Kiss Like You Mean It by Louise Harwood

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Kiss Like You Mean It by Louise Harwood

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Category: Women's Fiction
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Louise Laurie
Reviewed by Louise Laurie
Summary: This book has the F word all over it - it's frilly, frothy, flirty and fun - not meant to be taken too seriously. Take one handsome leading man, add a pretty make-up artist and the result is - plenty of romantic ups and downs.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 320 Date: March 2010
Publisher: Pan
ISBN: 978-0330442091

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This book is a modern-day love story. It's all about trendy characters with trendy names living rather trendy lives in glossy location sets. The title gives a very clear message as to its contents. Romantic fiction which will appeal generally to women. But there's also a story within a story (and for me the more interesting one) which is the Hollywood movie being filmed in Europe. It takes us back to the first World War and the heroic actions of one young man, in particular.

The reader is introduced to the whole cast and crew, one by one. Most, I have to say, are a little cliched and one dimensional. But eventually, I did warm to Ella, make-up artist to the stars and at the moment, make-up artist to the star, Rory.

The suitably gruff movie director ... plucked his Eliza Doolittles out of the gutters and into his beds, making them stars. Describing one of the aspiring actresses, Harwood tells us she ... is a cheap tart who'd sleep with a gorilla if it could help her career. So far, so predictable, I thought.

The constant juxtaposition of the modern-day cast acting out the terrors of war does grab the reader's attention somewhat. There are some poignant descriptions here and there. For me, some of Harwood's characters lacked well ... character, frankly. I found that I didn't care about the majority of them. They were so light that they tended to slip through my metaphorical fingers.

At times, this book felt a little like Mills & Boon and I don't say that lightly. For example, ... so that she could peer at him, prod him, stroke her fingertips across his high ( why are they always high?) cheekbones and his full (why are they always full?) sensitive lips ... For me, there were far too many adverbs all over this book, like a rash. This made for sometimes rather clumsy sentences which in turn slowed down the pace. Remember, we're deep in the throes of sexual tension here, sparks flying etc. Having said all that, there were pieces of spunky dialogue, but not enough for my liking.

Lots of mentions of current day movie stars for the reader to relate to. And apparently Dustin Hoffman married his make-up artist. There's an inordinate amount of detail about make-up, its application etc and to be fair, I have picked up some useful tips and no, I'm not being facetious.

I am well aware that this book is meant to be a light and entertaining read but overall, I found it a little too light in content. There's nothing really to hang on to, the characters seemed to slip off the printed page, almost to the point of being like cardboard cut-outs.

This book does however, point out in no uncertain terms that making a movie can be extremely expensive financially. It also highlights the sheer man hours involved (say two days shooting) which sometimes can be cut right down to mere seconds in the final film.

I'm afraid it wasn't difficult to guess the ending - long before the end, albeit with some nice twists and turns. It's not a book I will re-read or even remember, quite frankly.

On a more positive note, the book was escapism during the couple of days I took to read it. Let me put it like this; it was like eating a bowl of strawberries and cream. Lovely. But I now crave a nice, juicy steak.

So if you're looking for a little bit of romantic get-away-from-it-all reading, then kick off your shoes, break open the sparkling wine - and enjoy.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

If this book appeals to you then you might also enjoy Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver. For more of the film industry try The Motherhood Walk of Fame by Shari Low.

Buy Kiss Like You Mean It by Louise Harwood at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Kiss Like You Mean It by Louise Harwood at

Buy Kiss Like You Mean It by Louise Harwood at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Kiss Like You Mean It by Louise Harwood at


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