The Vintage Guide to Love and Romance by Kirsty Greenwood
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This book was laugh out loud funny but unfortunately I don’t think it’s one I’ll remember for long.
The story follows Jessica Beam, 28 years old, single and just wants to enjoy life with no responsibilities or commitments. She parties, gets drunk a lot and a one night stand is a regular occurrence.
“Did the new neighbour just call you a slapper?” she asks, observing his retreating form. “I prefer sexually cheerful”
If a conversation turns serious she flees the scene and she is totally unreliable.
When she ends up losing her home and her job in the same day the people she thought were friends don’t want to know. She has no one left to turn to but her long lost Grandmother. She’s hoping for a hand out that will let her go travelling (and partying) but Grandma has financial problems of her own.
To solve both of their problems they agree to collaborate on a book. Grandma it turns out is the famous (ish) author of the Good Woman Guides. A series which advises women how to be elegant, well mannered and find herself a good man. Jess agrees to live by the rules to see if she can get a confirmed bachelor and womanizer to fall in love with her. Various funny escapades ensue as Jess let’s her Grandma give her a makeover and follows her very old fashioned advice on how to catch a man.
I did really like this story. It’s well written, hilariously funny in places and I think the pacing is more or less spot on.
Jessica is a very likeable character. Given her total unreliability and crazy behaviour she’s not someone I’d want as a friend but it was quite refreshing to have a female protagonist who’s living life how she wants and not worrying what others think. At times she is a bit too trusting in her supposed best friend which was very frustrating and she has some unpleasant characteristics but over the course of the book she starts to soften.
The other characters in the novel are well written including her Grandma who is very strict and old fashioned but is easily upset and terrified of losing her home and memories. All she wants is to connect to her only remaining family. New housemate and Grandma’s PA Peach was however my favourite character. She’s quite shy, with no friends, but is just so enthusiastic about everything you can’t help but like her. When she teams up with Jess there is just no stopping her.
I think what led to the book falling a little flat for me however was the men. The target of the project is Advertising Exec Leo Frost. First impressions of him are not particularly great. He seems quite stuck up, serious and has a bad reputation with women. While a lot of this proves to be untrue I still didn’t really feel any attraction between him and Jess. It was the same with the doctor downstairs, who Jess ends up in a friend’s with benefits situation, I didn’t feel a spark between them.
Overall therefore, while I thought the story was enjoyable it didn’t really give me the emotions that would make the story stick with me. I have a feeling I will have forgotten it in a couple of weeks.
I would still recommend it if you’re looking for an easy read with a lot of laughs.
“I love you more than tea and kittens and apricot gin”