Rosie: Note to Self by Claire Connor and G P Taylor
|Rosie: Note to Self by Claire Connor and G P Taylor|
|Category: General Fiction|
|Reviewer: Ruth Ng|
|Summary: Religious chick lit (stay with me!) Although I found it a little gruelling to wade through all the grief it was still a surprisingly compelling read.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Maybe|
|Pages: 100||Date: September 2009|
In the first of a five book deal Claire Connor, writing in partnership with GP Taylor, brings us a modern romance based loosely on the story of Ruth from the Bible. This is total chick-lit, and from the first few pages I thought it was just going to be a very light, funny romance story. However, the story quickly takes a depressing turn and the rest of the book is as much an exploration of grief as it is a romance novel.
For those a bit ropey on their bible characters Ruth is the one who got married, her husband died, and she then promised to stay with her mother-in-law and take care of her, leaving her own home country to stay with her. (I know, sounds unlikely doesn't it?!) Well, in this re-working of the story, Ruth is replaced by Rosie, a young, boisterous American graduate who marries a sweet and gentle English man, Cameron, and goes to live with him in England. He is some kind of Lord of the manor, very well-to-do, and they are very happy together.
However, their happiness is short lived as he goes away on a mountaineering trip with his brother and father and they are all killed in a terrible accident. Rosie is left floundering alone in England, and her mother in law, Mara, collapses when she discovers that the family home has been signed away through a company deal and so they are all now homeless. They find themselves forced to move up to Northumberland to stay with a distant relative of Mara's (who is another well-to-do, wealthy landowner). Mara tells Rosie and Rosie's sister in law, Valentina, that they should both go back to their own countries and leave her, and Valentina does so immediately, but Rosie doesn't want to leave Mara alone, and can't face going back home to America, so she stays with Mara.
As I mentioned, this story starts so light on its feet that I felt sure I was in for a nice, easy read with a predictable romance and a few smiles along the way. However, once Rosie has heard about the death of her husband and his father and brother things take quite a dark turn. Rosie is, quite obviously, devastated, and so much of the rest of the story deals with how she copes (or doesn't cope) with becoming such a young widow. There are still flashes of humour as Rosie remains a bit of a live-wire, but at the same time there is a great deal of sadness too. There were a few times when I put the book down because I was finding it depressing. But I would still go back eventually and want to continue reading, hoping that things would get better for Rosie.
There is a slightly religious slant to the story, as you might guess being based on a bible story, but it isn't too heavy-handed. Rosie herself can be a little annoying at times as a character, she's so stubborn, but something about her endeared me enough that I wanted to keep reading to see how things turned out for her. I was a bit baffled by the fact that this was written by two writers, but it didn't feel disjointed at all so there was no obvious new writer/experienced writer split in the text and it left me wondering how much input each of them had had or why one of them hadn't been able to write it alone.
The later half of the story is quite predictable, but I think that's just how a lot of chick lit works and is often part of the charm - that you know you're going to get a happy ending with your struggling heroine and blatantly obvious (except to the heroine of course) hero. So, an easy read with a happily ever after, but it's probably best avoided if you're feeling a bit blue already.
You might like to try another chick lit author who touches on the darker side of life - Marian Keyes or for something a bit more brainless (but still entertaining!) then try Shopaholic and Baby by Sophie Kinsella.
You can read more book reviews or buy Rosie: Note to Self by Claire Connor and G P Taylor at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Rosie: Note to Self by Claire Connor and G P Taylor at Amazon.com.
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