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3.1 out of 5 stars64
3.1 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 18 July 2009
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Firstly I would not tag this as Chick-Lit.
It is a modern novel with a novel storyline and is engaging with well defined characters, some of whom are quite amusing and likeable, and moves along at a good pace. BUT ... despite an excellent concept, much of what happens is totally unbelievable in the real world.
People that the main character Jo/Rebecca meets are very understanding and trusting and forgive her misdemeanors and rudeness.
Additionally she gains employment without references , is left in charge of cash when she has very recently met people, and, in the case of a job working with children child protection checks.
I think although it is not chick lit it will be a good beach read and despite it's interesting ideas I could not give it more than a 1 for it's implausability .
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VINE VOICEon 13 September 2009
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Its 4am and the girl comes too with amnesia at the scene of a bomb in central london in a barely there dress and no shoes being tended to by an ambulance officer, as he get called away to an urgent case the girl makes a break for it, with no idea what shes running from. If the plot hasnt broken plausibility enough for you yet, she luckily finds that the jacket the officer wrapped around her contains a wallet with a large sum of money and a card from which she adopts the identity of 'Jo Simmons', leaving everyone behind her to assume she's dead. Boarding and falling asleep on a night bus she gets off at a town in Oxford and despite her apperance gets mistaken for a new employee in a tea shop and so begins a new life and new identity. As jo struggles to start coming to terms with her the few memories she has and the information that she can aquire though facebook she falls from one place to another, making mistakes and being forgiven relentlessly as she goes. After much (and perhaps the least plausible) deceit she lands a job as an activities worker with venerable children at the home her new and oblivious man interest works at. It starts to look like her new identity could work until her story gets leaked. Not knowing who to trust she continues to stumble between dabbling in her new life and old, torn between wanting to remember and knowing that theres something shes running from. Her two identities are worlds apart and she needs to work out who she wants to be, shes just not doing a very good job of it. The predictable ending therefore doesnt seem quite so much of annoyance as by this point you actually want it to happen that way. A bit anti-climatical i will agree as it doesn't have any major twists, but as the memories unfold you start to feel an association with Jo, how she became who she is/was and how you wuold handle the situation personally.

I personally enjoyed the story and its only losing a star because of the sheer implausibity of it all. Not only is she assumed dead after such a short space of time, despite not being found and the ambulance driver having seen her, But by the time shes aquired the third (and completely different) job by fluke and with no references you start to feel a bit hard done by thats not how it really is, and it loses some of the affinity that you built with the character through her fear and alcohol shakes. Shes runs from everything and forgiven for almost every screw up she makes and that perhaps loses some of the impact of the story also as yes she is understandably scared..but is she actually getting that hard of a time or just building it up to be? To sum this book up its a fictional chic lit story, with page turning enjoyability and some well written characters..its just a bit of a shame the plot wasnt strong enough to do without the implausibilities.
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VINE VOICEon 3 July 2009
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This novel has an absolutely terrific opening; a young woman comes to, sitting in the gutter in the aftermath of a bomb attack somewhere in London. She has no idea who she is and why she's there. She is filled with an overwhelming sense of guilt and panic so that instead of waiting for help, she steals a wallet that gives her a name and some cash and takes off aimlessly ending up in Oxfordshire. All she knows as the days pass and she begins to build a new life that she had not been a nice person and may even have done something very bad indeed. But what?

So far, I was gripped- the pages where Jo begins to work with damaged kids were fascinating. However, to me, the opening power wasn't sustained She had an irritating habit of running away whenever she felt people had let her down. This happened far too often for my liking and hinted at a writer who'd run out of ideas. Even the central premise seemed to fall apart. Would a clever, ambitious young woman with a happy, stable childhood behind her, with supportive friends and a boyfriend who loves her descend so rapidly into drink, drugs and degradation just because her mum and dad split up after she'd left home?

About half way through, the pace slowed to a crawl and I became seriously annoyed as I read on especially as every one else around Jo was so willing to forgive her over and over again gave her a second or even third chance when, in real life, that would never happen. (After all, if you work with children these days, you have to be positively vetted.) All Jo's problems evaporated far too easily--especially when the central reason as to why she was feeling so guilty turned out to be something and nothing. The ending was far too 'and they all lived happily ever after' for my liking.

I found the sections where Jo was interacting with the kids not only the best-written but the most interesting parts of the novel and would have liked more of this. Some of the characters from Jo's 'new life were well-drawn, especially Pearl, who was a delight. In contrast, the scenes with the 'city types' were too superficially portrayed and bored me. It was almost as if having thought out a great idea for a novel, the author herself grew bored as well, forgot why she'd started writing it and (quite literally)lost the plot.
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This book had a great initial lure, can you walk away from your life and start afresh? An idea which must attract a lot of readers. It doesn't however have anything too profound to offer as a conclusion.

I did enjoy it as a page turner, the narrative is fairly unsophisticated and we stay entirely with the main character so that things that happen out of "Jo"s direct experience are presented as events to which she reacts. While this means that the plot is lacking in depth it also means that we go through the slow revelation of Jo's previous life at the same time as she does and this kept me reading. However the final revelations don't live up to the inital promise, Jo is very immature for 24 and the story involves a lot of stunning good luck and unconditional love and forgiveness from at least 3 older female authority figures - with this much love and support freely available when needed its hard to see how she managed to go off the rails in the first place. There are also some very annoying plot servers such as why she has an existing friend's name written on the back of her hand (this serves solely to provide access to her previous life).

