20 June 2015
Book Review: The Vintage Guide to Love and Romance by Kirsty Greenwood
Things aren't going well for Matilda Beam, either. Her 1950s Good Woman guide books are out of print, her mortgage repayments are staggering and her granddaughter wears neon Wonderbras!
When a lifeline from a London publisher arrives, the pair have an opportunity to secure the roof over their heads – by invigorating the Good Woman guides and transforming modern, rebellious Jess into a demure vintage lady.
The true test of their make-over will be to capture the heart of notorious London playboy Leo Frost and prove that Matilda’s guides still work. It's going to take commitment, nerves of steel and one seriously pointy bra to pull this off..."
You can buy The Vintage Guide to Love and Romance as a paperback or an eBook now.
After reading and thoroughly enjoying Kirsty Greenwood's debut novel Yours Truly a few years back, I was thrilled to receive a review copy of her brand new book The Vintage Guide to Love and Romance, which I have since learnt is the first book in a new series - even better if you ask me, I do love a good book series. I went into this one not really knowing much about it or what to expect, and while I was surprised at the story, I thoroughly enjoyed it from beginning to end, and I'm looking forward to the next one in the series.
The leading lady of this book was a surprise to me. Jess wasn't at all what I had expected, although I can't exactly tell you why or what I was expecting! I suppose I thought she would be quiet, embracing of the vintage lifestyle but she certainly wasn't that. Jess was loud, liked drinking and swearing, and was quite rude in places. I didn't warm to her initially, finding her a bit brash for my liking, but as the book went on and she formed a bond with her grandmother Matilda and her assistant, I found her more likeable, and started to warm to her more.
The idea of this story was really interesting, and I enjoyed the read. The idea of Jess having to change her complete lifestyle was good, as she didn't seem to be particularly successful in her old life, especially since her so-called best friend just dumped her and left her without a thing - not exactly a balanced friendship at the best of times. I really liked the thought process behind the change too - not making it unnecessary but instead tying it in with her grandmother Matilda's old guides she wrote many years ago - despite the fact Jess thinks they are outdated and never in a million years going to work in the modern day.
Part of Jess' goals is to score a date with Leo, a rather well to do type that Jess thinks will never be fooled by her posh outfits, hairdo's and old-style demeanour. I really liked Leo, despite the fact he certainly isn't painted in a good light at first. However, I thought there was more to him, and wanted Jess to give him a bit of a break and find out what was behind the cocky facade. The sweet blossoming friendship between Jess and Peach, Matilda's young American assistant was lovely too, I really enjoyed reading these parts of the book, especially how Jess encouraged Peach to gain some confidence, and make her open up somewhat. I think she certainly softened a brash Jess as well which was a good thing!
While at times I did cringe a bit at the crudeness as I read, I thoroughly enjoyed the story, and was keen to get to the end to find out if Jess would indeed be a changed woman thanks to her grandmother's 1950's advice and whether she could through Leo's outer to find the soft inside I am sure was there. The writing was very good, it kept the pace moving and there were certainly a good few laughs along the way as well. Matilda was such a darling, desperate to keep her home against the odds and I hoped that she and Jess could find happiness with each other, and make a more positive life for themselves. The book left me with a big smile on my face, and I'm definitely looking forward to the next book in the series!