I've just finished this and confess to also reading the (mixed) reviews half way through, but thanks for not giving anything away. It's the first book of Dorothy's I have read - I had heard of her before but only as a magazine features writer - and I actually really enjoyed it. I am from Yorkshire and I liked the fact that it didn't feature posh silly girls from the Home Counties or who worked in ad agencies in London and went to Chinawhite etc etc. It didn't seem like a novel, more like a diary/confessional in it's straight talking quirky style (reviewers commented that not a lot happened) but I liked it.
This is the third book that I have read by this author and I have to say, there isn't one of her books that I haven't enjoyed! I was as glued to this book as i have been to each of the others that she has written, starting it early yesterday morning and being virtually unable to put it down until I finished it early the same afternoon.
Koomson doesn't write conventional chick-lit fiction, but she does write a story that is enjoyable and intriguing at the same time. It's an enjoyable easy read that flows through the plot, developing a series of intriguing characters - some more sympathetic than others, but most quite likeable. There is also a very pleasing 'character twist' at the end of the book which gave me a giggle!
One of the things I admire about Koomson's style of writing is that she allows her characters to develop along with the plot, rather than thrusting things in your face - so much so that it is possible to read 2/3 of the book without even realising that one of the main characters is gay!
For me personally, another of the highlights was that the book was centred on a part of Leeds that I know fairly well - Headingley, Burley Park, Kirkstall and Horsforth. It's the area where I went to school, and where my brother later lived. She obviously knows this part of Leeds very well too, as there are incredibly few Geographical errors - and the few that are there can easily be put down to artistic license! Anyone who has lived in or has been a student in Leeds will recognise many of the places in this book - guaranteed!
Give it a go. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have!
Dissatisfied with her life, London journalist Ceri D'Altroy decides to resign from her job, rent out her flat and move down to Leeds to carve out a new career for herself. Ceri once studied psychology in Leeds and accepts a teaching position at a college, which enables her to carry out her own research. Moving into a house share, Ceri begins her new life. But will a different city mean a different life?
The Cupid Effect is quite different from Dorothy's later novels, both in style and content. It's a much lighter read and full of witty observations, which I enjoyed. Ceri is a very likable character and although she often has very sarcastic comments, she usually keeps them to herself. Ceri felt like she was suffocating from the drama of other people's lives while in London, always finding herself caught up in their problems as everyone seemed to gravitate towards her. And this doesn't seem to change when she packs up and moves to Leeds.
Ceri moves into a house with two students, Jake and Ed, and I loved the instant bond between them, particularly with Jake. I can imagine them continuing to live together beyond the novel and getting up to all sorts of adventures. I also enjoyed the friendship between Ceri and her former tutor, Jess. They're obviously comfortable in each other's company and had no problem being open and honest with each other.
I thoroughly enjoyed this lighter side of Dorothy's writing and The Cupid Effect had my favourite ending to any book I've read.
We meet Ceri when she is beginning to change her life after getting fed up of being in London and people always coming to her for advice with their lives. Ceri moves back to Leeds and goes back to college with research and lecturing and moves in with Ed and Jake. Before long Ceri is still getting caught up in other people's lives from Mel and Claudine's clandestine affair to her boss who has a dark secret that she is desperate to tell Ceri. With all of this constantly happening Ceri begins to wonder is she a modern day cupid? I read this as I am a big fan of Koomson's books and I wanted to see what she started off writing and how that would compare, I went into this knowing it would not be as good as her later offerings. However I was soon disappointed and I am glad that Koomson has adapted her plots. For me the problem is not with the writing style as that was fine and no different but it was with the plot. 'The Cupid Effect' is very light-hearted and I did expect it to be from the blurb but I still thought that as usual there would be something to make it gritty. The only plot thread that did make this more gritty is not discussed until the last couple of pages and so holds no depth to it. This book is sadly too wishy-washy and unrealistic for me to really love. I appreciated it and still found it to be humorous and enjoyable but it was too light-hearted for it to be good in my opinion. The characters on the other hand are very well written as usual and believable, apart from Ceri's cupid storyline, and well developed and enjoyable to read about their trials and tribulations. If you are a fan of Koomson's books then read this with trepidation as it is very different.
