27 August 2015
Book Review: A Good Catch by Fern Britton
Greer Clovelly seems to have it all, beautiful, chic and slender, she’s used to getting her own way. Greer has been in love with Jesse Behenna since her first day at school and she’s determined that one day, they’ll be married. After all, a marriage between them would join together two dynasties of Cornish fishing families to make one prosperous one.
For her friend, Loveday Carter – plump, freckled and unpretentious – living in the shadow of her friend has become a way of life. She loves Jesse too, but knows that what Greer wants, she usually gets.
Jesse, caught in the middle, faces an agonising choice. Should he follow his heart or bow to his father’s wishes? And what about his best friend Mickey, who worships the ground that Loveday walks on?
Jesse’s decision will touch them all in ways that they could never foresee, and as the dark clouds start to gather the four friends find themselves weathering a storm – one that has the power to sink them all…"
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I'm not a big fan of celebrities turning to writing books, making out it is easy and using a ghostwriter. However, I do have time for those who buck the trend and write their own material, and the fact this is Fern Britton's sixth fictional novel (not including her eBook short stories!), shows she certainly has a loyal readership out there, and I can see why. I have read some of Fern's previous books but for me, this has to be her best yet. I completely lost myself in the story, of Greer and Jesse's marriage, and I know it is going to be a book I am going to want to re-read. It was brilliant, and here's why you should read it.
What I liked about this book was the simplicity of the story. It really just follows four characters all the way through the book, their family members making sporadic appearances, but this all comes down to four people - Greer, her husband Jesse, her best friend Loveday and their best friend Mickey. What I liked about Britton's writing of this book was how the story tells the tale of the romances, from the beginning right up until the present day, where the book begins with a prologue that leaves you wondering what has happened.
We see how Greer's future is mapped out for her by her well-to-do parents, determined to marry her off to Jesse Behenna, son of the local Cornish fishing family in order to keep both of the businesses afloat. Green has burnt a candle for Jesse for years, but he isn't sure those feelings can be reciprocated - he is rather sweet for the louder, brasher, curvier Loveday, but can't bring himself to admit it, and go against the family wishes. This sets the book up for the story of the marriage of Greer and Jesse, and whether or not they can make it work between them.
The characters of this book were wonderfully written, believable as people, and I truly lost myself in the story of their lives, from when they are young teenagers leaving school, to when they are fully grown adults making much tougher decisions about their lives. Greer was probably the least likeable of the bunch, a bit stuck-up, sure of herself and quite mean to her best friend if I'm honest. Loveday, on the other hand, was the life and soul of their friendship, happy to squeeze her rather ample curves into the tightest of tops and skirts, brimming with confidence - you can see why both Mickey and Jesse were taken with her! But she was written as such a genuine, kind-hearted person, the complete antithesis of Greer - I often wondered why Loveday wanted to be friends with such a person.
The men, too, were just as important to this book. I felt quite sorry for Jesse, being pushed into a marriage he didn't really want for the sake of the business. He was a hard worker, keen to provide for his family, and his friendship with Mickey was lovely to read, a proper best friendship, there for each other through everything. As well as these great characters, it was the setting of the book that made it so readable for me. It's set in the fishing village of Trevay in Cornwall, and Britton makes it sound so utterly picturesque, it makes me want to jump in the car and go down there now! Britton perfectly describes everything about the village, from the run-down pub to the fish market, to the boats bobbing up and down on the shore. You can see why it was so easy for me to lose myself in this book, picturing myself strolling along with Greer, when I was lying in the darkness in my bedroom!
As I have already said, but want to say again, this is definitely Fern's best book to date. I fell in love with everything about it, and certainly didn't want their tale to end. There are some heart-breaking moments in the book, handled delicately by Fern, and they certainly gave new dimensions to the characters, facing adult situations they've never had to before. It was the passage of time in this book that I loved, seeing four characters I loved truly grow up in front of my eyes, Britton capturing every important moment of their lives with her words. It's a story of love, regrets, loss and hope, all wrapped up in the beautiful package that is Trevay, leaving you bereft once their tale had finished. A superb summer read, I can't recommend it enough!