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Formulaic, but worth a read
on 30 April 2010
Katy Carter Wants a Hero was recommended by my well-read sister-in-law, who knows the author. I like word of mouth recommendations, which are generally more trustworthy than reviews from unknown sources, but I suspect that her liking for the author has affected her critical powers. Not, I hasten to add, that Katy Carter Wants a Hero is a bad book. No, it's a good book of its genre, which is light-hearted chick-lit for romantic twenty-somethings; it's just not really my cup of tea.
Katy Carter is a young teacher who dreams of becoming a writer and is engaged to a merchant banker. After a disastrous dinner party, designed to impress her fiancé's boss, Katy finds herself single again and homeless, so moves in with her old platonic friend, Ollie. After a health scare, she takes a sabbatical and moves to Cornwall to stay with her best friend, Maddy, to concentrate on writing her book.
Ruth Saberton neatly skewers the Mills & Boon style of romantic fiction through Katy Carter's appallingly badly-written attempts at writing her own book - all dashing highwaymen and heaving bosoms - but, somewhat ironically, then employs every cliché in the book to tell Katy's own story. So we have the boorish fiancé who treats Katy like a doormat, the loyal best friend, the gay friend, the vain soap star, the eccentric aunt and, of course, the male friend for whom Katy's feelings may not be entirely platonic...
I don't mind being able to work out the ending by the close of the first chapter - the fun is in the journey, not the familiarity of the destination - but it's a book that I would recommend only to lovers of the genre. I think what most disappointed me was that there were plenty of original ideas in the book, but they were rather over-shadowed by the formulaic plot devices and one-dimensional supporting characters. Ruth Saberton is a promising writer and it was ultimately worth the read, if only because my life is richer for having been introduced to Pinchy the lobster.