No, that’s admittedly true, but in the past I was a lot more likely to mix things up with my reading, before I stuck pretty much solely to crime fiction in all it’s various permutations. But one author who I always used to really enjoy was Carmen Reid – I loved her wit and feisty characters. It’s also fun sometimes reading something a bit lighter and less grim, as reading crime fiction all the time can be a bit much – hence the importance of the huge “cosy crime” subgenre. But hey, enough of crime for once!
So did you enjoy The Personal Shopper?
I did, for the reasons I mention above. Although it seemed very familiar, and I soon realised I’d read it before – this is a reissue of the first in the Annie Valentine series, which has been repackaged for a new generation of keen shoppers to discover and enjoy!
Tell us about Annie…
She’s a personal shopper (no spoilers there!) in the sort of posh London department store who employ such people, as well as being something of a property fixer upper. She’s also a single mum to two children, who she manages – by hook and occasional panicky crook – to keep in a private school which is slightly beyond her means.
So tell us about the children…
Well, her husband Roddie split from her three years previously, and she has typical teen dramas with 14-year-old Lana, who’s inherited her mum’s feisty character. Owen, who’s nine, is quieter and a sweet child. It being what’s (often unfairly, in my humble opinion, given the talent of many of the writers) dismissively called chick lit, the gap in her life is in the romantic area. But, as you’d expect, there’s a couple of possible candidates on the horizon…
Ooh! Spill the beans on them, then…
Well, when it comes to men in her life, her closest confidante is her GBF (gay best friend) Connor, who Sex And The City fans will know is a must-have for every female. My friend Paul’s been my best mate for 33 years, since we were out clubbing at 17! (And also on this subject, I’m currently adoring And Just Like That…, catching up with my favourite girl gang – well, three-quarters of them, as fans will know, as well as Carrie’s two GBFs!)
But romance! That’s what we’re here for, don’t you know?!
Sorry, I’m digressing…yes, there’s hope on the horizon, in the figure of Gray, an affluent dentist she meets at her mother’s retirement do. (Actually, a dentist boyfriend would save you a lot of money…)
And of course there’s another, less obvious candidate, in the form of her kid’s teacher, Ed. I think regular readers of this type of fiction can see where things go, but hey, it’s the journey, not the destination, and that’s definitely fun!
Anything else you’d mention…?
A varied and amusing supporting cast finish off the fun, from a bitchy boss, moaning customers, a selection of family members from the lovely to the awful, and (again!) Connor, as well as the kids. It makes the book well-rounded and (in my opinion) great entertainment. It might remind readers a little of the Shopaholic series, and anyone who likes expensive clothes will enjoy this – even if, like me, you can’t afford them. (Although I do have a Chloe bag, which my OH thinks is from River Island…there’s a good tip when it comes to a lot of straight men!)
Great light-hearted read I whizzed through, enjoying all the way!
With thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me on this Blog Tour, and Boldwood Books for the eARC. This is an unbiased review.
BLURB: Meet Annie Valentine: stylish, savvy, multi-tasker extraordinaire.
As a personal shopper in a swanky London fashion store, Annie can be relied on to solve everyone’s problems . . . except her own.
Although she’s a busy single mum to stroppy teen Lana and painfully shy Owen, there’s a gap in Annie’s wardrobe – sorry, life – for a new man. But finding the perfect partner is turning out to be so much trickier than finding the perfect pair of shoes.
Can she source a genuine classic? A life long investment? Will she end up with a mistake from the sale rail, who’ll have to be returned?
Or maybe, just maybe, there’ll be someone new in this season who could be the one . . .