Yes I know publishers use the cover of a book as their primary method of targeting a specific readership. But I've never fielded so many, "Oh my god. What the hell are you reading, Michael?" and "Michael. You are reading a romance - what!!" as I did reading this. If I'd bumped into Violet (main character) while I had my head in this, she would have muttered something scathing about chick flicks or bloody Mills and Boon. I'm sure she would have been horrified to be a character in either and would probably have much preferred to be horribly murdered on page 33 of a Minette Walters detective novel. These headless women photos are just too redolent of pulp romance or even mail order catalogue to carry around in public. I think I could have lived with the compromise of a quirky though still misleading chick lit cover.
I didn't enjoy this one as much as Fiona Robyn's other book The Blue Handbag. That book was well structured, with a mystery that developed along with the characters. The Letters doesn't seem to have much structure at all. It reads more like a prolonged character study, interspersed with some old letters that seem to have no connection to the narrative. They do have a connection but it is so obliquely hidden and largely ignored by Violet that it is hard to even care what it is. That's not to say the book isn't worth reading. Violet is an abrasive, impulsive, opinionated, sometimes volatile, though interesting character, who has a softer side hidden below all the brash bossiness, and she does have some stories to tell. Her relationship with her children, mainly her son add a dash of amusement, as does the hopeless ensemble of the Village Committee, which kept giving me flashes of The Vicar of Dibley minus vicar and bottomless puddles.
Year of the Toad - *Common toad near Blackford Pond, Edinburgh * Last weekend we visited Blackford Pond hoping to see lots of toads spawning but we were too early for the ...
14 hours ago