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Customer Review

41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Radically comforting! Gently, subversively normal! Altogether lovely!, 20 Mar. 2011
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This review is from: Summer of Love (Hardcover)
Like the overwhelming majority of the other reviewers, I really enjoyed this romantic novel. Katie Fforde's world is very kind - both her heroines are people I could imagine meeting and liking and the heroes Katie finds for them are just right. You can trust her as a writer to keep you interested and to make you smile, but not to shock or upset you, and I find her invaluable comfort reading when life (as it is for so many people) is stressful. Any person who likes romantic novels will like this and recognise all the essential components.

But I think there is another quality in Katie's fiction which is overlooked- how radical she is. Her heroines are normal women, and because Katie writes Romantic fiction with happy endings and no postmodern experimentation or disturbing twists, it is easy to overlook how unusual that is! I just love the way she writes about Fiona in particular - she manages to give us a lovely heroine who is a realistic middle aged woman, who suffers from indigestion, sees the funny side of life, does the church flowers , loves her son and grandson and has to buy new underwear before going on a date BUT who has a believably sexy time with a gorgeous middle aged man. Hooray! Thank you Katie! Katie's depiction of Sian, the younger woman, is equally skilled - Sian is someone you could imagine meeting on the school playground waiting to pick up her son. She is a kind, hard working single mother (another busted stereotype!) who loves her child, gets on well with her parents, has believably close and unbitchy friendships with other young mothers and with Fiona, and when confronted with a rich admirer has the principles not to choose money over love. The idea that the passion of a one night stand can be satisfyingly reignited after an unplanned pregnancy and 6 years apart is definitely of the genre, but because Sian is so believable and sympathetic this works.

Katie is great at characters. Sian's little boy, Rory, is beautifully and lovingly depicted. Even walk on parts - like the pie making woman in the bookshop - are fun and realistic.

I loved the subplots, particularly Fiona's internet dating disasters, which made me laugh. I will never look at garden centres in the same way again and the safety reminder may well help many a reader! Gus's bushcraft knowledge was really well conveyed - having gone on a children's bushcraft course I recognised all the techniques he used, but admired the skilful way Katie managed to describe them without sounding like an instruction novel.

In a quiet way, Katie Fforde is doing gloriously subversive work for middle aged women - giving likeable normal women who struggle with their weight and worry about their families passionate sexuality and fun! Thank you so much Katie. I think that, with 'Going Dutch', this is my favourite of your books. Please repeat this subversive recipe and have more middle aged heroines in the future!
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 17 Apr 2011 13:14:17 BDT
Damaskcat says:
Like you I thought Fiona was excellent and it is a refreshing change to find a middle aged heroine.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Dec 2012 12:34:20 GMT
Yes, great review - I loved this and 'gently subversively normal' sums up KF perfectly! I loved Fiona even more than Sian - and the garden centre scene was totally priceless.
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Reviewer

A. Booth
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Location: England

Top Reviewer Ranking: 56,082