Name your guilty pleasure dearest. I personally, have a few, but the one the literary snob in me most abhors and the comfort seeker in me absolutely adores is a frankly illicit affair with the kind of chick lit that reflects to one degree or another, my life.
Oooh yes. While it is all very well taking a Kindle full of early twentieth century women’s domestic fiction to bed every night, there is much to be said for making a pot of tea, popping a knitted cosy over it and carrying a tray full of still-warm-from-the-oven biscuits over to the sofa on a quiet Wednesday afternoon and losing myself in the kind of novel with what might be questionable writing but what is also sure to be an engrossing story with threads of real life and cosy little themes I totally relate to.
So step in Laura’s Handmade Life please.
“Laura Lovegrove is leaving behind her seamless life in London. Architect husband Adi has been relocated to rural Norfolk, a far cry from ultra-urban Ealing. Though Laura knew village life would be different, she didn’t foresee a pokey cottage, nosey neighbours, errant poodles, and even an ex turning up. Chris had been her big love at art college and seeing him again is utterly confusing. Is she really so different from the impulsive student who once trawled charity shops for vintage treasures? When a fire all but destroys Laura’s collection of vintage clothes, she’s heartbroken. And seriously lacking in outfits. But, salvaging what she can, Laura makes do and mends – sewing purses, bags, even dog leads (which should solve the poodle problem). Soon, she’s inundated with orders. But Adi is becoming more and more distant; it’s like there’s something he’s not telling her. Can Laura make a stitch in time and pull her family back together again?”
Though the ties that bind my life to that of Amanda Addison's heroine, Laura Lovegrove are so tenuous they are almost non-existent (I live in a poky cottage! I went to art school! I trawl charity shops for vintage treasures!), there is enough in the description alone to convince me that this is a book about ME! Oh yes, when it comes to comfort-reading, it’s all me, me, me. I want to be able to imagine that this is my life, in a parallel universe. One where I am clever with a needle and demented by poodles and old boyfriends. One where I am clearly destined to reclaim the authentic art school me and send that darn old, no-good architect husband of mine packing!
See? It’s all food for thought. I mean obviously I haven’t got an architect husband, I haven’t got any husband at all, but there IS an art-school me and she might just be more authentically me than the me I am now. And if that isn’t a worry then I don’t know what is. But my point, though I very much doubt I’ve got one beyond my belief that books seek us out, is that there is always something to learn from even the most innocuous of sources. Even chick-lit!
Let’s face it what’s not to like? The cover features bunting, a teacup and a cup cake! It’s all good.
I’m off to wet the tea. Have a lovely afternoon won’t you?