Swan Kindle Edition
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The characters were difficult to root for. The heroine had little, if any appeal. Instead of being a plausible down-on-her-luck character she comes across as a whiny Debbie-Downer. To make things worse, she makes no effort to improve her situation in life. She just plugs away at her sad, lonely existence with an "oh wo is me" attitude. Stop being so turned off by the human race and make a friend! I felt that her lonely lot in life was too much of her own fault to feel any sympathy for her.
But the heroine wasn't the worst offender. Almost every secondary character was either rude, shallow, or snotty. The hero took the cake for poorly developed characters. His behavior was often crass or selfish, so much so that it didn't seem plausible that he would care about the heroine, or anyone for that matter. Does anybody really find a man appealing when he whines about all of the faults of his previous girlfriend? The author tried to make too much of him (multi-language, massage specialist, consummate chef, pedicure master, ninja) but fails to make him an appealing person. His final moments in the book seem beyond ridiculous. The whole feel-so-bad-for me-while-I-publicly-and-tactlessly-expose-my-ex approach was the final nail in his coffin for me.
To be fair, I understand that the point of this novel is to provide a fun, escapism for the reader. Sometimes you want to read something impossible. But between the unnecessarily strong language, the crassness of the romantic elements, and selfish behavior of nearly every character made this novel an uncomfortable read. I don't enjoy tearing down a writer's work. It's tough to write an entire novel. But I would have appreciated a head's up about the downfalls of Swan before diving in.
At the beginning, Madeline Smith is a sad 41-year old Londoner with no social life, no relationships, hasn't had sex in...well, a long time, her totally dead-end job could go away at any second, and has a self-involved sister with the "perfect" life. Plus the American superstar actor Chet Vincent, who she has had a crush on,...OK, is madly in love with...since they were teens (they're the same age) has fallen off a yacht in the middle of the Mediterranean and is presumed dead. Not such an auspicious start, huh? So the only place it can go is up, right?
See, David Powell moves across the way from her apartment. He has a potbelly. He wears clothes from the 70's. He has a large red nose, a messy beard, and may just be wearing a toupee. To top it off, he has really bad teeth and very smelly feet. Maddie is instantly revolted by him. Until...she finds herself staring into his beautiful and oddly familiar eyes and begins to fall for him. And he for her.
And then the story takes off. Because David has secrets. Big secrets.
This book is a quick, but amazingly fun read. You have to love Maddie. She's everyone who's ever felt dissatisfied with their life. And Ms. Hole brings her to life brilliantly (plus, I learned a lot of new Britishisms). I loved David. I thought Beth was great (once she got her nose out of the air). And then there is another character that shall not be named (SPOILER!) that is pretty awesome too.
And the ending? Too cool for word - but Ms. Hole found them really well.
Drop everything you're doing. Drop your other books. Drop your kids (but on the bed, please) and grab this book.
First of all, this story has so much humor in it, I laughed and laughed (my husband kept asking me what was SO funny).
The characters are well developed and came to life as the story unfolded. I could picture how they looked and felt like I knew every one of them.
I loved Maddie most of all. She is a "real" middle-aged woman, with hang-ups that often go along with getting older:unhappy with her appearance, fighting loneliness, money problems, job worries...real life problems. But along with those problems, she also has dreams and has carried a torch for many years for a man she has never met in real life.
Then Maddie's lonely life unexpectedly takes a turn for the better when she meets up with her new quirky neighbor David, who has a lot of secrets of his own and dreams as well.
I won't spoil the story, but if you like books that include real-life characters, romance, lots of laughs, dreams that do come true, some unexpected twists and turns...you will love this book.
Loved the cover too, how beautiful and eye-catching!
I'm giving 4 instead of 5 stars as I think the story would have been even better without as much coarse language. I never like too much of that in any book.
Geraldine Helen Hartman author of: Third Chapter, Second Chance