Girl Having a Ball (Smart Girls Book 2) Kindle Edition
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Stevie's first job is to organize a charity event at a manor in Oxford. The house is beautiful and the owner, Evelyn, thinks Stevie is the perfect candidate, she's young and ambitious and she knows how to get things done. The only downside is that Stevie has to do it on an almost nonexistent budget. Stevie has to be creative and she has to make sure she makes a success of the event. Even though she might not get paid much, there will be plenty of networking opportunities to make it worthwhile. Another benefit is that Evelyn's son Tom is the guy Stevie used to have a crush on when she was a teenager, it's going to be great to see him again, or isn't it? Will Stevie be able to get through her first job unscathed?
Girl Having a Ball is a fun story about a strong and resilient girl. Stevie is twenty-two years old and has already been through a lot. She decides it's time to grow up and make something of herself. She's sweet, brave, bold and creative and I loved reading about her ideas. Everything she does is an adventure and that's one of the things I enjoyed most about this book. Stevie is looking for love, she's young, but she knows the meaning of it very well. Tom likes his freedom and isn't in the market for a relationship. I liked their chemistry and was intrigued by their connection from the start. They have interesting conversations and I loved the chats Tom has with his best fried about Stevie, they give the story a lovely extra spark.
Rhoda Baxter writes about smart and competent women, which is something I admire about her work. Stevie can stand up for herself and she's capable of making it on her own. She only has her brother, which can be a bit lonely and Rhoda Baxter describes the feelings she has in a believable and empathic way. She makes the main characters of Girl Having a Ball come to life really well by giving them vigorous personalities, which provides extra depth and makes them a joy to read about. The story is lively and charming. I read this book with a big smile on my face and think it's wonderful.
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
Genre: Romance, Women’s fiction
Life’s been a bit hard lately and sometimes I find I just want something light and easy to read, but with a story that feels real, not a fluff piece that leaves me unsatisfied – and there’s a whole lot of those out ;-) I've found when I’m in this mood Choc Lit novels tend to deliver and this one once more fitted my mood perfectly and took me out of myself for a while.
I hadn’t realised there were earlier book/s featuring these characters, and hadn’t read them but Marsh and Jane, that sounds a fun read.
Still, we’re with Stevie and Tom now, Stevie being Marsh’s little sister and Tom an ex housemate of his.
Marsh brought up Stevie after their parents died when she was 13 and he around 21-22. She lived in the student house for a while and had a crush on Tom, and it didn’t go well, she did something that caused friction between Tom and Marsh, but that’s all in the past she thinks.
She adores Marsh, has been finding it difficult letting go when he married and now he and Jane are going to become parents she feels she’s losing her family, the old nightmares about her parents are back and to add to that she’s currently out of a job...
She picks up one sort of in her field but its not without problems, low pay, difficult person to work with in Lady Beryl, but she’s offset by the lovely Evelyn and her niece Alice, and another lady, the wonderful Priya, the main connection to the charity the ‘ball is supporting.
All looks good but there’s a huge boulder in the way and its...Tom, who’s Evelyn's son. He still thinks of Stevie as a kid so he;s a bit shocked when he meets her and there is some fabulous humour thrown in, such as when he’s recounting the meeting to his friend Og (Olivia). He has to admit all his plans of being tough, of negotiating the best deal ( or preferably not letting her get the job) go out the window when he sees her, is stunned at how she’s grown, is fiercely attracted, and just as she asks him a question he chokes on a biscuit. By the time he’s recovered the deal is done, Stevie gets her way and he’s lost the chance.
From then on its a race to make the Ball go well, offset by the usual issues, lack of time money and a celeb to bring in ticket sales. The house, Evelyn's, is wonderful and I loved the descriptions of it and the gardens, sounds a lovely old home.
The characters and situations are so real, we’ve all met ones like them, and organising things when there are several people involved leads to friction all too often. I was involved in an art exhibition with ladies from a local art group a few years back. Got to the venue, no one wanted to go first, but we finally started putting works up ready for display, and then one lady came in late, started complaining about how things had been done, grumbled very vociferously, which set others off and it really was a Handbags at Dawn scenario! Never again....
The humour is threaded throughout along with some very real issues, Stevie’s feeling of abandonment, Tom’s work pressures and stress. Evelyn’s missing her lovely husband since he died, Lady Beryl wanting to be in control but not do any work, thankfully Priya is one of those gems who get things done quietly, Alice, typical teen with teen issues, and Marsh, devoted brother who now needs to see his sister as grown, not as the kid he needed to guide so carefully. Vienna, (or Salzburg or wherever! ) was good, a real B itch but I’d like her claws to have been even sharper, she was perfect for that role.
I have to mention this part which made me snigger. the posh Lady Beryl has heard one of the people at the ball has donated a large sum in order to have a ward at the Sri Lankan hospital named after his wife, so she’s persuaded her husband to do the same. Priya says how sweet that is, to immortalise a loved one in that way, named after a ward. Depends on the ward though Tom says – it’s not so good if its the Dysentery Clinic!!
I loved it – its a magical story,fun and gentle humour, perfect ending and one I really enjoyed reading.
Would it get a second read? Yes, if I’m in the right mood, its a “full” read with lost to see and I’m sure I missed some of the more subtle clues.
Stars: five. a great fun read with a perfect HEA.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publisher