Here it is, my first review in a national newspaper, under the heading Chick-Lit.
Some may not like being labelled a chick-lit author, but for me, it is actually a bit of a dream come true. A few days ago I got an email from someone who has known me since I was a teenager saying he had read the book and liked it, and was proud that I had achieved what I told him I wanted to do many years ago while sitting on a hill somewhere in Yorkshire. “You won’t remember it, but I do,” he wrote. “You told me you wanted to write romantic novels.”
I do remember, I also remember telling anyone who would listen that I wanted to be the new Jilly Cooper. There’s still a long way to go but this is a good start.
I’m especially thrilled as my agent sacked me for my fiction work, saying she didn’t think I would ever be good enough at it. To hear that character, setting and dialogue are all “spot on” from someone who reviews books for a living has meant a lot. I still like my agent, mind you, even though she clearly has no taste! And I do have her to thank for the plot idea.
I was so nervous when I saw it was in I made Rupert and Leo come and read it with me. Just as there is nothing as soul destroying as a bad review, there is nothing as uplifting as a good one. “I’m so proud of you mummy,” said Leo, bless him. But makes a change that it’s that way round. I am posting it here so that next time I get a nasty Amazon review I can just come back and read this one to console myself.
LOVE IN A WARM CLIMATE BY HELENA FRITH-POWELL (Gibson Square £7.99)
Not long after she’s uprooted her family from England to France to start a new life making wine, married mother-of-three Sophie Reed is horrified to find a bra in her husband’s weekend bag.
It’s not his and it’s definitely not hers: it’s far too small and lacy for that.
Nope, the bra belongs to a French woman called Cecile, the new object of her betrothed’s affection, and Sophie must decide whether to abandon her vines and move back home or stay put and give her dreams of becoming a wine maker a chance.
In the ensuing struggle to make things work she embraces yoga, her inner French woman and two exciting new love interests. Thoughtful observations about the differences between the French and English approach to relationships pepper the narrative, providing an interesting backdrop to the various choices Sophie must make.
I loved all the yoga bits, too, and can personally vouch for Sophie’s praise regarding its toning abilities. Helpfully, there’s a handy guide at the end if you’re keen to try out a few sun salutations of your own.
Sophie is an engaging protagonist, the characterisation, dialogue and setting spot on and there are a lot of funny bits. I enjoyed it.