Sunday, 26 April 2015

Book review: The Vintage Guide to Love & Romance by Kirsty Greenwood

"Jessica Beam is a girl who knows how to party. Only lately she's been forgetting to turn up for work on time. Or in clean clothes. Down on her luck, out of a job and homeless, Jess seeks the help of her long-lost grandmother.Things aren't going well for Matilda Beam, either. Her 1950s Good Woman guide books are out of print, her mortgage repayments are staggering and her granddaughter wears neon Wonderbras. When a lifeline from a London publisher arrives, the pair have an opportunity to secure the roof over their heads - by invigorating the Good Woman guides and transforming modern, rebellious Jess into a demure vintage lady.The true test of their make-over will be to capture the heart of notorious London playboy Leo Frost and prove that Matilda's guides still work. It's going to take commitment, nerves of steel and one seriously pointy bra to pull this off "

My Review: 

Okay, so I just finished The Vintage Guide to Love and Romance and all I really want to say is WOW. 

Buy it. BUY IT NOW.  

Boom - review done. 


Okay fine, I suppose I should say more but really, but this book is so good it's kind of rendered me a bit speechless and fumbling for the right words to say. 

Right, here we go....

'A Good Woman is always poised. She must display a calm and graceful temperament, even when her temper is raffled'Matilda Beam's Good Woman guide 1959

The Vintage Guide to Love and Romance is a truly amazing, hilarious read that I enjoyed from page 1 right until the very end. It's the kind of story that, when you finish, you're left disappointed and wondering what's going to fill the gap. (I'm still not sure!)

The story follows Jessica Beam, who spends her life partying, drinking pear cider and writing a blog with her best friend and house mate, Summer. She is just happily coasting through life with minimal aspirations, but when she makes a scene at a party and ruins a potential life-changing book deal for the blog, Summer decides she has had enough. She asks Jess to leave their flat, leaving her homeless and jobless. With no-one to turn to and nowhere to go, Jess ends up tracking down her long-lost (and super rich) Grandma in the hope that she can grab a bit of money and head off travelling. Instead, she ends up embarking on a crazy project with her Grandma that, if all goes according to plan, will result in her Grandma's old best selling novels 'The Good Women Guide' being reprinted. 

I fell in love with this story as it is unusual and different and just bloody brilliant! I love the way it mixes two eras together so cleverly, Jess is a typical modern day woman, much to the dismay of her Grandmother, who is very much stuck in the past. I loved seeing their relationship develop and how they both start influencing each other with areas of their lives (Grandma getting Facebook is a particular highlight!) 

Jessica is utterly hilarious and hands down she is now one of my favourite main characters EVER. She is just brilliant.
Brash, unashamed and funny, I immediately fell for her and long to be her mate - she'd be a riot. To be honest I kind of can see why Summer loses it with her at the start as Jess is lazy and unmotivated which would be annoying, sure, but she's so charming and sweet, not to mention hilarious, that you forgive her for her faults. She's not malicious or mean, she just doesn't think. I loved following her on her journey throughout the story and see her forming new friendships and relationships, while learning from her past to create a solid future for herself. 

Kirsty has managed to create not only a unique story, but a unique set of characters. A main character with a soft spot for pear cider and sparkly 'juicy' knickers with an uptight, set- in her-ways Grandma is a truly hilarious mixture that had me laughing out loud. Throw into the mix Peaches, Grandma's naive housekeeper who has learnt all she needs to know about friendship from popular sitcoms, much to Jess' dismay. Jess and Peaches do form a lovely, genuine friendship that made me giggle - especially when Jess introduces tequila to said friendship! Then throw into the mix Leo Wolf, the target of the 'Good Woman' project due to his rude, pompous and womanising behaviour. Jess meets him at the start of the story and it doesn't go well, so he soon becomes the target of the 'Good Woman' project as payback, with brilliant consequences. 

The Vintage Guide is a feel good, interesting and heart-warming read (I also think this book would make a great film - anyone know any directors?) The ending is perfect and I must admit I didn't guess it! The book could have gone down a number of routes and right up until the end it's not clear how it will conclude, which further adds to it not being your typical romance novel and being intriguing right up until the very last word. 

I have to say this has quickly shot up to being one of my favourite books of the year and Kirsty has rocketed to being one of my favourite authors- her writing style is unique and hilarious and made for a fantastic read. I honestly don't think I can express anymore just how good this book is. Go out, buy this book and sit and laugh your little heart out as you read it. It's a corker. 

"I like you Jessica Beam - You're very current"


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