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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Assured debut novel - a thoughtful, entertaining and fun read
After a trying day battling with IT problems, I downloaded this book for my Kindle in the hope of finding a bit of escapism and cheer. I picked the right book, and once I started it, I couldn't put it down, enjoying the easy humour as well as the "will-they, won't-they" pacy plot.

The story recounts the fortunes of a group of men and women who attend a night of...
Published 9 months ago by Debbie Young

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars entertaining enough
Is pretty entertaining as it features several parallel stories about very different people. It wasn't a page turner, but it wasnt boring. The only problem I had with it is that it really didn't have a closure. I am sure that this is exactly what the author intended, but I didn't like to just be dumped into somebody's life and then be taken away at an equal random point,...
Published 1 month ago by Readerofchoice


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Assured debut novel - a thoughtful, entertaining and fun read, 29 Nov 2013
By 
Debbie Young "Debbie Young" (Gloucestershire, England) - See all my reviews
After a trying day battling with IT problems, I downloaded this book for my Kindle in the hope of finding a bit of escapism and cheer. I picked the right book, and once I started it, I couldn't put it down, enjoying the easy humour as well as the "will-they, won't-they" pacy plot.

The story recounts the fortunes of a group of men and women who attend a night of speed-dating at the Jacaranda bar. When we first meet them, they all seem to be leading lives of quiet desperation, hoping,but not necessarily believing,that speed-dating will solve their problems. All is not what it seems, and as the tale unfolds, we learn more about the characters, including some surprises (but no plot-spoilers here).

This book contains all the elements of a good holiday or beach read - humour, love, sex, relationships - but there's more to it than that. There are also interesting themes about first impressions and ambitions, and interesting incidental detail about different occupations. There's lots of poignant and touching stuff about parenting, divorce and family life too.

The ending is largely happy, but there are some harsh realities too. By no means a blanket advertisement for speed-dating agencies, it will still be heartening for anyone despairing of finding a partner and may give them the courage to give that approach a try.

This is a fast-moving story, skilfully woven together to keep the pages turning. Given the episodic nature of the story, jumping from one character to another, it flows extremely well, demonstrating the author's great sense of timing. The prose is well written, the dialogue natural, convincing and lifelike.

An assured first novel, the author's background in journalism presumably having honed her writing skills, I highly recommend it, and I'm hoping there will be more like this to come from this author.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fast paced, funny, poignant....., 17 Dec 2013
By 
Fenland gnostic (Cambridgeshire UK) - See all my reviews
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Took this away to Ireland for the weekend and couldn't put it down. In fact I read it in just under a day. Wonderful page turner, even my husband is enjoying it and he usually never reads the same books as me. Well done on a brilliant first novel.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Something for everyone, 9 Dec 2013
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I agree with the other reviewers, about the pace and how it keeps you reading. You're bound to find at least one character to identify with, and equally some whose downfall won't break your heart, so it's engaging and has a lovely balance of light and dark in the story lines. Whether or not I liked all the characters, I believed in them and their motivations. Definitely a good read, and quite a lot of laughs.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny, clever, insightful - you wont be able to put it down!, 9 Dec 2013
By 
V. Reed "Vicki Reed" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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Having been to several speed dating events myself, I was interested to see where the author would go with this. The answer is onto a journey of hillarity, darkness and truth.

The honesty in this book is refreshing with the harsh realities of life displayed alongside the romance and 'hollywood hope' that you need from a great book!

Having started reading this book on the train home from work, I couldn't put it down all evening. You'll become engrossed as you learn more and more about each character and the surprises start coming. I thoroughly recommend this book to anyone looking for something to escape into!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sexy, slick and heart-warming story about dating (and more!) in London, 27 Jan 2014
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This review is from: One Night at the Jacaranda (Kindle Edition)
"One Night at the Jacaranda takes the reader on a bumpy, fast-paced, warts-and-all tour of what life is like for a group of 30-something Londoners who find themselves at the same speed dating night in a Marylebone bar called the Jacaranda. What evolves from this night turns into a page-turning romp of "will they, won't they" style romantic start-ups and twists and turns. Cooper has done well to give life to a wide range of characters all with varying backgrounds and burdens and I particularly liked those that sat on the fringe of the story and provided some humorous alternative storylines; London is full of oddballs so I'm glad they weren't excluded here! The ending wasn't without a few unexpected plot twists, which I always like to see! In short, Jacaranda is a sexy, quick-witted, eye-opening and heart-warming tale and I recommend it to anyone looking for a polished, well-crafted contemporary romance."
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldnt put it down. A real page turner!!!, 21 Jan 2014
"I really enjoyed One Night at the Jacaranda and found myself unable to put it down.
The characters were well written and thought out and I enjoyed getting know them. I grew fond of a few of them and really felt for them when they got into strife.
I found the book engaging, fun, sometimes sad and very saucy. A really good read.
Fantastic debut. Looking forward to the next one.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read, highly recommended!, 30 Nov 2013
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This review is from: One Night at the Jacaranda (Kindle Edition)
This is a great first novel. Pacy, witty and well observed, the plot develops from each character's perspective, allowing the author to provide a wealth of detail and insight. Set against the backdrop of a speed-dating event in a London pub, relationships evolve between the main characters, each of whom has a distinct personality which really shines through. Interwoven with the main story are a wealth of anecdotes, memories and quirky characters that all combine to make this a fantastic read. Can't wait for the next one!
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4.0 out of 5 stars One Night at the Jacaranda Since its narrator flits like a butterfly between a dozen or so consciousnesses One ..., 7 Sep 2014
By 
Mr. D. James "nonsuch" (london, uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: One Night at the Jacaranda (Kindle Edition)
Cooper, Carol. One Night at the Jacaranda

