I enjoy a bit of chick lit now and then to relax with, so I've been looking forward to starting this, although Lucy Robinson isn't an author I'm familiar with. It turned out to be an enjoyable read which I polished off in a day and a half - just what the doctor ordered over a lazy weekend.
Our protagonist, who narrates in first person, is Charlotte Lambert, a go-getting career girl with a high-powered job in charge of PR at a large pharmeceutical company. Unfortunately for her, she has a massive crush on her boss who, though obviously attracted to her, never quite manages to make the move from object of lust to actual boyfriend. Then one day, Charley breaks her leg and pelvis falling down a hill at a picnic and suddenly she's forced to rest in bed instead of devoting her every moment to work. Without the focus of work in her life she feels rudderless and lost, especially when she finds out the love of her life has just proposed to another woman. Some serious re-assesment is obvously in order.
Fortunately Charley is saved from boredom and despair by a new venture; a little business she can operate from her bed. She forms a company to help people find good matches while internet dating by writing witty emails on their behalf. However, things begin to get complicated when one of the people she is emailing for a client begins to get under her skin. Could Charley be falling in love with a man she's never met?
At first glance, Charley is just the sort of person most of us would dislike; she doesn't seem to care about anything but work and she's never got any time for friends and family. To humanise her, and to make the novel a lot more interesting, the author has given her a colourful family with a couple of sisters, a straight-talking best friend and a slobbish housemate who brings home a different girl every night and who lives on a diet of cheap bread and Nutella. Would the work-obsessed PR director of a big important company really live with someone like this? Probably not, but never mind - nobody ever said chick lit was realistic! Fortunately, the first person narration means we can read Charley's thoughts and know that, underneath the efficient executive, she's really just a normal girl like us.
The author does make a pretty decent effort to try and throw us off the scent for a while, and I wasn't entirely sure at first which of the three possible candidates Lucy was going to end up living happily ever after with. After a while, of course it becomes plain, though I wasn't completely convinced by her choice and found it a little hard to believe they were really made for each other. It's not a big deal though, I enjoyed the journey despite its destination!
There are plenty of light laughs along the way, and Charley's quite an endearing character once you get to know her. There's even a villain we can hate - a bitchy colleague who's after Charley's job and for whom Charley's injury is a godsend. The moment when she finally gets her comeuppance is one of the book's high points. I wouldn't quite call this a new favourite, but it was a nice fun read and I'd recommend it to anyone who enjoys this genre. Four stars.