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Witty but Contrived
on 15 August 2010
Something Borrowed is the second novel in the Brenda and Effie series, following Never the Bride and succeeded by Conjugal Rites. Like its predecessor, the story is told in the first person by the main character, Brenda, but unlike it, this novel is related in the present tense, which I found rather off-putting, a literary game for which there was really no need. Like its predecessor, Something Borrowed tells of mysterious goings-on in the legend-haunted North Eastern coastal town of Whitby. This time, poison-pen letters are going around the town, sowing seeds of suspicion in their wake, something is haunting Brenda, and an old friend has returned from the grave. On top of this, Brenda has to cope with the return of someone from her past, and the sudden deluge of memories this brings. As is this weren't enough to cope with, the town is falling increasingly under the spell of an ancient Being from the dawn of time itself.
Whereas Never the Bride was a novel made up of several short stories, the plot of Something Borrowed feels more integrated. That said, I felt there was too much flashback to Brenda's earlier life, much of which reads like padding. Overall, a slight disappointment, but the finale, which leads into the third novel, promises much, and I shall be continuing with the series.