"It's Fran's thirtieth birthday and things are good . . .
She's bluffed her way into a Very Posh Job and her outlandishly handsome and
talented boyfriend Michael is escorting her to the Ritz with a bulge the shape
of a ring box in his pocket.
But something has gone wrong. Very wrong. By the end of the evening Fran is
howling in bed with a bottle of cheap brandy and one of Michael's old socks.
In her quest to figure out why her life has suddenly gone down the pan, Fran
comes up with a failsafe plan: live like a badger, stalk a stranger called
Nellie and cancel her beloved Gin Thursdays in favour of drinking gin every
night. But then Fran's friends force a very different plan on her and it's
nowhere near as fun. How could eight dates possibly make her feel better?
But eventually she agrees. And so begins the greatest love story of all time
. . ."
Lucy Robinson's debut novel is one I've been looking forward to for a while now, so when I received a review copy through the post, I eagerly got stuck in. I was surprised to see that the cover has been changed from the lovely blue that was originally mooted to a more bland beige cover that frankly doesn't do any justice to the funny and fabulous story inside, but still, don't judge a book by its cover as the old saying goes, and I am glad that I didn't. It's a fun and heartfelt look at what happens when the love of your life leaves you without you expecting it, and I really did enjoy every page.
The book is the story of Fran, who is devastated when her boyfriend Michael tells her that they need to take a break on the very night Fran is expecting a romantic proposal from him. She decides to hibernate in her bed until her friends come over and make her get up, get back to work and start dating again, very much against her will. Her best friend Stefania decides she has to date a few men before making a decision about ex-boyfriend Michael when they next meet again a few months down the line but Fran isn't sure. She's also got problems with her alcoholic mother, problems at work and a huge lack of self-confidence - will Fran decide it's better the devil you know than better the devil you don't, or is her greatest love story waiting around the corner?
I really enjoyed the book from the very beginning and found it easy to get into. The main character Fran was really likeable, you could feel her pain at suddenly being dumped and not knowing why, and I certainly understood her reluctance to get back on the dating scene. She was really just a nice girl with a broken heart and is the perfect heroine, even if at the end she is a little bit naive when anyone who reads it will see who she is meant to be with! One of the other main female characters, Stefania, Fran's foreign neighbour is hilarious and I loved the way Robinson writes her words exactly how she says them, accent and all!
The male characters in the book are interesting too, from her best friend and camera man Dave, to ex-boyfriend Michael who I thought was pretty horrible from the start! There's something lovely about Dave where I loved every scene he was in, and overall, the cast of characters was fantastic, and provided a lot of different stories for the book to get into, and they were all really believable as friends, which makes the book so much easier to read overall! The book is set in London, and I think Robinson writes it very realistically, and it was a nice setting for a book, especially since it's partially set in important London television studios, and I felt those parts of the book felt really realistic as I was reading.
There is quite a bit of swearing throughout the book which I wasn't keen on and found it unnecessary but that's just my personal preference. I don't think it added anything to the book, perhaps exacerbated Fran's anger but I prefer books without that. However, this wasn't enough to spoil my enjoyment of the book and I found it to be an easy and fun read overall. I loved Fran, and by the end, I'm sure you'll have strong feelings like I did about who you want Fran to end up with! I found the flashback scenes into Fran and Michael's old relationship really interesting and a good addition into the story, and found Robinson's writing style really easy to read and I sped through the book at a speed. I'd highly recommend this book, it's an easy and fun read that'll keep you turning the pages to see who Fran will end up with! A great book!
You can buy The Greatest Love Story of All Time as a paperback or an eBook now.