Monday 21 July 2014

You Had Me At Merlot by Lisa Dickenson

1 - 97807515574282 - 97807515574353 - 97807515574424 - 9780751557459

‘I’ve done it!’ I paced around in my little flat in my heels, slowing my breathing. ‘Six years after it came out, I’ve finally perfected the ‘Single Ladies’ dance routine.’
‘Congratulations,’ said Laurie down the phone.’Does that mean you haven’t left home yet?’
Published by Sphere in July 2014
Elle and Laurie are the last ones standing: they're single, they're not having babies any time soon and their weekends aren't filled with joyful meetings about mortgages. For Elle, this is fine - she likes her independent life, she loves her job, and she has no desire to walk down the aisle anytime soon. But Laurie wants love and she wants it now.
So when Laurie begs Elle to come with her on a singles holiday to a beautiful vineyard in Tuscany, Elle is reluctant. You Had Me at Merlot Holidays promises crisp sunshine, fun and a chance to stir up some sizzling romance. Elle has no intention of swapping her perfectly lovely life for someone else's idea of her Mr Perfect, but ten days under the Italian sun with her best friend and lashings of wine? How bad could that be?
This book has been published in four digital parts over the next four weeks, which I find rather a fascinating idea, but one  I can’t fathom out.  Each part needs to be purchased separately.You can’t read the parts out of order, so I am hoping someone will enlighten me as to why it was published in this way.
The story gets off to a hilarious start and straight away you warm to the fiercely independent, Elle, who loves being a single woman and would rather pull her teeth out than  fall in love. How on earth would she practise all those dance routines if she had a man lingering around her house? I really liked Elle. She felt a bit like all the main female characters from Friends squashed into one.
Although the humour had me chuckling to begin with, I have to be honest and say that it started to grate on me a little. It felt contrived at times, and I felt relief as the  humour lessened and the story began to unfold.
The book soon whisks us off to the sultry climate of Italy, where Elle and Laurie embark on their first ever singles holiday. The thought of actually attending one of these would fill me with dread. So many people in one room, all looking for romance. I think the author described the situation well, and should I ever become single, I shall steer clear of this type of holiday.
So as this book is described as a romantic comedy, you know that Elle isn’t going to stay single for long and she soon falls for the charms of the rather gorgeous Jamie. For someone so adamant to stay single, it didn’t take long for Elle to fall under the Italian’s spell. But it wouldn’t be a  good romantic comedy without a bit of a disaster and misconception thrown in.
The story lost a little credibility for me when Elle saved the day with her business acumen. She appeared to solve the company’s problems overnight without any challenge or difficulty and I found that a little unbelievable.
Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy this book. I found the author’s writing style easy to get into and I whizzed through the story in a day. The descriptive passages of Italy and the vineyards were beautifully written.  I also liked all the characters and enjoyed most aspects of the plot.
If you are looking for an easy summer read, with a touch of Catherine Alliott’s humour, then this book is for you.

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