Every once in a while I get lucky and have a chance to read some British Chick Lit. The last two times were while I was in England: the first one I ever read was Love Is A Four Letter Word by Claire Calman, which was sweet; and the second was Meet Me on Platform 8 by Carole Matthews, which was fun but had a slightly disturbing ending.
Last week, courtesy of Marsha Moore (24 Hours London), I had the opportunity to enjoy Nicky Schmidt's new book Naked in Knightsbridge, which tells the story of Jools Grand, who's hit rock bottom in her life at the tender age of 28. Her cleaning business has failed, her debts are mounting, and her crazy landlord is set to evict her any day now. What's a girl to do?
Not one to find a conventional solution (what do you expect from a girl who's attracted to the hobo that hangs around her apartment building, aka Hunk of No Fixed Abode?), Jools decides to auction herself online. Though she gets a good price - from a politician seeking a wife as a cover - Jools discovers that money isn't quite the solution to her problems that she expected, and that she still has to find better ways to resolve her issues with a best friend that won't drop a lecherous boyfiend, a father on the run from the law, and her own addiction to pastries.
Fast-paced, humorous and believable (I even caught myself Googling Carlisle's of Sloane Square, where Jools has her wedding registry), Naked in Knightsbridge was a fun and breezy read, despite some lingering typos (poor Skuttle had his name spelled wrong at one point) and a few issues with point-of-view switches in the same scene. Overall, though, the characters are well-defined and memorable, and I certainly hope they feature in Schmidt's upcoming novel Marrying Out Of Money!
(see the review with full hyperlinks at [...])