19 April 2015

Book Review: Kate and Alf by Carrie Stone

"Kate loves Alf. And Alf loves Kate… Doesn’t he?

Kate can’t wait for her long-term boyfriend Alf to propose. So he might be a bit of a control freak who’s obsessed with his career … and he also seems to have conveniently forgotten their two-year plan to get married, buy a bigger house and have children. But Kate’s sure that ring will be on her finger soon.

When her thirty-second birthday ends in humiliating, proposal-less disaster, even Kate is left wondering if Alf really is The One. Then Alf’s friend, Marcus, needs a place to stay. With his dark eyes, easygoing manner and kind concern for Kate, Marcus is everything Alf is not - and it's not long before Kate begins to wonder if there’s more to life than diamonds."

Rating: 2/5

You can buy Kate and Alf as a paperback or an eBook now.

Another Harper Impulse title which caught my eye recently was the debut novel from author Carrie Stone. I have to admit I was sucked in by the gorgeous cover - it's really eye-catching and beautiful, so I was sure it was one that I wanted to dive into straight away. Being a debut book, I went in with no expectations, but I wasn't exactly sure where the book was going even by the time I had read 1/4 of it. It just seemed quite slow paced for me, and I have to admit that I didn't warm to the characters much either, it just fell a bit flat for me and was a bit of a disappointing read.

The story of Kate and Alf was one that I thought was a love story, but it didn't quite seem to be that. Kate and Alf have been together a long time, and Kate is sure that Alf is going to propose to her sooner rather than later. But when he doesn't, and ends her birthday party with a gift that is very much not an engagement ring, it leaves Kate wondering about the future of their relationship. Combine that with Alf's sudden job move, and Alf's friend Marcus suddenly moving in, Kate realises that perhaps there's something else out there for her other than her relationship with Alf.

I confess that the book was good to start with. Kate's convinced that Alf will propose, you can feel the excitement as she prepares for that party and what her future holds, but it isn't long before it all starts unravelling. You can't help but feel disappointed for Kate when the proposal doesn't happen, and also feel anger towards Alf for being so naive and not seeing what Kate wants. Right from the off, I felt this couple weren't destined to be together, and you have to wonder why they stayed with each other so long. However, rather than tackling their issues head on and talking it over like adults, I felt both Kate and Alf behaved a bit childishly, skirting around the issues and letting their anger fester rather than talking it through. In fact, I have to wonder what she saw in Alf at all. He seemed to do nothing but put down her dreams, her hobbies and generally being unsupportive - what was there to love really? Not a lot.

The introduction of another male characer, Marcus, really didn't help matters as it seemed to make Kate's behaviour even worse. I didn't like how she flitted between Marcus and Alf, almost playing them off against each other to an extent, and this is where I started to lose interest in the book. Kate was quite a selfish character, and so was Alf too if I'm honest. The book moves on, with Alf having job woes, and Kate trying her hand at something she hasn't done for many years. These things did nothing to make me feel sorry for these two people, and I was starting not to care how it ended up for them. I kept waiting for something exciting or interesting to happen, but it just never came, It had a serious tone, but felt like it needed lightening up a lot.  Sadly, with characters I didn't really care for and a dull plotline, this book didn't work for me at all. I enjoy stories about normal people and their normal relationships but this one fell flat sadly.


  1. I love the makeover! I reviewed Kate & Alf and agree with your take. Started out with promise but fell apart quickly. Bummer, because I had high hopes for it.