2 May 2009

Book Review: One Thing Led to Another by Katy Regan (CHLOE)

When Tess Jarvis and Jim Ashworth drunkenly sleep together neither of them expects that it will result in a baby.

But that's exactly what happens, and Tess is in complete shock over her unexpected pregnancy. Both Tess and Jim want to stay friends with no romantic involvement but don't like the confused looks people give them when they try to explain their situation.

Tess, with the help of her friends, has to try to come to terms with single parenthood, and has to do a little growing up of her own.

Rating: 5/5

Pregnancy is a very common theme in women's fiction these days - from IVF, to women getting pregnant on the sly and unplanned pregnancies. But One Thing Led To Another has a different slant on the issue, and perhaps one which sits well in our modern times as well - a baby with a best friend after a suprise 'union' shall we say! This book is actually based loosely on author Katy Regan's personal experience of having a baby with her own best friend, and the relationship that followed. The book really benefits from her experience with brilliant writing, real emotion and realistic characters all the way through.

The book starts at the beginning of Tess' pregnancy, although she doesn't actually know it yet! She's an instantly likeable character, stuck in a bit of a rubbish job as journalist on a magazine covering the 'real life' sob stories, sharing a house with best mate Gina and occasionally getting together with other best friend Jim Ashworth, who is unknowingly about to become the daddy to Tess' child. The discovery of her pregnancy is done with real humour, and actually made me laugh out loud which was a great start! From there on, the laughs kept coming and Regan's easy writing style really allows the reader to get into the story, and makes the book impossible to put down!

The story's very believable and this is what allowed me to get so into this book, without a doubt. I really enjoyed Jim's reaction, and I was pleased that Regan chose to write Jim as she did as he is a lovely character, and the on-going and changing relationship between Jim and Tess was really fascinating to read. The twists and turns along the way kept the momentum going and stopped the book from getting at all boring, instead keeping the reader engaged. It wasn't easy to see how it would work out for Tess and Jim, and Regan certainly didn't make it a smooth ride, leaving you guessing almost up until the final pages about how it would all end. But the most enjoyable thing about the book is the realistic insight into pregnancy, and having a baby with a friend. Regan really goes into Tess' emotions and so the book has such a believability to it, there are points where you feel you could be reading Regan's own life story. It really is inspiring, as well as being funny and poignant.

The pace of the book was just right, and it seemed to move through Tess' pregnancy at a good pace, and luckily without too many characters. So many novels are ruined, I believe, through having too many characters but Regan keeps it to just Tess, Jim, their friends Vicky and Gina, and Tess' family. Others get a mention but aren't too vital to the plot and just work well as minor characters. Also, the book is written in the first person and allows you to get to the heart of Tess, almost living her pregnancy, hormones and emotions with her because of the emotive and compelling writing style. The narrative is really enjoyable; you can tell Regan has a background in journalism (she wrote a column based on her own pregnancy for Marie Claire) because her writing just flows, and reads so well.

This is women's fiction at its best, and I would expect this book to be a real hit with lovers of the genre. It takes a somewhat overdone subject and puts a new spin on it, injecting a little humour and plenty of emotion into the mix just to make it that bit more appealing to the reader. Add in loveable characters, a wonderful heroine and you have a real recipe for success. For a debut novel, this is really brilliant and I really hope Regan goes on to write more in this genre - Regan and the Women's fiction genre are a match made in heaven! Definitely recommended - light-hearted, funny and a great unputdownable read!

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