12 June 2012

eBook Review: Bondi Blonde by Lucille Howe

"It's Christmas Eve and jobless Emily has just made the biggest impulse buy of her life...

Arriving on Bondi Beach, pear shaped, lily-white and clutching a bottle of factor 30, she has two options: 

1/ Hide out in the Irish pubs 

2/ Get with the programme

Join Emily as she falls for Sam, the hot barista, and meets her nemesis in Kiki, the Japanese surf siren. Bondified, and bent on perfection, will Emily be saved from the surgeon's scalpel? Can she win Miss Bondi, and does love mean reading between the tan lines?

Find out this summer. BONDI BLONDE: When it pays to have skinny genes."

Rating: 4/5

I don't normally read eBooks as I haven't got the time to squeeze them in amongst the other review books I have to get through, and for a long while I managed to lose the charger for my Kindle which meant not reading any eBooks either. However, when I was sent an email from Lucille Howe asking me to review her new book Bondi Blonde, something drew me to it and made me want to read it... possibly the cover quotes from Tilly Bagshawe and Holly Valance may have swayed me a bit as well! The cover looks fun and summery, bright too and so I started to read without expectation, but ended up pleasantly surprised by what I read!

The book is about British character Emily, who was happy in her job at a trashy magazine in the UK but when it suddenly folds, she finds herself out of a job and unsure about what to do with her life. On a whim, she pops into a travel agents and buys herself a one-way ticket to Bondi in Australia. She finds herself a bit stranded there, but soon makes a friend in hunky barista Sam, and becomes part of the surfer sect that he is in with. Emily soon settles into life in Australia, finds a few jobs in magazines, and befriends a few colleagues along the way, but what's troubling Emily is the one she left behind - did she do the right thing in kissing goodbye to Jude once and for all? Or will the girl from the UK end up being Queen of Bondi?

I really enjoyed the beginning of the book with Emily in the UK, and her eventual move to Australia, but I was surprised at how long it took the action to actually move over there - much longer than I had anticipated. For a while after it got to Oz, I felt the book lost its way a little bit, and I was drawn into characters who were forgettable, but soon it came back again, with Emily more settled out there, making new friends at magazines and also meeting new boyfriend Sam. I enjoyed seeing Emily come more out of herself, and found her narrative was readable and really drew me into the book, and the rest of the characters worked well with her too.

Despite the sunny outlook of the book, and the happy ideal that is living in Australia for us Brits, Emily soon finds that there is a downside to living in Australia - the constant need to be a stick-thin bikini babe. Howe uses this storyline to create a more sinister side to the book, and write about how damaging body issues can be, and what lengths some will go to to get what they deem is the perfect body. Indeed, Emily's story is quite serious, and as the book progresses she seems to be more and more body conscious, to the extent where I was quite uncomfortable reading about it, and almost wanted to skip it as I didn't like what I was reading - kudos to Howe for evoking those feelings in a reader.

This was a very enjoyable book with a bit of a dark side that runs throughout, and I really liked it. I did find at points I got confused with some of the minor characters, and wished in a way there was more development on the relationship between Emily and the important characters back in the UK as these were some of my favourite bits. The writing was good, with a few mistakes here and there to be noted, but they didn't really spoil my enjoyment of the book. A fun (if sometimes overly enthusiastic) narrative adds well to the feel of the book, and I really enjoyed the setting of Australia and Bondi, which Howe wrote very realistically and I felt came across really well in the book. A very good summer reading with a twist!

You can buy Bondi Blonde as an eBook now!


  1. Just read Bondi Blonde and absolutely loved it. The review is so right - I expected a standard easy holiday read and it actually gave much more than that. Intelligently written and with serious undertones it was the perfect book for me. Can't recommend this more.

  2. I actually think the cover is quite deceptive. I LOVE it, but the book is much more 3-dimensional than it suggests. There was one chapter, for eg, that I LOL, winced and had a little tear! Personally, I love the Issey character who (and I don't think i'm spoiling anything) is a sweet Aussie gal, obsessed with all things British. You're right – the body image stuff was quite confronting but I'm glad it was positive in the end. Good review as usual CLR!