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3.6 out of 5 stars
3.6 out of 5 stars
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on 22 February 2010
I wasn't sure that this was the book for me, but it was a gift and so I gave it a try.

When I saw the prologue though I was a little worried. God on Mount Olympus overseeing the affairs of men. Was it cliché time?

"Life was getting tough for mother, otherwise known as Aphrodite, goddess of love. It was commonly thought that she was failing in her work and that love was being brought into disrepute. The inhabitants of Great Britain were of particular concern. The statistics were appalling, with one in three marriages ending in divorce and a growing number of children being brought up in single-parent families. so mother was freaking, blaming me, Eros, who quite frankly had enough to deal with, being just a kid and going through a difficult phase, not just because of the confusion over who my father was but also because of the rumours going around that I didn't actually exist, being a phenomenon, an idea, not a person at all."

No actually, it wasn't. The treatment felt fresh, with Aphrodite and son Eros caught up in the machinations of a family business dropping in and out of the story, observing and trying to steer events.

Rebecca Finch was the main cause of Aphrodite's problems. A romantic novelist who is having doubts about love - and when I met her soon to be ex boyfriend I understood why. I liked Rebecca, but she had an unfortunate tendency to say a little too much, to be a little too honest. And that had some rather unfortunate consequences.

So Aphrodite had to put things to rights. And she steered Rebecca towards a man she had crossed paths with years before. John Sterling. He wasn't an obvious romantic hero - a divorce lawyer, a divorced weekend father, a basically decent man who had made a few mistakes and probably needed a good friend to have a firm word and point him in the right direction. I did like him though.

Rebecca and John are both wonderfull believable, and their stories are told with warmth, wit and honesty. Along the way Marika Cobbold makes some wonderful observations about love, life and romantic fiction.

I have to say though that I could have done without Rebecca's reappearing childhood imaginary friend. Gods plus a great supporting cast were more than enough to fill out the story.

It was simple story, but well executed, and packed full of wonderful observations and striking moments.

And as a book it works very well
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on 28 September 2012
love a good charity shop as much as the next person, especially when they chuck out books like this for 50p! I was looking at the books squished into the shelves on my lunch break, not an activity completely unknown to me, it's pretty much the only place I buy books! I noticed this garish front cover which just screamed out "I was a free gift with a weekly magazine"

The saying "never judge a book by its cover" has never been more apt! I was embarrassed to be seen reading it, mainly due to it's cover but shortly after the first few pages it was due to my constant tittering and at times raucous laughing in public. The story contained within this tacky cover is so beautifully readable. It feels like a deliberate irony is at force, especially with the main protagonist; a romance novelist turning her back on love! Offending all of her loyal followers on the way!

A light and funny read, almost feeling like a holiday read with it's light and airy approach but it's far too addictive for that. It raises questions about the nature and the ways of love without the hopelessly soppy and unrealistic feel of a mills & boon novel. I learnt some Greek mythology along the way, with the deities point of view always a welcome and witty rest bite whilst still keeping the main story line going.

I can understand why it might not be to everybody's taste but if you want a palate refreshing sorbet of a read then you need look no further, it sets you up eager and ready to sink your teeth into the next meaty novel coming your way.

A funny, charming easy read to distract yourself from everything around you.
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on 13 April 2009
I have loved Marika Cobbold's work, ever since 'Guppies for Tea' and I've read everything she's written, 'Frozen Music' being my favourite, and her best novel, in my opinion. So I rushed to get hold of this one and started reading it with enormous pleasure. The opening was brilliant, especially the portrait of the awful boyfriend, Dominic, and the book has some wonderful moments and characters---John is excellent, with his marital problems and his obessessive compulsive disorder, Rebecca is a very engaging protagonist---a romantic novelist who's disillusioned by love (her disastrous interview was superbly done.) And there's no way I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone who enjoys the genre.

