12 August 2009
Book Review: Could It Be Magic? by Melanie Rose
As she settles into the life of Lauren, Jessica starts finding out things about Lauren that she doesn't like, things that might tear her new family apart. Will she be able to keep up with living 2 lives, or is she going to ruin both without meaning to? Can Jessica convince anyone of her dilemma, or is the magic just for her?
Melanie Rose first published this book in 2005 under the title of 'Being Lauren' with a small independent publisher. It was so popular that Radio 4 listeners voted it one of their favourite reads. The book was then snapped up by publishers HarperCollins and re-released under the title of Could It Be Magic? in April this year, and has been a hit since. Melanie has already got her second book up on Amazon with the title of Coming Home, and judging by how much I loved this I shall be looking out for this!
When I first started reading this book, I got strong hints of Sophie Kinsella's book Remember Me? because of the idea of memory loss and having to adapt to a life totally different to what you expected. However, as the story went on, it took another path and went off in another direction which I wasn't expecting. It's not like anything else I've ever read, I would love to know where the author got the idea from because it's great and there are some shocking twists and turns along the way which left me totally surprised and hooked on reading more because I couldn't put it down!
I loved the character of Jessica straight away. The book begins just before the lightning strike so we aren't given all that much time to understand her or her life, but because of this, the author allows her life to develop throughout the book as both Jessica and Lauren, and its so interesting to see how the character adaps and changes as per whose body she is in. There is no worry about finding it hard to keep up with whose story you follow because it's blatantly clear, and the change from Lauren to Jessica and vice-versa is made crystal clear by the author. It's a strange one because although the narrator remains the same, the story changes frequently but its so fun to read, I loved it!
As there are really 2 stories, there are quite a few characters but again Rose has made them all so different you don't worry about keeping up at all. Jessica's "man" Dan is so lovely, just the kind of man you'd like to meet! Grant, Lauren's husband, on the other hand is horrible and it is brilliant reading the dynamic between he and Jessica (when she is Lauren of course). Lauren's 4 children are so well written as well, and Rose covers an important issue within this which I think is so well done, with real understanding of the problem and how it is dealt with. I was impressed with this, and felt that the author has really done her research and covered an difficult illness with tact and sincerity.
I found this book is extremely readable, and I struggled to put it down of an evening because I wanted to find out what was going to happen to Jessica/Lauren next! As I said before, there were some shocking bits throughout the book that I didn't expect at all, and for me they just made the book even better. The quality of writing here is so high, and I can see why HarperCollins snapped this author up when they read this outstanding debut. I loved every page, it is such an original idea and is a fabulous read. Highly recommend - chick lit at its best!