Chicklit Club



The Summer We Danced (2016)


When her rock star husband leaves her for a younger model, Pippa goes back to live in her childhood home in Kent. After months spent inside mourning her marriage, Pippa decides to get back into the world by attending tap dancing classes at her old dance school with the now 80-year-old Miss Mimi. Soon, Pippa finds herself busy trying to save the school from failure and trying to deal with her feelings for her teenage crush, Tom. It's a romantic, moving and enjoyable novel, but what I loved most was the character of Pippa. She was strong and never gave up on what or who she wants. (NP)


The Doris Day Vintage Film Club (2015)


Claire Bixby’s love life is far from enviable and since the break-up of her marriage she’s steered well clear of the opposite sex, instead finding solace and companionship as president of the Doris Day Film Club. Her assessment of men seems justified when her downstairs neighbour, Dominic Arden, takes up residence again and shows a complete disregard for Claire; blasting out his music into the early hours, leaving his bike for Claire to fall over and ‘borrowing’ her milk. But whilst Claire enters into a war of words with the elusive Dominic, she may have just met a man who will make her rethink her whole approach to dating. But Nick seems a bit too good to be true.
Going into the novel I had no familiarity with Doris Day so I hasten to say that some of the references/context may have been lost on me but this didn’t spoil my enjoyment at all. Nor is this really a novel about the club and its members per se, rather that takes more of a backdrop, and I liked this approach.
The central relationship is great, and the author does a fantastic job with the male protagonist especially, getting inside his head and showing his struggle to understand women and romance. The plot becomes a bit circular and repetitive, and despite the grand gesture at the end there was a sense in which Claire’s about-face was a bit sudden. However, on the whole this is pure, unadulterated chick lit, with a bit of vintage Hollywood thrown in. (JC)


The Little Shop of Hopes and Dreams (2014)


Nicole Harrison is drunk when she meets wedding photographer Alex Black on New Year's Eve. They exchange a sizzling kiss, he gives her his mobile number and later on she decides not to let it go any further. She has just set up a business as a wedding proposal arranger with the backing of two good friends and she does not want the distraction of a new romance. The business offers various packages, the prices escalating for the very fancy proposals, which is an area she wants to develop.
So she is delighted when a celebrity called Saffron enters the premises of Hopes and Dreams Proposal Planning Agency and hires her to arrange a spectacular wedding proposal for her boyfriend, to take place on Christmas Eve. Little does she know the problems and heartache ahead of her as she plans to visit Saffron's boyfriend and surreptitiously find out about his hopes and dreams when she engages in conversation with him at an exhibition of photographs.
Fiona Harper has written a heart-warming novel with romance at its very heart. She has created likeable characters and a really good story. I loved the character of Nicole: she was loyal and hard working, determined to prove herself to her family and friends by building a business based on making wedding proposals unique and memorable.(JH)


Make My Wish Come True (2013)


Juliet and Gemma are sisters who couldn't be more different from one another. Juliet is completely focused on her children after her divorce two years ago; she wants them to have the perfect Christmas and with the help of her organisational skills and little book filled with lists, she is determined to have everything done before Christmas Eve. Gemma is happily single, devoted to her glamorous job and can't wait to spend the end of December somewhere sunny and far away from home and her family.
Several days before Christmas, Juliet suddenly loses it when Gemma disappoints her once again, and the two sisters decide to swap lives in order to discover whether the grass really is greener on the other side: Juliet will go on a sunny holiday while Gemma will celebrate a family Christmas in England. Will the switch really help Gemma and Juliet's bond as sisters or will it turn out to be a disastrous Christmas for both of them?
At the centre of the novel there are two great main female characters, whose storylines I both loved. They are really different women who are both taken out of their comfort zone, which made it even more interesting to see the development of their relationship as sisters and as individuals.
The contrast between spending a Christmas at home in rainy England together with four kids and a bunch of neighbours (including the handsome Will), or alone under a parasol on a white beach in the Caribbean sun (with a hunky Latin man in the cabin next door), was great to read about and I thoroughly enjoyed the festive element of this book. Published by Mills & Boon, I am convinced that any lover of chick lit novels will enjoy this book. It is a wonderful, captivating, well-written novel with a good dose of Christmas sparkle at its core. (JoH)

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