totally in love with her, and torn about whether to stay or go, she has three months to persuade him to do the right thing. With the help of her friends Ellie and Jen, she hatches a plan to make him realise what he's giving up. A plan that involves dirty tricks, plotting and a single aim: to win him back. But by the time the tortured Jamie finally wakes up to what he's lost, a gorgeous new pretender has entered Sam's life. Which begs the question ...does she still want him back?’
Jane Costello throws us straight into our heroine’s anguish from the very first page: events organiser Samantha Brooks’ car has broken down and she’s sitting by the side of the road sobbing her heart out because she’s been dumped. Sam’s boyfriend of six years, Jamie, has decided he’s far too much of a free-spirit to stay living with her in Liverpool and so has booked himself a one way flight to South America. However, all is not lost; once Sam’s friends, Ellie and Jen, calm her down, the three women come up with a pretty complicated but, they think, fool-proof plan to make Jamie realise just what he’ll be missing if he goes. But will the three months Sam has before Jamie leaves be enough time to change his mind?
I read the blurb to this book and to be honest I wasn’t completely enamoured, it sounded like a story that’s been done many times before, however, my misgivings proved to be unfounded: ‘All The Single Ladies’ proved to be intelligent, witty and actually pretty original!
The novel had great pace, there really wasn’t a dull moment. Costello creates some wonderful tension leading up to the conclusion. The ending itself was very unexpected, but I must admit that I was a little disappointed: it seemed to miss a little something from the happy ever after which I was after. I didn’t think that it achieved what it seemed to be trying to do, instead it sort of strayed into a middle area between what I think Costello wanted for her character and what she worried her readers expected.
The relationship between Sam and Jamie was very cleverly written. In her turmoil at the outset of the story, Sam focuses mainly on Jamie’s good points and everything she’s losing, it’s only much later, and little by little, that we discover what a useless bum this man actually is and what Sam has been putting up with! They’ve been together for so long that Sam hadn’t realised just how much their relationship had already eroded away and how much better she’d be without him. They were a couple completely stuck in a rut.
Jane Costello really seems to be going from strength to strength; ‘All The Single Ladies’ is her first hardback release, a real testament to her saleability. I thought it was an extremely readable tale which touched on some serious issues such as adoption and alcoholism but balanced this with many lovely comic touches. It’s wonderful to see such a talented writer gaining the popularity she so justly deserves –Costello is certainly shaping up to be a worthy rival to Sophie Kinsella.