From Notting Hill with Love... Actually by Ali McNamara
|From Notting Hill with Love... Actually by Ali McNamara|
|Category: Women's Fiction|
|Reviewer: Jo Heffer|
|Summary: As you can probably guess from the title, the book has a strong movie theme and is very likely to appeal to film fans, especially those who love 'chick flicks'. With a heroine who dreams of life being move like her favourite films, and mainly set in Notting Hill, this is a fun packed story that provides comfortable easy reading.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 448||Date: November 2010|
Scarlett loves the movies; in fact that you could easily say that she is obsessed with them, much to the exasperation of her father, her fiancé David and her friends. She can't help dreaming and wishing that her life was more like the films that she loves. So, when the opportunity arises to house sit for a month in Notting Hill (the setting of her favourite film), she grabs it. It's a chance to prove to all those sceptics that life can be like the movies and also for her to examine her feelings about her forthcoming marriage to David.
As soon as she arrives, Scarlett is enthralled especially when she browses in that bookshop and then bumps into a man who spills orange juice over her top and insists that she goes back to his house so that he can lend her something to change into! If you haven't seen Notting Hill it's likely you won't understand what I'm talking about, and that probably goes for much of the book too. There are five or six films that strongly influence the story and if you haven't seen them, there is a great deal that will be lost on you.
Scarlett loves being in Notting Hill and starts to really enjoy her time out. However, she is quite taken aback by her feelings when she gets to know her new next door neighbour, Sean who is the exact opposite to David. In fact, she starts to feel a lot like Bridget Jones, torn between Mark Darcy and Daniel Cleaver.
So many things happen to Scarlett during her month's stay in Notting Hill, including a Star Wars themed wedding, a trip to Disneyland Paris, and even finding her long lost mother in the local cinema. At times, the story feels a bit too far-fetched especially as Scarlett seems determined to transform everything that happens into a movie moment.
When I started reading From Notting Hill with Love...Actually, I wasn't at all sure that I was going to enjoy it. It all felt a bit silly and I found Scarlett's desperation to prove that life could be like films very annoying. I stuck with it though and I'm very glad that I did because, having got over those initial thoughts, I found that it was a really good story that hooked me in and made me want to keep on reading to find out how it all turns out in the end.
I thought that Scarlett improved as a character too, especially as when her real life became more interesting, she was noticeably less obsessed with the films. There was a point at about halfway through the book when I decided that I did really like her after all and that's how I want to feel about any main character in the books that I read. I should also mention that there is a very entertaining cast of minor characters who really added to my enjoyment too.
Overall, this book does make pretty good reading but I would only recommend it if you know your Mark Darcys from your Daniel Cleavers and wouldn't think twice about asking someone that you have never met to meet you at the top of the Eiffel Tower! However, if you want a more down-to-earth read, why not try A Funny Thing About Love by Rebecca Farnworth.
You can read more book reviews or buy From Notting Hill with Love... Actually by Ali McNamara at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy From Notting Hill with Love... Actually by Ali McNamara at Amazon.com.
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Ali McNamara was kind enough to be interviewed by Bookbag.