Top positive review
30 people found this helpful
on 25 September 2001
I loved this book! As a Lisa Jewell fan, I ordered it instantly and I was glad to find she is up to her usual brilliant standard.
The novel is slightly different from her previous offerings as it is a murder mystery as much as love story. However, the book is character-driven as much as it is plot-driven, and Jewell stil focuses on strong characters and scenes of moving emotion, which are her strength. At first, I felt the book took a while to get going, focusing on the heroine, Ana, travelling to London to pack up her dead sister Bee's belongings. But then the pace really kicked in and I found myself franctically turning pages, desperate to see what would happen next. I finished the book in 48 hours and I guarantee you will too - it's a real page-turner!
Having recently lost someone I loved, I was intrigued by the bereavement theme of the novel. However, it was not nearly as dark as I expected. Though the book initially seems to be heavier in tone than her previous novels, touching on themes such death, AIDS and disability, they are handled very gently and softly. There is a warm sunny feelgood atmosphere to the novel which is one of Jewell's most endearing qualities as a writer. Reading her book is a little like watching 'Friends' or a good romantic comedy at the cinema - you are left feeling uplifted, wishing the sparkling characters whose lives you shared could step from the pages and become real.
Best of all are the characters - all exotically named - Ana, Flint and Lol. At first they all seemed slightly eccentric and I found them a little fantastical compared to the gritty realism of her previous novels. But as the novel progressed, the characters took shape, grew flesh and bones and become real and well-rounded. If I had any criticisms of the novel, it would be that Flint and Ana's love story is perhaps not as strong as Ralph / Jem in 'Ralph's Party' or Dig & Nadine in 'Thirtynothing.' 'Ralph's Party' is, I believe, still her best work, because an ensemble piece was the best way of showing off her skills -the 6 characters from Alamanac Road were all so diverse, allowing her to cover a rich variety of themes and relationships. But 'One Hit Wonder' comes a close second!
A friend of mine was put off buying the novel because she thought it was 'Chick Lit', a genre which has received so much bad press recently. However, I'd assert that Jewell doesn't belong in the Chick Lit genre at all - there is nothing fluffy about her work - no heroines worrying about their weight, or silly jokes, or absurd plots involving weddings or Mr Right etc. Her novels are in a league of their own - they are simply strong, well written popular fiction for both male & female readers of all ages.