Hello Dear friends! So it's clearly been a while since my last post, but I've been hard at work, reading! I know, I can't fool you, reading is far from work for this girl! I hope that all this reading will result in a few more posts, fairly close together! Today I'm going to tell you about The Little Lady Agency, by Hester Browne, a non-scuzzy romantic comedy. This is the first book of Browne's that I have read, tho I do have my eye on a few of her other books for later. The Little Lady Agency is set in modern-day London (always a great back drop!), and centers on Melissa Romney-Jones, middle daughter of a no good Member of Parliament.
Melissa is an organized, intelligent, hard working women with three major problems: 1.She can't find a permanent job that she enjoys, which is bad because problem 2. is that she owes her father a large sum of money! 3. Is that she can't find the confidence she needs to be in a healthy relationship. At the start of the book Melissa is pining away forr an ex named Orlando. Orlando is the one who has gotten her into the financial crunch with her father. Melissa is sweet as the day is long, and a bit naive. But she loves doing anything and everything for her family and friends.
Temping is Melissa's current employment, and at the outset of the book, her job comes to an early end. But she rallies and while out with her flatmate Nelson and best friend Gabi, she runs into an old Charm School friend who is there on a date with someone much older than either of them. As they catch up, her old chum, Bobsey, convinces Melissa to go for an interview at the agency that she is working with. This turns out to be an unfortunate and confusing job interview. Melissa quickly realizes that this is not the career path for her, but it does get her thinking. What if she used her organization skills, and her love of helping others to make money? She could take sloppy guys and making them over into handsome, or at least socially acceptable men. But how is she going to have the confidence to get herself out there? Create an alternate ego, of course! With the help of a blonde wig and a slightly more sophisticated wardrobe, Honey Blennerhesket comes to life! Now Melissa is ready to take on the world...even the rich, handsome American man in her life!
So, now that you have a pretty good idea of the direction of the story, let me give you some of my thoughts about it! I found this book at a Goodwill while I was perusing one day. It was about a year ago, and yes, I did pick it for it's cover, thus pre-judging it as we are always told not to! I had it for quite a while before I started it, and to be honest, it took me about 4 months before I got all the way through it. I know, that sounds like it could be ominous for this review. But actually, I enjoyed the book. Hester Browne has that English wit that I enjoy so much. There were many times when I found myself audibly laughing at Melissa/Honey's antics. Browne makes very good use of her humor to create characters that you find believable and charming. Whether it is the likable flatmate, Nelson, or Melissa's dreadful father, MP Martin Romney-Jones, You will find yourself investing in these characters.
The book has depth and development, but is far from being a heavy read (ie: there are some real, personal problems to deal with, but nothing too dark and sinister). Her writing has intelligence and consistency that I think is vital to a good story. There were things that were a bit contrived, and predictable, but it's a fluffy rom-com, that's why we turn to them!
Now for the negative. For some reason, I found it very easy to walk away from this book. I have been trying very hard to put my finger on the reason, but still haven't come up with a decent reason. I will say there were times when I didn't quite know where Browne was headed with parts of the story. And not in a "ooo, this is suspenseful, so I have to keep the pages turning," kind of way. More of a "Uhhhhmmm, I don't get it. How will this impact the characters?" kind of way. So, while that was a bit of a distraction to me, (the girl who is always in search of the perfect book!) I don't think that it harmed the overall charm of the book. Like I said, Browne has a few more books out there that I am looking forward to reading.
I would give the Little Lady Agency a 3 and a half. It's a fun read, worth it, but go into it knowing it's not perfect.
Well, that's all for today. As I said, I'm going to try to get a couple more reviews up of books that I've been reading. It's tough job...but I Think I'm up for it! Till next time!