There seem to be quite a few books about dieting and food around these days, it's certainly a hot topic in the world of chick lit, so you can't really get away from it... after all, a lot of women seem to be on diets at the moment, at least amongst my friends anyway! When I received a copy of Alison Sherlock's debut novel The Desperate Bride's Diet Club for review, I was curious to see whether it'd be the same as all the other books out there or if it would offer something different. I really liked the cover of it, with lovely simple pink and white making it very pretty to look at, and I think the publishers have aimed this one at the right market with the cover. So would it be a book to sit and devour, or just nibble at every now and then?!
The book is the story of a group of people (not just women!) who want to lose weight for a variety of reasons. There's Violet, the main character of the book and the desperate bride from the title of the book. She's getting married to Sebastian soon, even though she can't believe he'd ever be interested in her, and really wants to lose weight and so joins a slimming club. However, Trudie the instructor is like something from a nightmare, and she quickly makes friends with the other attendees and start their own club. There's Maggie, a housewife stuck in a rut, her daughter Lucy who wants to be able to wear the latest trends but can't fit into them, Kathy, a lonely lady who is still dealing with her own grief, and Edward who needs to lose weight for his health because it has dire consequences on his life. Will the new friends be able to work together to lose weight once and for all? Will the desperate bride fit into the dress of her dreams?!
I have to be honest in my reviews, and so I will say that at first, I really couldn't get into this book very much and I had concerns that it wasn't going to go anywhere because it seemed very formulaic. However, I decided to persevere with it and I am so glad that I did. It went from being a book about a bride wanting to lose weight to much more than that, about confidence, about love and about being a strong willed person, and I loved it for that. I really loved Violet, you can see she comfort eats because she just doesn't know how to deal with her weight, and consequently her confidence was at rock bottom, and was desperate to hold to Sebastian at any cost which I found quite sad. The other characters were brought in slowly, and their own stories were revealed, and it really added something else to the book because these characters have various reasons for wanting to lose weight, and I'm sure a lot of readers will be able to identify with one of them in some way.
I liked how the relationship of the characters changed throughout the book as they became closer, and Violet's wedding grew nearer too. My favourite scenes were those at Violet's new job, with her funny colleagues and lovely Italian boss Mark. It really showed how something so simple as getting a job and getting out of the house can make a difference to a person, and I loved how Sherlock didn't make it happen overnight, it was a slow progression but Violet did start to come out of herself bit by bit. Some of the scenes with food were really amusing, but at the same time quite sad and I felt very sorry for Violet. By the end of the book, I was hooked and really didn't want it to end, but at the same time hoping Violet would wake up a bit and smell the roses as it were, and get what she really deserved in life - happiness.
Overall, this is a lovely debut novel from Alison Sherlock, and it certainly makes me want to look out for more of her books in the future. I enjoyed the journey that all of these characters went on, all for their own personal reasons, and it really worked for that reason. Each of the characters were their own person, and although they seemed to lose weight quite easily for some, I couldn't help but feel pleased for them when they lost their weight! Lucy was a character I really identified with, yet I could sympathise with the others too, and felt Edward's story of ill health due to his weight was a hard hitting one but an all too familiar tale these days. I'd recommend giving The Desperate Bride's Diet Club a read - it's a lovely and well written novel, and I enjoyed how the narrative followed different people to keep it fresh and keep you in the loop with all the characters. It's nothing hugely new but it is an enjoyable read, and so recommended by me.
You can buy The Desperate Bride's Diet Club as a paperback or an eBook now.