29 November 2010

Book Review: The One Before The One by Katy Regan

Caroline was pretty sure she had made the right decision when she ended her engagement, and comes out of the relationship she has been in since she was at school. She knows she has hurt her ex but realised that to be happy, she had to be free to do what she wants. However, Caroline's plans are scuppered when her 17 year old half sister Lexi turns up on her doorstep and announces that she has come to stay for the summer. Caroline doesn't know what to do with a 17 year old, and so tries her best to make it work with Lexi despite the upheaval in her own life. She knows she has to make some decisions about the direction of her life, and whether her on/off relationship with married lover Toby will last, whether she will ever find happiness with Mr Right despite her family's less than successful rate with relationships, and whether a 17 year old has anything to teach her about living?

This is Katy Regan's second book, and I was really excited to read it because I loved her first novel, One Thing Led to Another, a book based on Katy's own experience of having a baby with her best friend. This one has been delayed a couple of times, but finally has hit the shelves, and a great read it is too. I have to say I am really not a fan of the cover,  I don't think it's particularly attractive to look at or fresh and modern, but of course you're not supposed to judge a book by its cover are you?! Either way, I hoped the story inside would be as good as Regan's previous offering and sat down hoping to devour it, and luckily I did just that.

Caroline is our leading lady of the book, and I think she was a really well written character that I definitely warmed to as the book goes on. We join the book when she has left her fiance and that could actually make her quite dislikeable but it didn't for me, I could see her reasons for doing so were valid for her and therefore I couldn't feel too badly towards her! She's quite funny in her own way, always making lists of things that she has to do and never quite achieving them, running a phantom book club so she can meet her married lover for sex, and she isn't too keen on her much younger half sister landing on her doorstep for the summer, in tow with all the problems (and more) teenagers bring with them. I loved how Caroline deals with these things, and it makes her a very likeable character in my eyes.

The other main character we see in the book is Lexi, Caroline's sister. Regan really taps in the psyche of a 17 year old girl for the parts with Lexi in, and I feel she develops and explores the relationship between the two sisters very well indeed. I loved how the two weren't awfully close at the beginning of the book, mainly because there is a big age gap between the two and they didn't grow up together, but things become better for them as the book goes on and several things happen to bring them closer together. It was really nice to read actually, and made a real change for me. Another character we see a lot of is Caroline's married lover Toby. I disliked him from the start and think Caroline was a little blind about him  because as a reader I could see where it was all going and I wanted to be able to warn her off, but Regan does a pretty good job of sewing up that story nicely as the book goes on.

The pacing of the book was just right. Caroline clearly is in a bit of an emotional quandry when the book begins and lots of elements are explored for her in order to bring out her character and allow for good story development. I very much liked the new relationships that come about during the book, but Regan makes them quite loose so you just don't know if they are all going to end up okay when the book ends, but I did like that. There are quite a few dramatic bits throughout the book, mainly involving Lexi that I really liked reading about, they spiced up the book somewhat, and made it an interesting read and not just one about a girl on a crusade to change her life. The characters were all believable and likeable, I found it kept me wanting to read on because I really enjoyed what I was reading and didn't want to stop. I would definitely recommend this book as a great read that manages to be quite funny yet emotional at the same time, and with a great cast of characters that you want to keep reading about. Really enjoyable!

Rating: 4/5


  1. I found this book ok but felt it was lacking in something for me.

  2. I loved this book, the characters were really believable, it made me smile, a real page turner!