Since its narrator flits like a butterfly between a dozen or so consciousnesses One Night at the Jacaranda fails to qualify as Chick-lit; otherwise it has all the hallmarks of its archetype the Bridget Jones diary. It is fast, funny and deals with that thing called love, which here, as often as not embraces hatred, envy, lust and the need for companionship. In many ways the book reminds me of Morgen Bailey’s The Serial Dater’s Shopping List,where a reporter is assigned the task of dating thirty men in thirty days. In both novels the total idiocy of trying to find a mate through the agency of electronic media is exposed. Of course it goes without saying that we are all equally ridiculous in our neurotic quest to find the eternal other, but at least Cooper and Bailey, unlike Jane Austen for instance, more or less face the fact that our searches are doomed from the start.

But to the story - or in this case the series of interconnected stories of our protagonists, all of whom are credible and even in some ways likeable. But of course we want to know why - and how and where and when it all takes place, and by ‘it’ we here mean coitus and its ambient tremors of lust, rage, self-satisfaction and personal aggrandisement. The caste - of housewife, lawyer, jailbird, stringer, general practitioner, teacher - and almost off-stage, marruage deserter, soldier and Hungarian cuckold - is Chaucerian in its social range. And as with Chaucer the subjects’ diversity is unified by their starting place; in this case the dating club at the Jacaranda, where three miniutes introduction is the maximum time for chatting-up.

That this tale is successful is indicated by the scores of appreciative reviews commending its realism, its saucy demotic dialogue and its general high-spiritedness. That the book is imbued with a feelgood factor is undeniable. Many readers stayed up all night until they finished; others recommended it unreservedly as excellent holiday reading. I would agree with this verdict; it is a beautuful escape into a land we all know, but, although the book works as entertainment, is this all one expects from a novel? One reviewer dslikes its open-endedness, while another finds it sad. There is after all more to life than dating, more to endings than romantic couplings. But only cats die in this book and to ensure that this one remains acceptable, our author gives a couple of final tweaks to ensure a ‘happy ending.’
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Poignant, fun and very, very racy., 11 Feb 2014
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This review is from: One Night at the Jacaranda (Kindle Edition)
THIS doctor has a very racy bedside manner.
What I like about Carol's book is its authenticity.
She has been able to use her experience as a doctor and her work in the media to mix a perfect blend.
While her in-depth knowledge of the dating roulette game, I can only imagine is down to a fertile imagination...
But a great plot combined with realistic characters has made for an easy and entertaining read.
As for the raunchier parts of the book - and there are many - well, put it this way, cleaning the bath will never be the same again!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Racy, realistic and one to relish, 16 Jan 2014
By 
Ismay1012 - See all my reviews
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This review is from: One Night at the Jacaranda (Kindle Edition)
This is a really wonderful debut novel from Carol Cooper. Based in and around London, several lonely characters decide to find fun, friendship and maybe more by going to the Jacaranda club and indulging in a bit of speed dating. Armed with their score sheets and whatever lists of questions they've made that they'd like to find the answers to, they begin their quest: three minutes with each of the other participants of the opposite sex. There's a doctor, newly single and desperately missing his young son, a lawyer who feels well past her sell by date, a chirpy charity worker with his heart definitely in the right place, an ex-con trying to rebuild his fractured life, a raunchy nanny who married her boss, and even more. In amongst them is a reporter determined to make some copy from her night out and write a revealing expose. But do they tell the truth about their lives? Not a bit of it. Elaborate and well-embroidered stories emerge and by the end of the night each of the participants must make their decisions, of course all based on little white lies, hunches and physical attraction, and submit their preferences online.

This light-hearted scenario belies the sadness that lies beneath the various truths that unfold after that night at the Jacaranda. The ex-con is innocent, left to take the blame and incarcerated for a crime he didn't commit. The charity worker has a darker secret, he is life-limited having already had a cancerous testicle removed only to find that the cancer has already spread and nothing more can be done for him. Even the reporter, there under false pretences, is in a stale and cripplingly controlling relationship. As each story develops each wonderfully woven character embarks on another journey, a journey of discovery.

Carol Cooper uses her expertise as a doctor, a mother and an observer of life: all to excellent advantage. She writes with understanding, empathy and compassion. Her characters develop into people you really care about and want only happy resolutions for. The good news is, that once you have invested in this novel, you really are rewarded with a lovely ending. Here I'm going as far as to say, this novel deserves a sequel. There is more than enough excellent material with which to continue with what happens to many of the carefully developed characters. I'll be writing my own endings in my head for days to come!

In conclusion I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and recommend it as well written, heart-warming, involving and with plenty of interest to keep the pages turning. It's an absolute gem and I wholeheartedly look forward to reading more from this talented new author.
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