Having read about Dorothy and her novel on a chicklit site, I had a feeling that this book would be for me...A sucker for all things romantic, I devoured it instantly. Dorothy has a refreshing approach to writing - she writes as I speak! As I read 'The Cupid Effect' it was as if I was telling the story, and having read it to my boyfriend I really was! The book is amazing, telling the story of Ceri, a chick who has a 'luuurve' effect on everyone she comes into contact with. Now if you're anything like me, you'll be able to relate to the fact that she has one of those faces that everyone wants to tell their life story to at bus stops, but Ceri's more than that, unlike me who just smiles sweetly and tries to escape, she gets involved - the effect of which has some funny, alarming and v.interesting results! Reading 'The Cupid effect' is like chatting to your best mate - I loved it!
I wavered between 2 stars and 3 stars for this book, but feel that 2, or 2 and a half is most fitting. It isn't an awful novel, but neither is it particularly memorable, affecting or stunning. The writer is obviously enjoying herself but I just felt that the style lacks something, even though, having read the back cover and found out a little about the novel and writer, I had an idea of the sort of story I was expecting. I somehow hoped it would still be a little deeper, and have more flow and development.
But I don't want to be completely negative about it. I did finish it, (albeit I rushed it a bit and kind of wanted to move on) and I was interested enough to want to know how it all turned out for all the characters. Certainly it improved in the second half of the book for me. The main character, Ceri, is likeable and is independent and interesting, to an extent. The surrounding cast somehow never quite become fully rounded characters though. Ceri decides on a major change in her life, and moves from London to Leeds, and through the course of the novel we hear how her friends and acquaintances confide their deepest secrets in her, but she feels she has no one to really listen to her wants and needs. It transpires that love is happening all around her, often with her help, to everyone but her. I have never watched the tv series 'Angel' so her frequently mentioned obsession with the lead male star was a bit lost on me! I have spent a lot of time in Leeds so it was nice to hear a lot of the old familiar areas mentioned in the novel and enjoyable to have something set there as opposed to London. I am looking forward to something grittier again for my next read though.
While 'chicklit' doesn't have to be great literature, I do expect something in return for my money. Some kind of plot, interesting characters and engaging dialogue are surely not too much to ask for. This book however managed none, and was deeply tedious and poorly written into the bargain. My recommendation? Don't waste your money.
'My best friends girl' - fabulous. 'Marshmallows for breakfast' - wishy washy. 'The Cupid Effect' - Just awful! What is going on with DK? I'm afraid to pick up her next novel for fear of what I'll find! The story of Ceri, who arrives in Leeds to begin a lecturers post, it starts out bland and proceeds to a just ok. Passable, even. But then you throw in her boring obsession with the TV series 'Angel' (I just dont get the relevance...) and the fact that - ta daaah - she's Cupid and the whole thing just goes rushing downhill at a frightening pace. Ceri, as a character, was fairly likeable (Angel obsession aside of course) and in fact, most of the characters in the book have a likeability to them but the plot and the soul of the book are severely lacking. I did finish the book, as it limped wearily along, and I think this was largely because I hoped it was going somewhere. Unfortunately, it wasn't and by the time I realised it, I was more than half way through and finished it purely because I'm tenacious like that. My advice - give it a miss...
I found My Best Friends Girl moving, and I read this expecting something similar to it, or to Marshmallows for Breakfast - nice to read on holiday but I wouldn't bring them home.
However this was much more entertaining, much more fun (and much more cheerful!) than her later books. I couldn't wait to find out what happened and I found the conclusions to each of the stories of the couples much more origional than I was expecting.
To those unfamiliar with Ms Koomson's work, her first two books - this and the Chocolate Run - are definately her best!
This book will ring true with anyone who is better at looking after their friends than they are looking after themselves and also believes in true love. The heroine is incredibly likeable and I found myself identifying with her a lot (not the very amusing drunken scenes of course!). It's not patronising dull chick lit, the dilemmas feel real and of our time and it's genuinely funny. This is a gorgeous book which will leave you feeling happy, it did me!