Pages - 343
Published by Headline Review in 2009
Challenges - 100+ books.
'Autocare Direct Motor Insurance. My name is Mina, how may I help you?'
It was the forty-eighth time she had said it today, according to the computer log. Nearly fifty policy-holders -anxious, irritable, impatient or merely bored - and it wasn't even eleven a.m. Number forty-eight was a man, and appeared to be none of those things; if she'd had to plump for a description, it would probably have been ....hesitant.
I have no idea why, but it has taken me for ever to get around to reviewing this book. This should not reflect on the quality of the book as I really did enjoy it. I think it is just me being a bit lazy. The longer I left it to review, the less likely I was to review it. So I grabbed the bull by the horns and jumped straight in today.
This is a story about love crossing the geographical divide. Mina is a single mum working in a Sheffield call centre helping customers claim on their car insurance. Peter,also a single parent and a Cambridge Geography don, is her next customer, ringing to report the first of a couple of accidents in his car. Events occur over a short period of time, which involve Mina taking home Peter's telephone number and beginning a long distance relationship by telephone. Peter and Mina become telephone pals, phoning each other to talk about their daughters and life around them. Eventually there relationship moves on further from telephone conversations, as to whether they become a couple, you will have to read the book to find out.
Rosy Thornton contacted me via email after I left a comment on Amanda's blog The Zen Leaf. Amanda had reviewed the book and I mentioned how interesting it would be to read, especially as Peter has twin daughters about the same age as mine. Rosy wondered if I would be interested in reviewing it, especially as I could comment from experience on living with twins. So I was only too happy to receive a copy of the book.
The twins in the book are very entertaining. The girls actually get on a lot better than my two do. Anyone who has met my daughters would know that they would disown the other in an instant, given half the chance. The book made me want to swap my twins for the delightful Cassie and Kim. In the story, Cassie and Kim are constantly talking at the same time and finishing each others sentences. It sounds really cute, until you live in those conditions. Imagine have two different radio stations playing at the same time in either ear, constantly from nine in the morning until eight at night and you will no long think it is cute. Though with the passage of time, I am getting better at switching off.
All the characters in the book are entertaining and very realistic. They are all warm and funny and each have their own oddities, that you cannot help but love. Rosy Thornton has a real eye for characters and I dare you not to find a little of people you already know within them. Mina's daughter, Sal is a bookworm and everytime I read about her, I could see a version of myself crossed with Roald Dahl's Matilda. Sal will often be found reading a classic story throughout the book and I found myself writing little notes to remind me to add yet another book to my TBR list.
The book is very descriptive and I found myself immersed in the world that Rosy had created. Everything is described in such detail. There is a description within the book, describing fried fish, which I cannot get out my head, because to me the description is so utterly perfect. See what you think, it may just be me.
'Mina unfolded the oily paper from around her fish, fingers basking in the released hot vapour. The batter was warm and brittle dry, but when she broke it open the fish inside was slick and steamy, scalding her fingertips.'
C'mon all my British readers, isn't that a perfect description for a nice bit of cod from the chippy?
This is not the normal run of the mill romance novel, even though the cover is a little too girly pink for my liking. This is a book about how difficult the first part of a relationship can be. There is no hearts and flowers, but there are difficult situations that bring the most unlikely lovebirds together across a class divide as well as a geographical one.
I would not hesitate to recommend this book. Rosy's style reminded me a little of Catherine Alliot, who always keeps my laughing. Thank you to Rosy for sending me a copy of this book, which I will definitely read again in the near future.