The Things We Do For Love by Alice Peterson

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The Things We Do For Love by Alice Peterson

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Category: Women's Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Zoe Morris
Reviewed by Zoe Morris
Summary: A dog, a daughter and a dastardly new boss – what could possibly go wrong? Sweet and sassy chick lit, this one's a winner.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 384 Date: September 2015
Publisher: Quercus
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1848669017

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January is an unusual name for a reasonably normal girl, a single mum to a daughter (and a dog). She has a few unusual characteristics, though. Her dog comes to work with her (at a property company where, before you ask, she's not the boss or even close to it). She was raised by her grandparents following the sudden death of her parents. And her daughter, though adorable, has a few issues which can make everyday life a bit tricky. None of this really matters, though. Because, as the title suggests, this is a straight up love story (or search for love story) and it's a pretty brilliant one.

There's not a huge amount that happens in this story, and I liked that. I in no way mean it's lacking in plot, just that it's about people and relationships rather than explosions and catastrophes and life changing events. All that has already happened, you see. There was a fatal car crash. There was an unexpected pregnancy. There was a disabled child and the aftermath thereof. There were two male figures who failed to live up to their romantic or family potential. There were tears and heartbreak and all the usual suspects, but that's all in the past, and January is all about the now, where her most pressing problem is that her new boss is not as nice as the old one, and her happy work environment might be about to change. I found it pretty refreshing, to be honest. I like melodrama when it's warranted but I also like real books about normal characters, the sort you could imagine leaping off the pages and living in the real world.

The book is beautifully told, jumping back into Jan's memories of when she met former flames, when her daughter was young and even further back into her own childhood. Some of the segues are a little forced at times but this was soon forgiven because however you initiate the time change, the result was always an interesting or touching anecdote that show how January and Isla go to where they are.

There are clichés about estate agents and I believe a lot of them are true, as someone who regularly deals with the failings of a local lettings agency. But this book quite optimistically sets out to change these, and when you read the acknowledgements you see this was deliberate. It does work though, and just because through three house moves and three sets of tenants, I've never had much luck, this book made me see what I was missing, what was possible in this field. It also almost made me want to become one myself. Nosing round other people's properties and delving into their life histories – what's not to like?

Back to the story, though, and I thoroughly enjoyed every page. I read it on holiday and despite the distraction of the crystal clear African waters and the roasting midday heat, I finished it in a single day, shunning swimming and shade for a spellbinding story. I don't know what drew me to this book, but I know what kept me – an intriguing story that wasn't over the top but instead was incredibly relatable with just the right level of frustrating setbacks to keep you rooting for a happy ending. I'd like to thank the publishers for sending us a copy to review. Fab.

This is not Alice Peterson's first book and we have enjoyed many of her others. We would also recommend A Better Man by Leah McLaren for a light-hearted read from a male perspective.

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Buy The Things We Do For Love by Alice Peterson at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Things We Do For Love by Alice Peterson at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy The Things We Do For Love by Alice Peterson at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Things We Do For Love by Alice Peterson at


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