Overview from www.bn.com:
He’s the best thing that ever happened to her. He’s also the worst. He’s Millie’s Fling.
From one of the premiere contemporary authors in the UK, here is a fun and romantic tale that proves the road to matchmaking hilarity is paved with good intentions.
Bestselling novelist Orla Hart owes her life to her friend Millie Brady, whose rotten boyfriend has just left her. So Orla invites Millie to Cornwall, where Millie looks forward to a summer without any dating whatsoever. But Orla envisions Millie as the heroine of her next novel and decides to find Millie the man of her dreams. Except the two women have drastically different ideas about what kind of guy that should be.
With Orla and Millie working at cross-purposes, and a dashing but bewildered hero stuck in the middle, the summer will turn out to be unforgettable for all concerned…
This is one of those books that I think demonstrates why Barnes and Noble’s Free Friday give-away books are a great idea for all concerned. I hesitated when downloading this one, thinking that based on its title, this was not a book that I would not normally buy. But the other side of me argued successfully that since it was free, I really couldn’t lose. Fortunately I listened to that side and have just finished reading the thing a few days ago. I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. I am not normally a reader of chick lit but I finished this one and not without experiencing some pleasure in doing so.
The overview, however, I think oversimplifies the plot- though considering how complicated it is, I completely understand why. The book starts off with heroine Millie Brady and her current boyfriend driving up to some local sightseeing place. Millie is surprised since she did not believe him to be the type and this thought eventually leads her to dread the stop they will soon make, thinking that he means to propose to her. As he goes into serious mode she eventually realizes that he intends a different kind of proposal- he wants them to live together. But Millie has no intention of doing this either since she finds him boring and on top of that, she discovers, that his main motivation is that his lease at his current place is nearly up without the prospect of being renewed.
During the man’s speech however Millie is distracted by what appears to be a woman gathering up the courage to kill herself- and not just any woman either. Upon closer inspection she discovers that the woman is a famous romance author who has recently moved to the area, Orla Hart. She leaps out of the boyfriend’s car in time to stop the suicide attempt but not in time to avoid being stranded by her now livid exboyfriend. Orla then feels compelled to drive Millie home. Later Orla also happens to cause a rucus at Millie’s job which indirectly cause her to get fired and Orla once again assumes blame- not fully believing Millie’s assertions that she really doesn’t mind the fact that she has lost both her boyfriend and her job.
To make it up to her, and as part of an idea to show a certain book critic that she can write a literary masterpiece, she offers Millie an unusual job. She wants Millie to share all the goings on in her life with the understanding that Millie’s life will become the plot of her next novel, with only the names of the future characters to be changed. Millie warns Orla that her life is boring and will only become even more so thanks to “the Celibet”- which according to Millie means “no sex in Cornwall.” As Millie says:
“‘I’m a bit embarrassed. What if you end up with a book where the girl spends her whole life watching EastEnders, shaving her legs, and trying to eat chocolate without getting it on her clothes?'” p. 81
Orla either doesn’t believe her or doesn’t care for the arrangement continues with Orla handing Millie 5,000 pounds for her trouble and the use of her life.
Ok, negatives first. I was at first turned off by the fact that the names of the two heroines, Millie and Hester, sounded like the names of a couple of old ladies. In fact, I at first thought that was exactly what the book was about- two old ladies. I got over this by realizing that this must be a British thing. The book is, after all, set in England and written by an English author so maybe these two names would not conjure the same images over there.
Then, there was this one scene of people having sex in the bathroom which seemed a little bit too much for me. However, in the author’s defense, this and most of the other sexual escapades are handled tastefully without the sordid details that one might find in a Harlequin romance novel. (This is one of many reasons why I don’t like or read romance novels generally- it seems like their idea of romance is anything but romantic.)
One the plus side, this book is funny. These girls are definitely as unoldladylike as you can get. Hester in particular is funny with her crazy, devil-may-care attitude. I was cracking up with her funny expressions.
“‘Phowoaar, definitely dishy,’ drooled Hester, who had been lurking behind her bedroom curtain watching Millie get dropped off by Hugh…. Since this was the twenty-first century, Millie found it hard to believe that Hester was still using words like ‘dishy.’ Honestly, next she’d be saying ‘far-out’ and ‘groovy’ and ‘cool dude.’ p. 94
The bottom line here is that if you’re looking for a fun good time, look no further that this novel. It made me reconsider ‘Chick Lit.’ I also enjoyed trying to learn all the Britishisms, including why they still refer to ‘miles’ in this novel when I thought everyone in Europe had switched to kilometers. I will definitely be reading more of this author in the future.