BUT---and it's quite a big but for me---I really didn't like the intervention of the Greek gods---for me, this premise didn't work, was unfunny and seemed to belong in a different novel entirely. Coco the clown was fine---he came out of the heroine's head and was part of her inner anxieties----but the gods esp. Aphrodite are 'deus ex machina' devices and for me, quite unnecessary. I can see why the author chose to put them in---but I still think it was a mistake. It gets in the way of the social comedy, the exploration of Rebecca's dilemma and the psychological depth.
But others will love it. It's a matter of personal taste!
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on 19 April 2009
Aphrodite's Workshop for Reluctant Lovers is the novel for you if you've just broken up with the love of your life, or celebrated 25 years plus of happy marriage, or just started a new relationship. The book's theme of love is a universal one and is treated with intelligence and respect while at the same time being a great read.

Rebecca Finch is an engaging and likeable heroine, a romance writer who no longer believes in love with a self destructive streak a mile wide that threatens to destabilise her life. I had a lot of sympathy for John Sterling and admired his open mindedness when meeting with his misnamed therapist Angie Bliss. I loved to hate Bliss, the clinical psychologist, treating both John and Rebecca; a ghastly, meddling character who behaves unprofessionally.

Life with Aphrodite and the Gods is like a modern day snapshot of life with the Walton's, cosy yet bizarre. Eros has a lot to answer for with his chaotic firing of arrows.

This is a wonderfully written, witty novel full of insight with a feel good factor that remains long after the book has been finished. I shall definitely be reading more novels by this author.
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on 12 March 2010
I am hooked by Marika's writing 'voice' and will now quite happily read anything she writes. This was a wondefully funny and thought-provoking exploration of the meaning of love, and the clown was the cherry on the cake for me - loved it!
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on 19 January 2009
As always Marika Cobbold has confected a story which makes you laugh and think at the same time. Tackling one of our greatest cultural preoccupations, she has her wicked and magical way in her cunning, clever and touching treatise on modern love.
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on 4 October 2011
This story of mortals on the path to finding their true love, with a helping (or not so helpful) hand from the gods on Mount Olympus, is a joy to read. Romantic novelist Rebecca Finch is losing her faith in love, which puts her career in jeopardy. This threatens to upset Aphrodite's position as a senior goddess, so she and her son, the bungling Eros, try to steer her in the right direction. This is a joyous romp with wonderfully quirky humour, but the fun and lightness of touch cannot detract from some seriously good writing. The Greek chorus provided by the hilariously dodgy gods, and the the darker interceptions by Coco the clown, Rebecca's childhood imaginary friend, help to give a multi-layered perception of Rebecca's character, thoughts and circumstances. The gods themselves have each been given wonderful comic characters, and they, and Coco, are very easy to believe in. The plot is elegant and very believable, despite the inclusion of gods, imaginary clown, etc. I now look forward to reading more books by Marika Cobbold.
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on 24 August 2013
Struggled a little at the beginning to get into this book. Not quite sure where it was going and what the links were between all the different characters. Nearly put it down a couple of times and gave up.......but persevere it gets so much better, really interesting characters develop and I started to care about them and the outcome.
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on 10 February 2009
Cobbold is always astute with her observations (Guppies for Tea and Shooting Butterflies were brilliant) and this time she turns her attentions to the thorny issue of love and finding The One. But fear not, this is no slushy Rom Com. It is a sharp, witty novel full of dark humour, thought provoking questions and some great characters. Aphrodite is particularly good, and while i thought i might be annoyed by Coco the imaginary clown, I actually loved him. He had me laughing out loud. A perfect antidote to all the doom and gloom around at the moment.
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on 27 January 2009
I love, love, loved this book. Curled up by the fire, I didn't move until I'd finished it. It's effortlessly clever and witty whilst being moving and full of such deep and interesting characters. Ms Cobbold truly is an artist with her words and humour, whilst her books are sumptuous and so easy to fall into. I can't wait to read the rest of her novels.
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