Friday, May 21, 2010

Book Review - Harriet Evans' A Hopeless Romantic

A Hopeless Romantic by Harriet Evans
Published by: Downtown Press
Publication Date: 2006
Format: Paperback, 531 Pages
Challenge: Typically British
Rating: ★★★★
To Buy

Laura is a desperate, hopeless romantic. She believes in the dream of a white knight on a gallant steed. From Jane Austen to Georgette Heyer, she has spent her life looking for "the one" who will match her romantic ideal. Of course this leads her to nothing but trouble. She has the worst taste when it comes to men, but she always bends the facts of the situation to fit her romantic daydreams. Take Dan. Sure he has a girlfriend, sure it's technically an affair, but that doesn't stop Laura and her daydreams that he will leave Amy and that they will be together on their summer holiday to Florida. When it all comes crashing down she realizes that she has jeopardized her friends, family and job for a man who would never, could never be hers. She decides it's time to leave the clouds and wake up to reality. Eschewing all that she once held dear, gone are the novels and the movies, save one. She keeps behind Rebecca, no longer viewing the sweet new Mrs. de Winter as the reason for reading it, but Mrs. Danvers. Now there's a lady who is no nonsense, stiff backbone and who would never fall for this romantic waffle.

The new Laura throws herself into getting her life sorted out, starting with a family holiday in Yorkshire. While yes, it is extremely boring looking at heritage sites and historic windmills, Chartley Hall has it's allure... and no, not the paintings or the grounds, but Nick, who Laura takes to be the groundskeeper. But now that Laura is new and "improved" will she be able to snap back to the hopeless romantic she was before Dan to see that she has landed herself in her dream story and she might just have found her prince charming?

This book was pretty excruciating to get into. Laura and Dan together were an unbearable time bomb waiting to happen. Hundreds of pages of slow self implosion. I get that we needed this exposition to lead to Laura's hardening and throwing off the rose tinted glasses, I just don't think we needed as much as was there. But once she was in Yorkshire, it literally became a book I did not want to put down. The dull, flat, two dimensional characters were gone and in their place was funny people who I could get along with, after all they watch Arrested Development and Curb Your Enthusiasm! Of course there were cliches of the genre, the ending was both expected, sad and then a bit of a Bridget Jones clone in the extreme, which almost knocked it down a star. But it was good escapist and romantic fun. Also, is it just me or did anyone else think the "butler" Charles was really the ideal man? Cause, he's up there with fictional characters who I'd give my number to.


You've got me curious about the butler!! Great review! Sounds like it got off to a slow start!

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