17 March 2011

Book Review: New Beginnings by Fern Britton

Christie Lynch hasn't had it easy. Her husband Nick suddenly died, and Christie has been left bringing up their two children on her own, as well as the debts her husband left her with and the big house that needs a lot of work doing to it. So when Christie is offered the chance to appear on hit TV show "Tart Talk", she takes it and quickly becomes a huge success. She then finds herself given the job of replacing the queen of Daytime TV Gilly when she goes on maternity leave, although not without a fight. Christie soon finds herself struggling with the confines of fame, especially with her children Libby and Fred finding it hard too, never mind the fact Christie is finding herself becoming attracted to single neighbour Richard. Will Christie be able to juggle her responsibilities at work and at home, as well as find out what her agent Julia Keen is up to AND make everyone happy all at the same time? Will it a new beginning or a bad ending for Christie?

Fern Britton is of course best known as a TV presenter on shows such as This Morning, but now she has turned her hand to writing books as well as her TV career. Reception to celebrity written books has been quite mixed from the awful (Penny Smith) to the pretty good (Coleen Nolan, Sharon Osbourne) so I wasn't sure exactly which camp Fern's book was going to slot into. I do like Fern on telly, she is quite easy to relate to so I hoped that would come across in her book, and be an easy read for anyone who picks it up. I wasn't overly inspired by the cover, it looks quite generic and doesn't stand out as anything new at all which was a shame, as I felt they could have done something quite different with this.

When I first read that the story was about a fictional TV presenter, I was actually disappointed. I couldn't understand why she couldn't have chosen something a bit different to do, and perhaps did something totally different, but no, Britton has gone with what she knows best, as Coleen Nolan has done in her past 2 books. I guess they do have the experience to write about it realistically but if we all wrote just about the things we've done then we'd soon run out of things to write about! However, instead of a daytime show Fern firstly writes about the appallingly named Tart Talk (whoever approved that was seriously wrong) then onto another news shows. As well as exploring Christie's career, we see her working out what super-agent Julia Keen is up to (although to the reader its quite clear from the start) and sorting out her new relationship with neighbour Richard.

Christie is a likeable enough character, although she seems a little too keen to please everyone all of the time if you ask me. She's widowed after the sudden death of her husband Nick, and struggling to make ends meet with the children, the delapidated old house she bought and also trying to juggle her career too. I think a lot of women will be able to relate to Christie (whether you're a widow or not), managing the house on her own, relying on the support of her great family (I loved the character of her sister Mel) and also keeping her children at the same time. Britton chooses to tackle some quite serious issues to do with Christie's children within the book and I liked that she did this - it certainly helped to give a rounded look at her life, and certainly made me feel sympathetic towards her.

The writing style of the book was good, although nothing overly special. The book's writing definitely makes you feel sympathetic to Christie, although as I said I did feel like she was too eager to please people all the time, especially her agent Julia Keen who it was clear was a pretty bad character right from the off even though Christie really couldn't see it. For some reason, I kept feeling like I'd read this story  before all the time, I can't put my finger on what book it could be but it definitely gave me a sense of deja vu as I was reading which was a shame. Perhaps it was a little too close to Coleen Nolan's book for its own good, and if you've read both, you'd certainly agree that they are indeed very similar. Fern likes dropping the designer labels throughout the book, a craze that seems to be very popular at the moment, although it did feel a tad showy and unnecessary within the scope of the story.

Overall, this was a good book but I can't help but think that without Fern Britton's name on the cover, this wouldn't be getting the publicity that is gets. It's good, but I have read far better from authors without the benefit of a big name behind them. I wish Britton had chosen to cover a different subject other than her own career really, it would have been nice to see what she can really do away from the experience of everything she knows about television. She does use some terms in there that I didn't understand and I think they could have benefitted from being explained further. It is a good read, it kept me wanting to turn the pages even though I knew how it was all going to end up (and I was right!) but as I said, without Fern's name on the front, I doubt this would have got as far as it got thanks to that influence.

Rating:  3/5


  1. I must admit, I don't like when people who are on TV try to write a book but If I did think a book sounded good I would read it, but this sounds terrible! Keep to the TV and leave the writing to people who know what their doing.

  2. I wondered what this one would be like. Seems that names can make a book seem better than it actually is...

  3. Sorry ! Thought the book was awful. I was very disappointed :(

  4. I actually bought this book because Fern wrote it and I really, really enjoyed it. Yes Fern was writing about what she knows but isn't that a good thing? The very first chapter about Nick dying brought tears to my eyes and I was hooked from there. I felt that you could hear Fern in the book and that she made me feel a lot of emotions.
    I loved it!

  5. I really really enjoyed this book. Can't wait for the next one. It was so nice to read a book that you could read safely, not smut and stuff, and yet the emotions felt by the heroine were very well conveyed. Well done Fern

  6. This story is about me. My niece forced me to read it. Just to make sure that I can stand on my feet again. It's a motivation book for me. Thank you Fern! At least now I know there is a silver lining somewhere. My beloved husband passed away 3 months ago when i was so in love with him. He left me with 2 little heroes age 6 and 4. And now I am staying with my parent because I need their supports. I can feel Christie in me.