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3.8 out of 5 stars
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 29 February 2016
A light, entertaining novel about crimes in the art world (particularly in how they affect the former Yugoslavia), unlikely friendships and running. Fleur Bonner has lost her perfect job at a New York gallery and come home to London, to work for a pretentious art and antiques dealer and try to sort her life out. A chance meeting with a neighbour leads to her joining a small group of 'Battersea Park runners' keen to run in the London marathon. This motley crew - Ben, the kindly leader, Peter, a very short but very clever barrister, Roz, a kindly registrar looking for love, and Alice, a housewife with a wicked husband - soon find themselves becoming close friends. Which is just as well, because after Fleur's corrupt boss Brinley ends up involving her in a dodgy deal involving an icon, which needs to be delivered in person to a mysterious Serbian in Belgrade, and a fire at Brinley's warehouse follows, Fleur is had up on a charge of at least arson, possibly more. But her friends are determined that she will not go under, and hatch a clever scheme to save her - with the help of Fleur's rock star father.

I bought this book purely because I read an interview with Lucy Hawking and thought she sounded an enormously nice person. It's not in the least profound (as Hawking herself would admit) and some of the plot twists are frankly quite silly - but one can't be reading psychologically intense literature all the time, and as light, witty fiction, this is pretty good. Hawking, for one thing, writes much better English than most popular fiction writers. And while her plot may have silly elements, it's also quite clever, getting in some interesting information of art thefts and war crimes in the former Yugoslavia (where I believe she once worked as a journalist) and on the super-rich (the Russian oligarch Gregor is a particular delight). The group of runners are a loveable crowd (though Roz's relentless cheer and Need For A Man got a bit tiresome on occasion, and I'm not sure how Alice's problems were sorted out so fast), and the court scenes are excellent. The story of Lucy and her dad was rather touching too. After a busy day at work, a couple of hours reading about Fleur's adventures was just what I needed. Very amusing popular fiction. Now I hope at some stage Hawking will have the confidence to write a more serious novel about the former Yugoslavia - I think she certainly could do this very well.
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on 25 January 2006
When a friend of mine gave me this book and said I would enjoy it, I wasn't so sure. Usually I read thrillers, not books with quite girly covers. But I was surprised and pleased by how gripping the plot line was. It is a light read and it's definitely not Andy McNab. But as well as love, London life and
marathon running, there is a serious and very up to the minute plot line about war in the Balkans, tracking wanted criminals by very unusual means and the devious methods of the CIA. If you're a man, don't be put off by the cover. Well worth a look.
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on 16 February 2007
I came across this by chance and remembered enjoying "Jaded" a few years ago. This is different, a smoother read, with the raw vitality of Jaded but in a more digestible form. It's not Shakespere, but it deifinately has layers; it examines the bizarre friendships that are waiting around every corner if we just reach out for them as well as the possibilities that lie within us if we are prepared to risk everything.

Just like Jaded included interesting commentary on corruption in The City and the charity sector while pretending to be chicklit, under the silly lippy, TAM reveals some seriously sordid facts abut the fine art busines and makes us ask questions on international community policy in ex-Yugoslavia, such as why Croats, Kosovo Albanians etc can all be allowed independence yet not Bosnian Serbs?

This is a very impressive book and it deserves to sell far more than it has; I fear that Ms Hawking may be making a commercial mistake in putting too much frothy cream on the pudding - burying her talent as an investigative journalist. I know from reading the background in articles about her famous father that she worked in New York and all over eastern Europe as a journalist in the aftermath of the cold war, so she has plenty to say, as well as the talent with which to say it.
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on 9 April 2006
I enjoyed this book, although as chick lit goes Lucy Hawking is not yet in the league of Marian Keyes and Jane Green. The book has good characters and a good basic storyline although occasionally goes too far into the land of the far-fetched. A good light summer read though!
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on 2 March 2006
I thoroughly enjoyed Ms. Hawking's second book. I always find it difficult to read books that have characters that are similar to me and my life (30-something urban professional) -- unless they are funny or have a bit of a twist. The Accidental Marathon is both amusing and has some excellent twists and turns, plus mad Balkans to boot.
I highly recommend this to anyone.
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on 27 February 2006
curl up with this book. A great way to escape from the stress of everyday life, have a laugh and maybe learn a little bit about the Balkans.
It's definitely chick lit, but without the sex and only a smidgin of romance. My sister, who never reads novels of any kind, was driven by boredom on a long train journey to borrow my copy, and thorougly enjoyed it, which is probably the best compliment I could give this book.
A page-turner, a laugh-out loud read, with a bit of foreign exoticism (albeit in Belgrade)...
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on 2 December 2011
I read a lot of chick lit books, I ordered this as it looked good, the book was ok but it was not a page turner
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on 20 November 2008
This book was a waste of time. It is written childishly and has a very very WEAK storyline. It was not entertaining and the only reason why I finished the book is because I was in a situation wher eI had nothing else to read.

I do not recommend this read.
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