Unfortunately this book doesn't entirely deliver either as a thriller or chick lit. The male characters, with the exception of Kyle, are ciphers and provide the usual chick-lit choices, but the minimal romance entirely serves the dramatic development.

Overall an easy, light and disposable holiday read.
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on 25 December 2009
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The start and finish of this book are excellent and gripping, but I have to pick fault in that the middle does tend to drag a little. This unfortunately seems necessary to the plot though, and does not take away from it in the end.

About a girl who is involved in a bombing in a nightclub, this book follows her story as she hopes to regain the memories she lost at the time. Fearing that her earlier life was not one that she wants to return to, she runs away from the area, catches a bus and tries to start a new life. She can remember things like days of the week etc, but anything to do with her personal life is a complete blank. With some lucky (maybe too coincidental?) twists, some memories start coming back and she manages to come across her old Facebook account and trace an old acquaintance who fills a few blanks for her. In the meantime she gets herslef a job with new fake details and builds a new life around this. By the end she must make the choice of whether to return fully to her old life she has uncovered, or stick with the new one she has build with her fresh start.

There is an obligatory falling in love plot that emerges too, to suit the romantic side in us and we get to sit with our heroine as she has to work out exacty what she wants from life after all. Not a bad book, but a bit too many 'coincidences' at times, and the pace starts to drag in the middle.
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on 18 October 2009
Surprised I stuck this out to the end. It took me weeks to read (and a book I am enjoying can be finished in hours, so that gives you some idea of how much I liked it). This "back of the book" stuff sounded promising but there weren't really any "shocking" secrets (if you want shocking read Monster Love by Carol Topolski), just humdrum every-day boring ones. And the story was neither dark nor disturbing, just very very irritating and laughably unrealistic. The central character is deeply unlikeable, in either of her alternate lives, and you could see how it was all going to end by about halfway through the book. I just didn't CARE what happened to Jo/Rebecca and, to be honest, I wished she'd been killed off by the bomb on Page 1 and given us all a break. Really don't bother with this - there are so many books worth reading out there and this ain't one of them!
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The heroine regains consciousness after a bomb blast in a London club. She has no idea of her identity and takes the name of the person who's wallet she finds in a pocket of the jacket wrapped round her. She is frightened of something but does not know what it is. On impulse she decides to get away from London and start a new life. Gradually she comes to realise she doesn't like what she knows about her previous life though she is far from remembering it all.

The book is well written and the author quickly evokes sympathy from the reader for the not always very likeable 'Jo'. The other characters are also well drawn. Pearl - Jo's landlady; Saskia - the only name Jo knows from her past; Matt - who helps her get another job. How Jo deals with her own problems is excellent showing the two steps forward and one back progress which most of us make when dealing with serious issues.

If you want something more substantial than the average chick lit then I would recommend this. It has both humour and serious issues and there are no fairytale happenings to solve the heroine's problems just events growing out of her character and circumstances. I enjoyed it.
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on 26 April 2011
I rather enjoyed this book - I found the idea of having no memories and trying to forge a new life for yourself original, if a little unbelievable. I liked the many references to facebook as a tool Jo used to try and find out about her previous life, and the way she had many leading conversations with the few people she came into contact with from her past .

I also kind of liked the premise that somebodys entire life could be wiped out and they could choose to be a much better person, someone who gives back to society and takes responsibility for their own actions, somebody who has sympathies and loyalties vastly different than they were before . I did find myself warming up to Jo, although I did find her tendency to lose her temper over the slightest thing, and to blame others for everything, a little overblown .

This isn't a particularly challenging read - I read the book in a matter of hours, but it does move along at a nice pace, and is very interesting, largely because you do build up a sort of relationship with the characters .

4 stars - a fun read with an original, if slightly doubtful, plotline .
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on 1 August 2009
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The story is of a young girl in her early twenties who gets caught up in a bomb blast at a London nightclub. She regains consciousness in the street amongs the debris. She's badly shaken but doesn't appear to have any more injuries other than she can't remember who she is or where she came from other than a feeling of having to run away. She doesn't know who she is or what has happened. She sets off on a London night bus in nothing more than a skimpy dress which has been ripped to shreds and the coat that a paramedic puts round her shoulders (and the wallet of a man called Joe Simmonds in the pocket) she arrives early next morning in a sleepy Oxfordshire village, she dopts the name of Jo...Not wholly enamoured of this book, okay read I suppose.
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I was a little surprised to find so many reviewers not liking this book - O.K., it's not the best literary work of fiction but it's not bad either. I would say that it's womens fiction on the edge of being chic-lit because of the light-hearted content and it has more than a touch of romance.

The plot I found quite imaginative - fake your death and start again - I like this type of story and this is the first I've read which is based on amnesia. I'm not sure how accurate the amnesia part of the story is and yes, there are holes and hard to believe areas all over the book but at the end of the day it is a work of fiction and is a very enjoyable read. It's not a `must read' but I would recommend it as a decent paced page turner with a glass of vino at the weekend.
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