My Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
ABOUT THE BOOK
Could the right man for her future be a boy from her past? After yet another disaster, Lorrie is calling time on online dating. She might be single in her forties, but she’s got a good job, wonderful children and she’s happy. This, Lorrie decides, is going to have to be enough. That is, until she receives a very unexpected request from France. Antoine Rousseau, who had once turned a lonely French exchange trip into a summer of romance, wants to see her – after thirty years. But Lorrie is a responsible woman. She can’t exactly run off to Nice with the man who broke her teenage heart… can she?
WHAT I THOUGHT
This is definitely a story that will make you laugh, cry and make your own life feel normal in comparison. It is the perfect tale for the modern day woman.
We begin in the past, Lorrie is a young girl being forced to go on a French exchange trip by her pushy mother. She believes that it is only so her mother can go on a month-long pulling spree without having her around. This little chapter makes for hilarious reading (and recalling!) of teenage girl problems; from boys to the menstrual cycle! A younger Lorrie is definitely a character desperate to impress, and in particular, a handsome boy named Antoine.
We then roll on 30 years, and we are thrown into a predicament that most people know only too well – online dating (and the many curses of it!). Lorrie is on a date with a man who is rabbiting on about art and throwing around words like “juxtaposed”, whilst she is trying to hide from the sheer boredom of it all. Then when her date offends her as a ‘woman who clearly likes her cake’, Lorrie cuts the date short and storms off both angry and mortified because 1. he implied she is fat and 2. he also used an old photo on his dating profile – how dare he!
Lorrie as a character, comes across as quite laid back, funny, confident and perhaps a bit of a people-pleaser who doesn’t want to hurt anyone. For example, the only reason she is online dating is because both her children and best friend have pushed her into doing it, a bit like her own mother made her go on the French exchange trip many years ago. I think ‘push-over’ is probably the best word to describe it. Lorrie is, I suppose, a bit like your typical “chick-lit” lead character, which some people may not like but I definitely love. You can always see a bit of yourself in these sort of characters. Lorrie is definitely a strong, independent woman having raised two children by herself following her partner’s death seven years ago.
Lorrie has now vowed, following that horrendous date, to knock online dating on the head and just appreciate life as it is now. When all of a sudden a blast from the past sends her a Facebook friend request; the boy who broke her heart, Mr Antoine Rousseau. It does make me laugh how she sits there staring at her laptop waiting for him to send her a direct message. It sort of reminds me of how sometimes I stare at my emails waiting for a publisher to send me an email saying that they are sending me a new book to review (bookworm problems!).
It is a little bit cringeworthy though that when Antoine finally does send her a message he signs it off with “I have to tell you, Lorrie, it was the summer I came alive”. If an ex said something like that to me then I definitely would have hit the block button, after throwing up in my mouth a little bit. But then again, it is exactly what Lorrie needs, some nice male attention from an attractive man.
We meet some fabulous characters. Stu, who is Lorrie’s BFF and current lodger. He is very honest and a real go-getter as he set up his own successful business on a simple drunken whim. There is also Lorrie’s mum, who comes across as quite a drama-queen who is still bitter about her ex-husband, despite her being the one who left him. She is a funny lady though, so you can’t help but like her in a weird way. She reminds me of the phrase ‘mutton dressed as lamb’, when Lorrie describes her “with her clingy outfits and full make-up”, bearing in mind she is seventy years old.
There is a little scene in the book which I simply loved. It is where Lorrie, as a make-up artist in a department store, stops a harassed looking mother pushing a sleeping baby and trying to control her four year old, to try the latest ‘summer colours’. The little boy is being a typical pre-schooler; difficult and bored so Lorrie persuades him to do a bit of colouring. Much to his horror though, the colouring book is full of just pretty ladies, so she suggests that he makes the girls look ugly, which he does gleefully. In that short amount of time in making the mother’s face up, Lorrie brightened up her day, and something as small as that made me feel all happy inside and shows what a truly adorable character Lorrie is.
Without giving away any spoilers, Lorrie goes on a bit of an adventure to try and find some happiness for herself but she finally comes back down to earth, with an ending I simply loved. Fiona Gibson writes beautifully with stunning descriptions. Her narrative and dialogue flow perfectly and she leaves a warm fuzziness inside that stays with you until you close the last page.
Thank you so much to Sabah Khan of Avon (Harper Collins) Publishers for sending me a copy of this book for an honest review. As a result, I will definitely be reading more from Fiona Gibson in the future.
My final word: Delightful