Chicklit Club
 

CELIA HAYES

 

Don’t Marry Thomas Clark (2016)

 

Thomas Clark’s aristocratic grandfather has died and left him a hefty inheritance. However, it comes with a condition – that Thomas must marry Sandy, a girl who used to spend summers at their country estate otherwise the millions will go to charity instead. Sandy has lost her job and is trying to raise cash to set up a bistro with friends. So Thomas’ proposal - as unwelcome as it is – comes at a handy time. Only problem is the pair can’t stand the sight of each other. And so cues a delightful tussle between the pair, with each trying to make life as difficult as possible for the other as they are forced to cohabitate at his Canterbury estate. … Or so I thought. I loved the banter between Thomas and Sandy and was beginning to think I’d come across a hidden gem of a book, with a romantic coupling to rival the divorcing couple in The War of the Roses. But then after setting things up beautifully, the story – and the characters’ appeal – fell away in the second half, with the narrative jumping around rather awkwardly. The wedding, with Sandy’s pivotal decision, was a mere blip; their developing relationship wasn’t convincing (it had about as much depth as a hot tub snog between two frisky Big Brother contestants); and other characters, who could have added interest or tension, appeared then disappeared without having any impact (gardener Joe had such promise too!). There is an absolute cracker of a story here – it just needed more work to make it on to the page for readers to enjoy. 5/10

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