Paperback: 448 pages
Publisher: Sphere (22 Nov 2012)
Scarlett O’Brien, utterly addicted to romantic films, has found her leading man. She’s convinced Sean is Mr Right, but the day-to-day reality of a relationship isn’t quite like the movies. With Sean constantly away on business, Scarlett and her new best friend Oscar decide to head to New York for the holiday of a lifetime.
From one famous landmark to the next, Scarlett and Oscar make many new friends during their adventure – including sailors in town for Fleet Week, a famous film star, and Jamie & Max, a TV reporter and cameraman. Scarlett finds herself strangely drawn to Jamie, they appear to have much in common: a love of films and Jamie’s search for a parent he never knew. But Scarlett has to ask herself why she is reacting like this to another man when she’s so in love with Sean . . .
From Notting Hill to New York … Actually continues Scarlett’s adventures. I thoroughly enjoyed her escapades in From Notting Hill with Love … Actually (you can read my review here) and couldn’t wait to read about Scarlett’s new adventures.
The story opens with Scarlett and Sean at home in Notting Hill. Sean’s had man flu and been at home. We’re brought up to date with their lives. Scarlett’s father has set up a New York branch of their business.
Straight away we’re into the fun that Scarlett seems to attract. Off to the gym with best friend Oscar, they have to stop off at the TV studios. Scarlett is mistaken for the new fitness expert for a morning show – this is hilarious. The visuals had me in stitches! After she’s been kicked off the show and evicted from the building, in the taxi Oscar tells her the incident reminded him of the ‘old Scarlett’ and he poses a question that makes her think about her relationship with Sean. From this we intuit that life may not be quite as she expected …
Oscar wants to take a jacket to be assessed on the Antiques Roadshow so Scarlett decides to take a dragonfly brooch that belongs to her father. It doesn’t get valued and because of the mystery surrounding it, Sean tells Scarlett to go to New York to see her father … and with Oscar accompanying her, the adventure begins!
There is so much action packed into their time in New York as Scarlett tries to find out more about the brooch. Having used it for a good deed, when the truth is found out, there’s another hunt to try and find the new owner. At one point, Sean acts on information he’s been given and decides to surprise her. He finds her in her hotel room in what could be considered a compromising position – this scene had me laughing and I’m still smiling now in remembrance!
Once again family is central to the plot. Having felt like a piece was missing when she didn’t know who her mother was, Scarlett develops a passion for reuniting families. Her time spent in the children’s home is very poignant. While I’m on the subject of families, I loved Scarlett and Oscar’s visit to Ellis Island. Genealogy is a passion of mine and I could identify with how Oscar was feeling.
McNamara’s writing style carries you along and the characters draw you into the plot. The characters are vibrant and alive and Oscar’s character follows through … he is still as entertaining as he was on Scarlett’s first escapades.
I can’t end my review without mentioning the treasure hunt. This is a fabulous idea and crafted so well that I felt as if I was also on the hunt, going from movie clue to movie clue and meeting each clue holder as I went along. It’s such a unique way to present this age-old ritual … so romantic!
From Notting Hill to New York … Actually is a chick lit novel I have no hesitation in recommending. There’s a lot more to the story than the romance and you will certainly be entertained … and it has the feel-good factor.
I would like to thank the publishers for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.