That Loving Feeling by Carole Matthews
|That Loving Feeling by Carole Matthews|
|Category: Women's Fiction|
|Reviewer: Trish Simpson-Davis|
|Summary: Librarian Juliet is shaken to her roots when former fiancé, Steven returns. Should she leave her unsatisfactory husband and family for him? A comfortable, if stereotyped chick lit read by a favourite author of Library borrowers.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 416||Date: September 2009|
|Publisher: Headline Review|
Have you ever wondered what successful authors write about? Since they no longer partake of the everyday world of work, how do they 'write about what they know' while still sounding fresh and up to the minute? And how do they think up all those unique plots? Well, Carole Matthews has solved the problem in 'That Loving Feeling' by setting the book in a Public Library, cleverly utilising the hours she must have spent promoting her previous romantic comedies at Libraries up and down the country. To be cruising towards twenty published novels suggests plenty of interest from library readers and it's a rather nice touch, isn't it, to set a book amongst your loyal fan base.
So, to the plot. Librarian Juliet Joyce escapes to work every day to avoid her family of cash-strapped losers: weak, drifting husband Rick, obnoxious live-in mother, and layabout grown-up children, Tom and Chloe. One day, her former fiancé, Steven, wanders back into her life via the Library door. He is now rich, successful and a nice person to boot. Steven pulls out all the stops to prove he still wants to love and cherish her. Cherish is not a word much considered in the Joyce household in relation to Juliet, but therein lies the tale … Given the choice, it didn't take long to decide that, in her place, I'd run off with the hunk. Juliet has scruples, however, but these don't prevent her from enjoying a few close encounters as she chooses between love and true love. Well, having swiftly guessed the ending, I was left with nine-tenths of the book to stand or fall by the strength of the characters and writing.
I did enjoy the writing. For me, the middle section was full of tongue-in-cheek humour. Ms Matthews knows her Library environment and plays around with the authors very amusingly. I'm not sure if the characters as such are intended to be comic. I hope so, since I found their antics entertaining, too. Rick is swayed by the stronger personalities around him, which leaves him in some bizarre situations, nicely judged to be on the very edges of believability, even for Milton Keynes. His son, Tom, also has a good run of comic incidents and I enjoyed those scenes.
Less so the other characters. Chloe has an annoying habit of using 'Love you' as an emotional lasso to get herself out of trouble. I wasn't sure whether to take that oft-repeated phrase as a proxy symbol for a relationship, or if the author was pointing out its inadequacy as a vehicle for emotional life. Juliet's parents were similarly stereotyped as silver haired teenagers. Steven is the only major player in the novel to behave consistently with consideration, and I wasn't sure if he really held up to a reality check.
Although there's plenty of titters of recognition at the family and friends surrounding our heroine, I found it rather sad that so many of the characters are negative stereotypes. Yes, I agree that all the characters make more effort to toe the line at the end: they 'develop'. But chick lit is life-affirming, and I just found this novel's take on people a little bit negative for my taste.
The Bookbag would like to thank the publishers for sending this book.
Suggestions for further reading: If you like easygoing stories around the theme of different generations looking for love, I suggest you try Eating Blackbirds by Lorraine Jenkin or Back Home by Bethan Darwin which are both what I'd describe as chick lit plus. On the same theme, if you appreciate quirky women's novels, there's also the wonderful Valeria's Last Stand by Marc Fitten.
You can read more book reviews or buy That Loving Feeling by Carole Matthews at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy That Loving Feeling by Carole Matthews at Amazon.com.
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