I’m delighted to be taking part in Novelicious Books blog tour today.
First, here’s more about Rosie Blake and How To Get A (Love) Life:
Rosie spent her university years writing pantomimes based on old classics. The 2003 production of The Wizard of Odd: Search for the Ruby Strippers enjoyed critical acclaim. This was followed a year later with a successful showing of Harry Potter: The Musical (complete with moving opening number, In my Cupboard I will Stay).
Rosie went on to write a winning short story in the La Senza/Little Black Dress Short Story Competition and was shortlisted in a few others including competitions run by Women and Home and The Daily Mail. Her first full-length novel, How to Get a (Love) Life, was published in January 2014 by Novelicious Books.
My new book, How to Get a (Love) Life, could be described as a character transformation novel. It could also be described as commercial women’s fiction, a rom com, chick lit and a lot of other things. But that is another blog post entirely.
The central character – Nicola Brown – is in a rut and has been living a half-life, unable to take risks, scared of the consequences if she did take a chance. Her colleague Caroline, chaotic and loving, wants to see Nicola seize the day. The novel centres around a bet that starts out as a silly dare and ends up taking Nicola on the most extraordinary journey.
That journey involves clairvoyants, dogs called ‘Kermit’, kayaks in November, bad dates, disastrous dates, rappers who can’t rap, carpentry classes and failed attempts to get a (love) life. It also involves Nicola’s shifting perspective and growth in self-confidence. Through all the terrible dates and disasters, Nicola learns a little more about herself, starts to live a little and really begins to enjoy herself.
But is this realistic? Is it possible to change? I think so. I want to believe that if someone is unhappy with their lot, if they have found themselves in a bad place and can’t seem to find their way out, the way is there and they can do it. I love the notion that friends and family can haul you out of that hole, can hold a mirror up to things and, above all, make you laugh about it. I want to believe that we can all transform and grow – even if we are boring old adults stuck in our ways.
Right, well, Oprah lecture to one side, I also wanted to write a book that is life-affirming and a little bit silly. I wanted it to be great fun and full of energy. I wanted you to like Nicola and be rooting for her all along. I hope I have managed it. If I haven’t, you can transform into something yourself and come and, err, bite me or something?
Nicola Brown orders her life by having everything just so, of course this means that she is so in control that there is no spontaneity in her life until a comment from colleague/friend Caroline makes her stop and think for the first time about being totally alone. The seed has been planted. And with 34 year old single brother Mark also shaking her up, Nicola takes up the dare of finding true love for Valentine’s Day.
There are some real laugh out loud moments, not only on dates but some really amusing scenes in the office. I couldn’t stop laughing at boss James and the vase and I just have to mention in passing the fortune teller. LOVED! At one point in the story I was laughing so loud my OH wanting to know what was so funny – I think he felt excluded from the merriment.
Conflict comes from Thalia who makes Nicola feel like she is not worthy. It doesn’t help that whenever they meet Nicola seems to be in a situation that doesn’t put her in a good light… Envy and desperation spring to mind with Thalia.
Nicola is a fabulous main character. I identified with her immediately as she put me in mind of me when I was younger. You can’t help but being on her side and wanting her to find her way through the dating scene to come out the other side. I enjoyed how experiences changed her and made her more open. I loved brother Mark’s character too! He adds another dimension to the story not only in fixing up dates but his love life too.
Refreshingly, even though I worked out where the story was heading this is not a ‘will they/won’t they’ throughout the story. The attraction is there but it’s very subtle and in the background. Nicola is the main focus as she learns to lighten up and enjoy/engage with life.
How To Get a (Love) Life is a well-paced and enjoyable read that will impact positively on your mood.
I would like to thank Novelicious Books for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.