What they say:
“Jessica Beam is a girl who knows how to party. Only lately she’s been forgetting to turn up for work on time. Or in clean clothes. Down on her luck, out of a job and homeless, Jess seeks the help of her long-lost grandmother.Things aren’t going well for Matilda Beam, either. Her 1950s Good Woman guide books are out of print, her mortgage repayments are staggering and her granddaughter wears neon Wonderbras.When a lifeline from a London publisher arrives, the pair have an opportunity to secure the roof over their heads – by invigorating the Good Woman guides and transforming modern, rebellious Jess into a demure vintage lady.The true test of their make-over will be to capture the heart of notorious London playboy Leo Frost and prove that Matilda’s guides still work. It’s going to take commitment, nerves of steel and one seriously pointy bra to pull this off . . .”
Okay. So the reason I picked up this book (well, picked up my Kindle with this book on it;)) was all of the hype surrounding it. Now when I say hype, I mean it was ALL I heard about. People on twitter and Goodreads were really raving about it, and so I thought I’ll either hate it or absolutely adore it. Either way, all reviews were talking about ‘comedic genius’ and such and so, well, I’m in!
The book opens with us meeting Jess, a, em, free spirit. So Jess is a pear cider loving, kooky, quirky blogger who lives with her best friend, Summer, who is her out and out opposite.
With Summer, I found their relationship funny at the start , Summer was very much the mother hen, but then I realised there was either a jealousy/ irritation/ disgust- done so well by Ms Greenwood as we didn’t hate Summer right off the bat, but still knew that poor Jess was going to get it at some stage.
The comedic moments in this book were genius. Every review I had read was bang on – it could be called ‘Kirsty Greenwood does comic gold’ and it wouldn’t be selling itself short. You know when people speak of ‘laugh out loud’ moments and you smile politely and think to yourself: ‘I might smile a little but I amn’t going to laugh. Well you do here. No, I mean it – there are at least three places where I suddenly laughed out loud out of nowhere. Gotta be a first.
And I’ll be honest, at the very very start of the book, I thought I’d made a bit of a mistake, some of the curses used were those odd curses, you know the ones, not totally curses, kind of funny words used as curses, with maybe a curse thrown in? Anyway, you’ll know when you see them. I’m sorry to say, I was a bit of an idiot and put off by something that was fine when you realized that that’s just who Jess was, and how they suited her, and that they weren’t actually bad.
Anyhoo, I’m rambling. So yes, we are right, Summer does do a number on Jess and we find out she has no one to go to and why. But, wait, there’s a rich Grandmother. Aha, we think, this is where the grandmother is going to be loaded and we’re going to be watching Jess adapt to life as a wealthy heiress, maybe falling in love with some rich lord or prince …
There are both diary extracts and book excerpts from a Good Woman Guide that are written so beautifully and tease your imagination, so you not sure why they are there and definitely don’t know where they’re going to lead. The diary pages were so good that I was wishing that there was someone from the book reading them too, I just wanted them to know! They are genius – you feel for the writer of the diary when you suddenly start to see where it may lead (I cried at one stage) , and you feel for the writer of the books because you know how modern day society is and think of how different things must be for her generation. Plus the suspense, all in all, gave me shivers, brilliantly done.
This review was longer than it is, because I had so much to get out of me, things I found hilarious, things I found beautifully written*, but to post would be unfair.
I cannot fault this book. Kirsty Greenwood does comedy, romance, suspense and pacing amazingly and ties it all up with great writing. ‘Read the book’ is all I can say. Read it, sitting in a deck chair out the back yard with a fizzy drink (or alcohol if you’re so inclined;)) and a straw, on a grey day, and feel the sunshine that will warm you up FROM THIS BOOK**.
Rating 5/5 JJJJJ
*By the way, my favourite quote OF ALL TIME (that I can remember!) is in this book.
**Disclaimer: This book will not actually make the sun shine.