5 February 2014

Book Review: The Love Detective by Alexandra Potter

"'In a way, I'm a bit of a love detective. Because what's a greater mystery than love?'

Meet Ruby Miller. A writer who makes happy-ever-afters happen. Until she discovers her fiance is a lying cheat and loses her faith in love. So when her sister invites her on a beach holiday to Goa to forget about him, Ruby jumps on a plane . . . and into an extraordinary adventure.

Stolen bags, a runaway sister and a handsome American stranger sweep Ruby into a magical mystery tour across India. Amid fortresses and fortune tellers, and a whirlwind of weddings, she uncovers fascinating stories of love, lost and found.

But as the mysteries deepen, secrets are revealed that turn Ruby's life upside down. And what started as a journey to find her sister, becomes a journey to find herself - and love - again."

Rating: 5/5

You can buy The Love Detective as a paperback or an eBook now.

For some strange reason, I haven't ever read any of Alexandra Potter's novels, despite the fact she has written quite a few so far! When I received a review copy of her new book, The Love Detective, I absolutely loved the cover and decided it was a book I had to read (yes, I know you shouldn't judge a book by its cover but we all do it!). It looked nice and summery, just what I needed in the cold wintery evenings when I was curled up on my squashy sofas with my book. I was really hooked on this book from the start, and here's why I think The Love Detective is a must read!

Ruby is an author, mainly writing love stories, but isn't very lucky in love herself. She has recently found out that her fiancé, the man she was going to spend the rest of her life with, is a no-good lying cheat, and the pair have split up, leaving Ruby alone and at a loose end. She's struggling to find a new storyline for her latest book, so when her younger sister Amy, travelling in India at the moment, invites her to stay for a week, Ruby jumps at the chance, deciding that a change of scenery is what she needs to kick-start her writing again. What Ruby doesn't count on is a bit of an Indian adventure... meeting a handsome American stranger called Jack, a whirlwind wedding and a lot of stolen bags as well. Ruby's determined to make things right again, and maybe with the help of Jack, she just might succeed, and maybe help herself to believe in love again...

Now, I will be honest and say that India is never somewhere that has really appealed to me to visit before, so I was a little apprehensive when I realised this book was predominantly set in India. I needn't have worried to be honest. Potter makes it sound so magical, like such a fantastic place that you just have to go to, and it just really comes to life on the pages. Everything, from the crazy train journey to the small towns, Indian food to the wild taxi ride Ruby finds herself on is compulsive reading - it sounds amazing, full of life and fun and I loved every second of it.

The characters in the book were fantastic also. Ruby was a great heroine, the writer of exactly the sort of books I love to read myself, and it was fascinating to see her with her writer's block - unable to think of a decent love story at all. I really liked Ruby, she was very warm and caring, especially towards her younger sister Amy who was a bit of a spoilt brat, the baby of the family and the one who expected everything to fall into place for her. Ruby had a real sense of responsibility about her, and it was interesting to read how she changed as things went beyond her control in India, and she had to learn to trust others and let them into her world for a short while. Jack, the American whom Ruby meets by accident, is a bit of a strange one - there was something I really liked about him but we aren't really told much of his story until right at the end so he's a bit of a mystery throughout the book which I rather liked!

The fact Ruby had pretty much given up on love is the subject of this book, and when her sister makes a shocking decision, it's Ruby who decides she has to put a stop to the plans. I felt I could identify with Ruby on this, a bit cynical about love, but as she goes on her journey through India and meets love in its many forms, she begins to soften. Visits to such gorgeous Indian places like the Taj Mahal start to work their magic on Ruby, and we do see a softer side to the writer. Potter's writing was a joy to read too - written in the first person from Ruby's perspective, I found the pacing and the narrative so easy to follow, and was able to get straight back into the story when I picked the book up in the evening, it was a wonderfully easy and escapist read. I am thrilled this is the first book in a new series as we will get to see much more of Ruby and Jack on their travels, and this makes me regret that I have never read any of Alexandra's books before, something I shall certainly have to remedy asap! A wonderful read that I highly recommend.

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