21 June 2009

Book Review: A Spring Affair by Milly Johnson

Elouise 'Lou' Winter is married to second hand car dealer Phil, but their marriage is far from happy. Lou knows Phil has been unfaithful, but he uses it to his own advantage, keeping Lou under his thumb.

But when Lou spots an article in a magazine about clearing out clutter, she has no idea just how far how cleaning obsession is going to reach. Not to mention the small crush she has on the man who brings her skips Tom Broom, Lou is heading for a big lifestyle change, but is she ready to take on everything that comes with it?

Will Lou find her happy-ever-after or is Phil Winter just too much in control for her to break free?

It did sound slightly different to the other books that Milly Johnson had written, but to be honest that made me look forward to it even more - something different but from an author I trusted to write something brilliant once more. Johnson really chooses to focus on the relationships between people in her books, and the changes these go through as people change in life, and perhaps that is what makes her books so readable and appealing to her audience. Johnson writes in such a way that you are drawn into the story from almost the first page and as I said, I really struggled to put this down because I was desperate to find out what was going to happen to poor old Lou next.

Speaking of characters, Johnson always manages to write characters that I love reading about. For a little while into the book, I do admit that I wasn't too fond of Lou. She seemed a bit weak and too submissive for my liking and I wasn't sure how it was going to go because of this. I wanted her to stand up to her horrid husband yet she let him bully her and I really didn't like that. However, things develop as the book continues and I really began to like Lou a lot more, and felt for her dilemmas. She is a strong person at work yet at home is different and the way she almost discovers herself is touching and extremely well tackled. Her husband Phil is a complete creep, I hated him with a passion but I guess that was the point of him! I hate that men like him somehow manage to be irresistible to certain women, but he did make a good "baddie" and was sat well with Lou.

The other characters were also very well written, as I have come to expect from Milly Johnson. Lou's friend Michelle was diabolical, and I am sure everyone knows someone as self-centred as her, much as we loathe to admit it! Lou's work colleagues, especially Karen, were great characters and I would have loved to have seen more of her because I felt her and Lou had a great friendship that was such a good contrast to the other less genuine ones in the book. Finally, Tom Broome was the last male character in the book, and I was praying for a certain ending between two characters in this book! Tom was lovely and I really liked him, mainly because he was the opposite of horrid Phil!

What I also really enjoyed about the book was the descriptive writing throughout, and how it brought to life Lou and her world. Johnson chooses to write in the third person, what I call "proper story telling" and this lends itself to a really descriptive and enjoyable novel. You can imagine in your mind little Lou sitting there shifting the junk from her cupboards, surrounded by loads of black bags and then throwing them into her huge skip, and for me things like just brough the whole thing alive for me. I could imagine her standing talking to Tom, vile Phil coming home for his curry and Lou at work with Karen, just fabulously written, I do love visualising a story as I read and this was a great one for just that. Johnson's writing style is easy to read, no complicated language, just good old fashioned story telling and that is what makes me love her books even more.

As with all chick lit, the ending of the story is a tad predictable, you can almost tell how things are going to end up but that doesn't take anything away from the fantastic story that is wonderfully weaved by the author. Great characters, a lovely, touching and quite realistic story and a great writing style all combine to create more fictional magic that will delight not only fans of Johnson's earlier books but will certainly bring even more fans to her books. I just cannot complement this book enough, it was an utterly charming tale of finding yourself despite bad circumstances, and of what can happen when you decide to declutter your life. Johnson writes from the heart and with such feeling that you are going along with Lou with every emotion she's going through. Really superb, definitely recommended and a must-read from me!

Rating: 5/5

1 comment:

  1. Having never read anything by this author wasn't sure what to expect!! But..... I just loved this book, chick lit at it's best. A great summer read that kept me smiling long after i'd read the last page.